Ben Evans writing a highly insightful piece on the current state of artificial intelligence, machine learning and how Google and Apple approach the topic. Evans offers a definition of the term “technology”, that I find most helpful:
“That is, technology is in a sense anything that hasn’t been working for very long. We don’t call electricity technology, nor a washing machine a robot, and you could replace “is that AI or just computation?” with “is that technology or just engineering?””
It’s a very good read with and I recommend it to anybody interested in the field. If you don’t want to invest the time, just skip to the last paragraph, which offers a good summary.
If you want to see an example of software with a truly long-lasting impact, go watch a talk by Susan Kare. She talks about her work at Apple where she designed “iconic” pieces like the original fonts and the original set of icons. You learn so many things like why the Apple-key’s icon is not an apple, how icons that were designed more than 30 years ago are still in use in applications like Photoshop today and the difference work ethic can make.
What makes this video great in particular is also the second half where John Gruber interviews her. (a) it’s great to see somebody like John being all giddy and excited about meeting one of his heroes and (b) it is in this part that you begin to understand how meaningful Susan Kare’s work is, because she was too humble to brag about it in the first half.
Go, have a look. With an hour, it’s fairly long, but excellent entertainment and a lesson in modern history.