Transcript: Rand Hindi on How Artificial Intelligence Will Make Technology Disappear at TEDxÉcolePolytechnique

Dr Rand Hindi is an entrepreneur and data scientist. He is the founder and CEO of Snips. This is the full transcript of his TEDx talk titled ‘How Artificial Intelligence Will Make Technology Disappear’ at TEDxÉcolePolytechnique conference.

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Dr Rand Hindi – Founder and CEO of Snips

So, just before I start, I’d like to let you know that I actually do have a PhD, so everything I say must be true. OK.

About a month ago, I went on holiday in Costa Rica with my girlfriend. And it’s a really awesome place, it’s basically jungle and beaches. It’s jungle and beaches, and you spend your entire day without being connected. There is no Wi-Fi, there is no 3G. And I don’t know when was the last time you felt this kind of peace in a big city. We cannot forget what nature feels like.

The problem is that, as soon as we got back to the hotel, we got connected again. There was Wi-Fi. And as soon as we got connected, we started getting interrupted. All of a sudden, all these push notifications from our phones would start interrupting us. It was interrupting us when we were having dinner. It was interrupting us when we were having our showers, actually going and pressing with your wet finger.

But it was also interrupting us when we were making love. And this, for me, was kind of a big problem because, not only was I interrupted, I also kept on reaching out for my phone, hoping that perhaps, there was a notification. And I wasn’t doing this consciously. It was exactly like Pavlov’s dog, but my bell was my ringtone, and my sugar was that one notification a day you might get that makes you happy. Perhaps is a message from someone you secretly love, perhaps is Justin Bieber following you on Twitter.

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As it turns out, we got so addicted to technology, that 9 out of 10 people today experience something called ‘phantom vibrations’. This is when you have your phone in your pocket, and you thought it vibrated, you pull it out, there’s nothing. If you’re laughing, it means it probably happened to you. Nine out of ten people. But think about it. We got so conditioned by technology without knowing it, that we’re now hallucinating 90% of the time.

So, how did we actually get here? I’ve got a great, super low-tech thing here. If you look back at the history of connected devices. So here you’ve got time, and here you’ve got whatever-that-will-be. Back in 1990, you didn’t have any connected devices. This was what you called “the unplugged era”. 1995, you now have something called “the Internet”. And this was awesome, because all of a sudden, all these computers got connected. So you had one connected device.

But with this first connected device, came something called “e-mail”. E-mail also came with the first notification which was the “You’ve got mail”. Sometimes, it was a friend, sometimes, it was a picture of a dog, sometimes it was spam. Most of the time, actually. So that’s the Internet era.

Ten years later, 2005, that’s what you call “the mobile era”. This is what we’re exiting right now. And this time it’s not one, it’s three devices which are connected. It’s your phone, it’s your computer, and it’s a tablet. But with three connected devices, you’d think that you’d actually have more value, but what really happens is these devices are not smart enough to figure out which one you’re currently using, so the default strategy has been to push everything to all devices. If you have a phone and a computer and someone calls you, it rings on both. If you answer it keeps ringing, because your computers are not aware of each other. This is a big problem because we’re now entering something called the Internet of things era, IoT.

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The Internet of Things is when your fridge is connected, your watch is connected, your car is connected. And this time it’s not going to be 3, it’s going to be between 10 and 15 devices per person. There’s going to be more than 100 billion devices connected by 2025. A hundred billion.

Just try to imagine a little bit, what 15 devices that you own will feel like when all of them are requesting your attention, when they’re interrupting you all day long. And when the only way you have to actually stop the interruption is manually interacting with each of them. This is horrible, this is just horrible. It’s like the anti-Costa Rica.

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