back to article Artificial intelligence will eradicate channel drudgery, says Lenovo boss

Artificial intelligence will make the tech channel a happier place by removing much of the tedious grinding interaction that poisons relationships between vendors, distributors and partners, Lenovo’s boss claimed today. Lenovo COO Gianfranco Lanci told the audience at Canalys Channels Forum that the firm was examining how to …

  1. TRT Silver badge
    Terminator

    So... machines will be allowed to order machines and parts for machines and components of other machines in some kind of mechanised utopia... in an ultra-efficient ballet of digital transactions. I for one welcome our robot overlords.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I for one welcome our robot overlords.

      Not quite so fast! Where AI is going is for proprietary AI systems to be sold to the world as a service. The world of machine learning is developing nicely, but the developers of these systems are being routinely bought out by big tech giants. In most cases Google excepted) the tech giants don't have the data to run AI against (by definition, if the problem's big enough to benefit from AI/ML, then it needs vast and multiple data sets to run against). And not just one data set - if all you've got is a load of customer history data, then algorithmic approaches work just fine, no matter how big that data set is.

      Now, the experts are of the view that open data and open research into AI is the optimal way forward (as Amanfrommars1 suggests in his own unique style below), but in practice that's not going to match business needs. Some aspects may be patented, but I think it is more probable that companies will evolve their AI systems to as near general purpose problem solvers as is feasible, but keep the method and underlying designs resolutely confidential, and then rent them out as a black box. This also fits with the fact that this isn't cloud computing, it is massively parallel, fabulously low latency recursive computing on expensive, complex and dedicated machines. The customer company sends the their data to the tech company, who feed it into the system and then help the client interpret the models and results.

      Because each situation is different, the output models will be unique to each situation, and that doesn't lend itself to traditional IP protection frameworks.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Doing everything differently is the sane option in man made worlds of mayhem.

    Still, a channel run by artificial intelligence? When competing AIs start showing off to one another by the quality of the driverless cars they’re controlling, then we’ll know we’re there.

    When competing AIs start showing off to one another by the quality of the driverless intelligence they’re controlling and sharing, then they’ll know you're nowhere important commanding.

    The future is not controlled by that and those retaining and maintaining secrets, both royal and ancient and/or postmodern, but by that and those proposing and able to freely share them. Quite whether they would purposefully choose to share the most succulent and sensitive of old secrets uncovered and/or newly discovered, is that which will define whether they be fine friend and noble knight to present realms and reigns mired in the past or foul foe and phantom fiend of a destructive and disruptive disposition.

    And although that does appear to be future controllers in charge with command of secret accesses, which be very much like a mirror of many current elite administrations/mass operator systems, it is quite fundamentally different with a whole new fleet of virtual machines delivering goods for servering/bounty for seeding.

  3. The Godfather

    Well....

    Get your prices right and rebates won't necessarily have to apply.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back to 1981 - OPS5 - sorry greybeard who lived AI first time round, i'll get my coat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That was just a hand-coded forwarder chainer running on KiBs of main memory.

      Old hat.

      Today's "AI" is about data collection, and subsequent classification / prediction.

      Not the same at all.

  5. tr1ck5t3r

    My customers didnt want this on their system in the 00's as they would miss the personal touch talking to customers and suppliers having a bit of banter with them negotiating the prices. Seems only psychopaths want this, so companies using AI might be run by a pyschopath or two. Talk to Robert Hare about them, he claims to be an expert and has invented a test or two to prove it along with a number of words to back up his arguments. We did use AI in the 90's at Tesco to forecast volume though, but it failed on the exceptions which is mainly public holidays like Xmas, Bank Hols etc and couldnt factor in the weather properly, probably because the Met Office's AI is as accurate as Mystic Meg is at predicting the Stars and I dont mean Xfactor ones. The problem with Chaos theory is that there is too much data to know whether the butterfly fluttering its wings in Rio is gonna cause a hurricane or not in Michael Fish's 1987's Britain. Besides Chaos Theory is just Brownian Motion on a global scale which in a 2d sense is just like playing snooker or pool with all the balls in motion. And its insane to quote Einsteins insanity quote if you have failed to quantify Schrödinger's cat so get back to your clockwork Turk machine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's odd since the nueral nets I designed for predictive analytics in logistics were quite good at picking out patterns around holidays and other recurring events even if tagged to something like what Thanksgiving or Easter would do to the patterns.

