Interactive AI with Tom Cruise

Dinesh Vadhia
Sep 27, 2017 · 4 min read

Discovering the signal from the noise is easier with interactive AI

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Minority Report (2002)

Standing stridently in front of a large curved screen, Tom Cruise moves things around, brings things to the foreground, moves them into the background, slides them to the left or right, and shoves things out of the way. In this iconic scene from the movie Minority Report, Cruise is hunting to find relevant information from a pre-cognition system(*). It is an exhilarating example of an interactive AI in action.

Is something similar possible today? Yes.

The first article Realtime AI is Not a Myth in this 3-part series defined the characteristics of Thingy:

  1. Automatic generalization: Given one or more items as a query, Thingy learns in realtime to discover other relevant items. This means there is no machine learning ‘model training’ phase.
  2. Interactive: Engage with Thingy in different and unpredictable ways through various query options.
  3. Dynamic: Add new data to Thingy automatically at any time.

This second post is about interacting directly with Thingy to: Add and remove items from the query; Discover more of things; Bring things to the foreground while pushing others into the background.

Example use-cases include the powerful “I am the query” personalization; helping a farmer identify a disease afflicting a crop; estimating the damage to an auto.

Add and remove items from a query

More like this or these

More of these, less of the others

“I am the query” personalization

A shopper’s photos of their favorite clothes and accessories represent a fingerprint of what they like to wear. When shopping online or at physical stores, their device automatically shows personally relevant things. The shopper can interact directly with Thingy to discover more of what they like or to see less of what they don’t. They can update the fingerprint at any time by adding and removing photos to suit their current lifestyle.

“I am the query” personalization is a powerful way to discover things of personal relevance which also minimizes getting stuck in a filter bubble and preserves privacy. Your fingerprint is your doppelganger — and, you can have more than one — to interact with the digital world securely and safely on your behalf. Thingy safeguards privacy implicitly.

Taking photos is free

A farmer needs to identify the disease affecting a plant crop. They take a photo of an affected leaf to pass to a classifier to get a prediction which may or may not be correct. But, observe the prediction is based on one photo. The world is noisy and messy especially in a field.

What if instead, the inference was determined from two or more photos taken from different angles or lighting conditions or other unpredictable factors. The relevance of the results increases because additional information is passed to Thingy to work with. The results can be improved by adding or removing photos interactively from the query until the farmer is happy.

Close your eyes for a few seconds. On opening them you see a world full of different kinds of things both natural and man-made. We can focus on one thing or on a whole set of things. Most of the time we deal with many things and are designed to do it easily. An AI must also.

What’s the damage?

A repair shop needs an estimate from an insurance company for a damaged auto. A handful of photos of the damage are sent to the insurer’s automated estimator which returns a cost based on the best image match. But, it doesn’t stop there. The result can be accepted or refined by adding or removing photos from the query until the repair shop is satisfied the damage matches the result to get the best estimate.

Taking photos is free. Ditto for audio, video, sensor and other kinds of item data. The AI industry is fixated on squeezing each pixel until it squeeks because it has been the only option available. This is no longer true. With one or more items, interact directly with Thingy to i) add and remove items from the query, ii) discover more of things and iii) bring things to the foreground while pushing others into the background.

Bottom Line: The world is noisy. Discovering the signal from the noise is much easier with an interactive AI.

(*) The official Minority Report trailer —

Articles in series

  1. Realtime AI is No Longer a Myth
  2. Interactive AI with Tom Cruise
  3. The End of Dumb AI

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