For Tesla, Facebook and Others, AI’s Flaws Are Getting Harder to Ignore

For Tesla, Facebook and Others, AI’s Flaws Are Getting Harder to Ignore

Investors are pouring money into artificial intelligence, despite clear setbacks in self-driving cars, social media and even healthcare.

What do Facebook Inc. co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk have in common? Both are grappling with big problems that stem, at least in part, from putting faith in artificial intelligence systems that have underdelivered. Zuckerberg is dealing with algorithms that are failing to stop the spread of harmful content; Musk with software that has yet to drive a car in the ways he has frequently promised.

There is one lesson to be gleaned from their experiences: AI is not yet ready for prime time. Furthermore, it is hard to know when it will be. Companies should consider focusing on cultivating high-quality data — lots of it — and hiring people to do the work that AI is not ready to do.

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