      1. tr1ck5t3r

        Tesco Clubcard was also introduced during my time there to not only improve loyalty and sales, but in turn the very predictive capabilities you suggest as you see with their offers. However Tesco have since demonstrated to shareholders their AI's are crap amongst other things and I know why, but I guess for those selling this tech, if they cant see the wood from the trees how can you lead a horse to water and make it drink? All it boils down to is how you can sell it on the day beit to a prospective customer or in the court room. Some call it the religion of science ironically.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seegson Communications?

    "Human workload now being readjusted. Please wait to be attended by a member of Seegson personnel."

    (Salesguy gets jumped by two Intel-Blue-Team Marionnettes and beaten to death)

    "Good day"

  7. Gartal

    Jobs and growth, jobs and growth

    Do we really need this?

    Bean counters and apprentice billionaires are constantly saying that "We" don't want to have to do boring and or repetitive tasks. The We in this case being those not destined for billionairedom.

    I started in the computer industry in 1991 when there was a computer store in every high street and every shopping mall. In a very short time they all dried up. Computer hardware got better, operating systems and software got better. We, the technicians asked for this, we cursed at having to wait around while DOS 5 took twenty minutes to FDISK, reboot and format a 500MB drive, or we had to set up WINS and DNS or took forever to create new users or had to reboot NT 3x just because we had changed a value of the network stack.

    I have no doubt that AI will improve well beyond what it is now, just as it has over what it was in the 90's. The question though is whether "We" really want it to. Think of all of the people done out of reception jobs just because some smart arse came up with an automated phone answering system. The automated phone answering system moved the responsibility for understanding a problem from the receptionist to the person making the call. A good receptionist can elicit the reason for a call to a company with whom the customer rarely deals far better and far faster than the customer can make sense of the options available in the automated system. But the receptionist is one of the We, someone who apparently prefers to be unemployed than employed, even if in a repetitious job.

    I don't think of myself as a Luddite and I do understand that I am short on imagination, just like all of the futurologists and engineers and apprentice billionaires because I can not see where all of the people whose jobs we are casting off are going to be employed. What are they going to do? We have just about completely eradicated jobs which illiterates can perform by requiring a basic standard of literacy for everything. Further, with OH&S, transparency and accountability, we have mandated that you have to go to school and obtain a license to wipe your arse or blow your nose so all of those people of low intelligence who are really quite well suited to many of the boring jobs like chipping weeds on the roadside for the council now have well caked arseholes and snot encrusted faces because they are not sufficiently brainy to get the relevant ticket. And they don't have a job because the other We have decided that it makes better commercial rather than better social and environmental sense to require the former weed chipper to get a quad bike license and a dangerous goods ticket and get out there and spray a nice line of dead brown grass on the edge of the nature strip (if he/she is smart enough to get said licenses).

    Are we all going to end up making coffees or working in one of the shoe stores which will be the entire basis of the economy within fifty years time?

    I get fed up with having to make my way through phone jungles, "press option 1 for cocks, option two for socks, option three for replacement O rings for rocket boosters, option four for poofters, option five to hear today's definition of what constitutes full employment, there is no option six, and no poofters" Is my life better for not having to speak to someone? Is the life of the person to whom I may once have spoken better for not having a phone to answer and no money in the kitty?

