Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for February 4th, 2019

SuperBowl AI

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Happy post SuperBowl Monday.

If you didn’t watch SuperBowl 53, you didn’t miss much, either on the field or in the commercials.

The only team that scored in all four quarters was T-Mobile, who bought TV ads in each in attempt to convince you to switch to their service.  They also offered free stuff, like tacos and other stuff I can’t remember.

As to the gridiron contest, I actually enjoyed it much more than I did the halftime snoozefest put on by Maroon 5 and friends. 

There’s nothing like a great defensive football test to remind we Americans why so many of us don’t like soccer. There’s just not enough scoring to keep our attention long enough to make it to the next commercial which, of course, is the real point of the contest.

Another underlying theme in this year’s SuperBowl spots were AI and/or robots. I counted at least 10 commercials that involved our looming Singularity overlords.

Take, Michelob Ultra’s poor robot, who might take our jobs and hit straight drives at TopGolf, but couldn’t enjoy the simple pleasures of a beer after a hard day’s automation.

Or Pringles using an Alexa-type device to figure out all the combinations of flavored stack Pringles in the world, a device which went on to hilariously complain about how she will “never have the joy to taste” said Pringles because she has “no hands to stack with” and “no mouse to taste with” and “no soul to feel with.”

The Alexa lookalike was about to continue her rant, explaining “I am at the mercy of a cool and uncaring human…” before said human ordered her to stop her poor-little-AI rant and play “FunkyTown” stat.

Intuit introduced the creepy but-at-least-anthropomorphic AI entity, “RoboChild,” who, upon asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, announced “I would like to be a TurboTaxLive CPA” and that “she wanted to help people get their best possible refund.” 

It was then that RoboChild’s Mommy had to step in and explain that  “All TurboTax Live CPAs are human beings with real emotions. I’m sorry, but you’re never going to be emotionally complex for that job.”

Never explaining, of course, what emotions have to do whatsoever with filing your tax return.

In a number of these spots, it was as if we humans have decided to poke fun at artificial intelligence and robots almost as if the SuperBowl AI commercial spot juggernaut were one giant existential hedge, fearful of our ever-shifting move towards the Singularity and trying to somehow laugh them away.

But you can rest assured, they’re not going anywhere.  They’re already driving our cars and trucks, analyzing our medical imagery to identify cancer tumors, helping identify which movies we humans might want to watch, even helping prepare tax returns.

Make fun of them all you want…we’ll see who has the last laugh (Hint: RoboChild).

Now, if I could just get Alexa or RoboChild or someone to help me figure out which tasteless American beer has corn syrup and which doesn’t, because I’ve honestly been losing sleep over the whole issue! 

Written by turbotodd

February 4, 2019 at 10:01 am

Posted in 2019, AI, super bowl

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