Marco Jacobs is a marketing and strategy consultant.


My algorithm is better than yours

Leestijd: 3 minuten

In 20 years in developing electronics, I’ve heard it a lot: “Our product is so much better! The algorithms our engineers developed are way beyond what our competition has.” In the 1990s, I saw it with my own eyes at Philips. Their TVs had the best deinterlacing algorithms in the world, resulting in superior picture quality. In the 2000s, I worked on audio enhancement: turning on sound processing algorithms gave quite a stunning effect. Tiny speakers would suddenly create bass and provide a 3D sound stage. Over the next years, I’ve seen cameras getting a much better picture quality, virtual reality headsets providing a much smoother experience and compression algorithms becoming a lot stronger. The before and after effect is a very strong sales tool.

Now, we’ve entered into an era where it’s not about picture or audio quality anymore. Instead, our electronics need to become smart and adopt AI. Andrew Ng from Stanford put it well: “If a typical person can do a mental task with less than one second of thought, we can probably automate it using AI either now or in the near future.” Even though AI can only solve fairly simple tasks, this presents a lot of business opportunities. The market responds and big corporations acquire AI teams for large sums of money.

In AI, I’m seeing the same “my algorithm is better than yours” claims. Many companies state their AI is better than everyone else’s and are showing the before and after effect. Kudos to these companies, for all having managed to hire the smartest AI algorithm engineers? No, not really.

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