AI's mysterious "black boxes" are more often than not just mundane mathematical processes. Image via The Outline / Getty Creative

Mythbusting AI’s Mystique

As AI and related tech (machine learning, neural networks, deep networks, data mining, etc) begin to hit the mainstream press in the form of over-hyped buzzwords and sensationalized coverage, it’s easy to become swept up in the hype of purported magical solutions or the FUD of dystopian new technologies. But what is the ground truth of this strange new terrain? What actually is AI?

Examining one example, –the much-covered “gaydar” study that recently set the Internet ablaze– this article from gives a brilliant overview of what AI and machine learning is and isn’t, and reminds us that:

[…] Anything that can be represented in some fashion by patterns within data — any abstract-able thing that exists in the objective world, from online restaurant reviews to geopolitics — can be “predicted” by machine learning models given sufficient historical data.

Read the rest of the story: How to navigate the coming A.I. hypestorm