A few years back, Hilary Mason, now co-founder and CEO of Hidden Door, made an interesting observation in her keynote at Open FinTech Forum. For AI to truly make its mark, she urged, “we have to make it boring. We have to say AI is not something that we’re excited about; AI is just one tool it’s just as exciting as your C compiler.” Her caveat to this was making AI boring “actually is what makes it more exciting.”
Are we reaching the point in which AI is finally getting boring? Sure, there’s been a lot of fear and loathing across the mainstream about AI going rogue, talk which Yann LeCun, vice president and chief AI scientist at Meta and New York University professor, keeps swatting down.
Consider one of LeCun’s recent X posts:
“When you hear one-liners like ‘what if AI released a virus’ your bullshit meter should be screaming. Those AI-fueled catastrophe scenarios make more unrealistic assumptions than all the supervillain-taking-over-the-world movies put together.”
Other industry leaders in the trenches where practical AI work has been underway agree that AI is actually become mundane, as it gets ingrained and embedded in our everyday, and often, rather ho-hum activities.
“Ironically, AI will hit its full stride only when it disappears into the software and tasks that run our businesses,” says Greg Pavlik, senior vice president of AI and data management services for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “Our view is that AI will power these key processes in ways that users need not know or care about, it is just there and will enable automation that was heretofore beyond possibility.”
Expect to increasingly see “AI systems used in places where they are invisible,” agrees Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO and head of AI for Five9. “A good analogy here is search. Sure, there is a search app called Google. But we also see search embedded into nearly every product. It’s going to be the same for AI — not just updating that old search box everywhere, but replacing major pieces of the user interface, replacing long series of button clicks and menu navigations with natural language.”
AI’s progress can be mapped to the evolution of operating systems, says Arina Curtis, CEO and co-founder of DataGPT. “Just as operating systems shifted from being the central focus of tech conversations to becoming a foundational, often unobtrusive, part of our computing experience, AI is undergoing a similar metamorphosis.”
In the same manner as operating systems, AI is “rapidly transitioning into a meta-technology,” Curtis explains. “This means AI is increasingly being woven into the fabric of digital technologies as an underlying, essential component, much like how operating systems serve as the foundational software in computing.”
Going forward, AI “will become as ingrained and unnoticed in our digital interactions as operating systems in computing, subtly propelling innovation and modifying how we interact with technology,” she adds.
Oracle, for its part, has “long embedded AI capabilities into our cloud applications,” Pavlik relates. For example, AI assistants are emerging for day-to-day decisions in business and healthcare. A recent Oracle entry into this space is a Clinical Digital Assistant that is designed to “participate in interactions between doctors and patients and help with tasks like automatically creating a patient discharge summary or a letter of insurance authorization for review and approval.”
Such “silent assistants, constantly at work in the background, “is seamlessly being integrated into the devices and applications we use every day,” says Curtis. “It will be there, enhancing our experiences, optimizing our tasks, and offering solutions. The omnipresence of AI will soon become a norm, where our interactions with technology are continuously and subtly augmented by AI, making it an indispensable, and often invisible, part of daily life.”
By allowing human-computer interactions in this way, “generative AI has become the next, giant step in the democratization of data,” says Pavlik. “It enables employees who are not database admins or data scientists to ask their own questions of the data. Generative AI ingests and categorizes data across types and applications, building a searchable repository of business information and making it available in an understandable way to mere mortals.”
For example, such AI-powered assistants will enable “controllers or CFOs can ask things like ‘what is our average cost per hire for X department and how does that compare to last year’s number?’” Pavlik illustrates. Such capabilities will not only “help save money but, perhaps more importantly, illuminate new opportunities.”
The integration of AI into day-to-day work and life “as an embedded technology indicates its maturation,” Curtis says. “It’s presence in our daily lives is becoming so pervasive that we often interact with it, without even realizing it.”
That’s about as exciting it gets. But the science fiction movies about AI running amok are still fun to watch.