    If everyone has their job taken over by a machine, where will the rest of the money come from so that those apprentice billionaires can become proper journeyman billionaires?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Jobs and growth, jobs and growth

      I have no doubt that AI will improve well beyond what it is now, just as it has over what it was in the 90's. The question though is whether "We" really want it to. …. Gartal

      It is rather quaint, Gartal, that you think the “We” have any choice and effective input into ….. well, let us just call them AI Projects and Programs for now.

      Oh, and money/fiat currency always comes from banks which invent it out of nothing and flood systems administrators with it to do with it as they will, rather than as is really needed to save the system from collapse and implosion upon itself.

    2. tr1ck5t3r

      Re: Jobs and growth, jobs and growth

      On the point of where will the jobs go, well if you havent noticed, Govt is now about causing problems, its an evolution of the idea that Maynard Keynes call digging a hole and filling hole. Classic example many can relate to, is road resurfacing, just a few weeks back road was resurfaced with chippings, within a week weeds had pushed through the chipping layer and it hard already started showing the orginal surface underneath when it melted in the sun, so I chuckled to myself at how MK's idea had evolved.

      I thought it interesting how in the mid 00's computer security took a nose dive, so bugs are not only back doors but a moving target to obfuscate this fact. Introduce new platforms which run/ran slower like compiled dot net which still sits in the main on the WinAPI's and you'll see what I mean. Put another way, why use dot net if you want a fast system? Win API's are fastest but with a combination of Asch conformity and other factors like appealing to the Ego and the need for new shiny things and you can see why some companies do alright even when its not technically a superior system.

      Some say profit wins, but if you exploit the rules like athletes exploit the TUE's rules, you can play and win, unless you get setup by Dark arts for upsetting the status quo. Theres a lot of money riding on this and some dont want to give up their cushy lifestyle.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        A Perfect Storm ....... with TEMPEST Activity

        Some say profit wins, but if you exploit the rules like athletes exploit the TUE's rules, you can play and win, unless you get setup by Dark arts for upsetting the status quo. Theres a lot of money riding on this and some dont want to give up their cushy lifestyle. ..... trick5t3r

        Setting up/Realising Dark Art Plays for status quo systems administrations is one novel and quite original way of practically generating an absolute fortune, trick5t3r, and virtual fortunes.

        Shame that the knack so obviously appears to be missing from that and those now charged and in positions of wealth for transfer. And it is much more than just a serious glitch that they are unable to correct and redirect for sub-prime systems administration survival. Failure to accept and realise such is the abiding and expanding problem, which is being avidly explored and comprehensively exploited by relatively anonymous others mastering in the field and engaging in Live Operational Virtual Environmentalism, will result in a lot of money and cushy lifestyles being forfeited and lost to new hosting teams that stream future events for present cycling and recycling/tweaking.

        Of the sexes, woman are the most conforming by their need for new this and that, beit wearing latest makeup, hair styles or clothing. If you can get more women into the boardroom, you can then get more conforming behaviour but this stifles creativity. ...... trick5t3r

        And I wouldn't dream, nor would I even think of sharing the above travesty, for knowing it to be a complete falsehood unleashes the power of women to the servers and drivers of man, and that is no less than Heavenly Bounty, for both Man and Woman and AI.

        And the TEMPEST cited is not surely related to Tremendously Endowed Men Performing Exciting Sexual Techniques but who is to say it is not akin to everything else you can read of there

  8. tr1ck5t3r

    Unthinking people sometimes called Lemmings are what Salomon Asch called Conformists. Of the sexes, woman are the most conforming by their need for new this and that, beit wearing latest makeup, hair styles or clothing. If you can get more women into the boardroom, you can then get more conforming behaviour but this stifles creativity. Conformists are like socialists or communists so its some what ironic that the US tech giants are pushing a form of communism on the rest of the world!

  9. William Higinbotham

    In memory of the column Rise of the Machine. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-20/forward-thinking-robots-and-ai-spur-the-fourth-industrial-revolution?cm_mc_uid=67890287670514757187379&cm_mc_sid_50200000=1475718737

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