Lee offers glimpse into the intriguing and sometimes scary future of artificial intelligence


[Not a valid template]Futurist James Lee offered a glimpse into the   world of artificial intelligence at his annual presentation at the January meeting of the Technology Forum of Delaware.

The forum is open to members of the technology community, allied professions and those with an interest in tech topics. Events include networking, presentations and even contests.

Lee  kicked off the presentation by taking note of the successful rollout of Alexa by Amazon a device that allows the user to order merchandise, turn on other devices or do other tasks. 

Tech giant Google has rolled out a similar device, with Facebook working with Chatbots that can direct users to merchandise or services, Lee said. 

Alexa also picks up conversations and was recently “taken in for questioning” in a murder investigation in Arkansas.


With Alexa and similar devices picking up conversations may mean privacy is a “quaint 20th Century notion,” Lee quipped. 

Lee, owns the Wilmington investment firm of  Stratfi http://www.stratfi.com, He spent much of his presentation on the world of  bio-digital technologies emulate the structure of DNA and have the potential to crunch  large amounts of information that is the key to artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence has advanced to the point that chatbots and other forms of technology now have the intelligence of two-year-olds. The technology is already being employed in tests of  self-driving vehicles.

Advancements are expected to continue, with Lee noting that scientists now believe that the technology will need to go through a “childhood”  with parental guidance in terms of the exposure to games and other tools.

In other words, it would not be wise to have bots in self-driving cars playing Grand Theft Auto,  Lee said.

Will artificial intelligence systems replace humans? One hedge fund plans to use artificial intelligence, rather than humans,  to make investment decisions, Lee noted. 

Some suggest the revolution will be felt by 2030. Others see a 2050 timeframe, with estimates of  30 percent of human jobs going away. Social and research scientists are now grappling with ways to deal with such issues.

Lee also touched on advancements, such as genetic testing that for $1,000 or so could allow treatment that would be far more efficient than thousands of dollars worth of drugs that might or might not work.

Then there’s is  China, which has bred through gene splicing intelligent  miniature pigs used for medical research or sold as pets. China has few restrictions on research that produces the creatures. 

Gene splicing could be used in developing artificial lungs and other organs. The potential is enormous and can be  “spooky stuff,” Lee  said.

Lee was asked about the impact of blockchain technology, which is being championed by the State of Delaware and others in the tech community. 

Blockchain is a database that can distribute transactions, documents and other information in a format that makes hacking and other changes difficult.  Lee said financial and financial technology ”

 Lee said financial and financial technology “fintech” firms that can roll out blockchain will have an advantage in the marketplace. 

The Tech Forum event was held at Alpha Technologies, a company that is working to bring offshore technical support job back to the U.S. The company bought a building in downtown Wilmington to support its mission. (See story below)

Alpha Technologies plans to hire 242 employees by the end of 2019