These Super Bowl ads try to make humans feel better about AI taking over, with sad robots

“Robots will be able to do everything better than us. … I mean all of us,” said Elon Musk in 2017.

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It is too early to know whether Musk is right, but, as GeekWire points out, a handful of Super Bowl commercials are trying to make humans feel a little better about the abilities of our robot counterparts.

An ad for Michelob Ultra set to run Super Bowl Sunday starts with human runners being left in the dust by a running robot, flesh and blood golfers shocked by a golfing robot, live boxers startled by a robot boxer’s strength and people in a spin class who can’t keep up with their robot teacher.

But then…cut to a titanium robot sadly peering in the window of a bar while humans enjoy beer and each other’s company.

“It’s only worth it, if you can enjoy it” flashes across the screen, as the robot seems dejected, excluded and sad.

In a Pringles Super Bowl commercial, two young men stack potato chips in different flavor combinations and wonder how many different stacks are possible. A nearby smart speaker voice assistant knows the answer immediately.

But then the voice assistant rues that it will never eat one.

“Sadly, I’ll never know the joy of tasting any,” the robotic voice says. “I have no hands to stack with. No mouth to taste with. No soul to feel with.…”

In TurboTax’s Super Bowl commercial, viewers meet “RoboChild.” The small robot with a child’s face wakes his human dad because he wants a 3 a.m. snack.

RoboChild wants a meal that sounds very much like something AI would come up with by running foodie data through an algorithm: a kale salad with chicken and guac (“I know guac’s extra,” monotones RoboChild).

“You’re not hungry, you don’t eat,” the dad tells RoboChild.

“The world isn’t ready for you yet. Your time will come,” the father says, and tells RoboChild he loves him.

“I love you, too, papa,” RoboChild says. “If I know what love is.”

Though meant for a laugh, the commercials echo a point expressed by the so-called “oracle of AI,” Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of Chinese venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures and author of “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.”

“I believe [AI] is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity,” Lee told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in January.

But Lee said there are capabilities humans have that robots will not anytime soon: “I believe in the sanctity of our soul. I believe there is a lot of things about us that we don’t understand. I believe there’s a lot of love and compassion that is not explainable in terms of neural networks and computation algorithms.”

Make that love, compassion and enjoying beer and potato chips.

See also:



Elon Musk: ‘Robots will be able to do everything better than us’



The ‘Oracle of A.I.’: These 4 kinds of jobs won’t be replaced by robots



3 predictions for the future, according to billionaire tech titan Elon Musk

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Google has been on a real estate spending spree, reportedly adds Austin to the list

Google has made several large real estate moves meant to provide room for more jobs, now including a 35-foot office tower in Austin, Texas, according to the Austin-American Statesman newspaper.

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The office tower provides space for 5,000 jobs, according to the report, which cites local real estate sources. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

The news comes as Google’s parent company Alphabet reports earnings Monday. Last quarter, chief financial officer Ruth Porat said it had focused much of its facilities spend on “technical infrastructure” and real estate investments had been “more muted.”

That hasn’t been the case this quarter. The company said in November it planned to spend $100 million for 21 acres of land for a “mega campus” in San Jose, 15 miles south of its headquarters.

In December, the company announced a new $1 billion investment for a new campus in New York City, giving the company the ability to more than double its headcount in the city, which today is around 7,000 people. The company employs teams for its search and advertising business, as well as YouTube and cloud services in New York. The new facility will be in the Hudson Yards area near Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan.

Google currently has fewer than 1,000 employees in Austin. The new tower is currently under construction and when completed will have around 790,000 square feet of space, and is located in the center of the city overlooking the Colorado River, according to the report. The company’s jobs in Austin include sales, cloud services and technical positions focused on the G-Suite of products, including Gmail.

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Here's who will win the Super Bowl according to Siri, Google and Alexa

The Rams and the Patriots face off in Super Bowl LIII, which kicks off on Sunday at 6:30 P.M. Eastern.

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For fun, I asked Apple‘s Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana who will win.

The responses are pretty funny, and while the Patriots are favored, at least Google picks the underdog.

Here’s what each digital assistant said:

“The odds favor the Patriots over the Rams by 2.5 points.”

“As much as I want the Rams to win, you can never count out the New England Patriots. My prediction? The Patriots will be taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy. And Tom Brady will need to use his other hand to take home that sixth Super Bowl ring.”

“On Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Patriots face the Rams in the Super Bowl. My sources are decidedly favoring the Patriots.”

Google has a few responses.

“I like teams associated with animals, so I’ll take the Rams. But the Patriots do have the goat in Tom Brady, so I guess we’ll see what happens.” Editor’s Note: Goat is short for “greatest of all time.”

“The Patriots are favored to win, and I can’t help but root for the underdog, so I’ll b echeering for the Rams.”

“The Rams are the only pro football franchise to win Championships in 3 different cities, Cleveland, Los Angeles and St. Louis. It’s hard not to root for a team that has brought joy to so many places.”

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Snopes quits fact-checking partnership with Facebook

Snopes, a fact-checking organization, announced on Friday its decision to end its partnership with Facebook, which has been ramping its efforts to curb misinformation on its services since the 2016 U.S. election.

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Facebook and Snopes had been working together since December 2016 to fact check content on the social network. The company in 2017 paid Snopes as much as $100,000 for the work, according to Snopes.

“At this time we are evaluating the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services, and we want to determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication, and staff,” Snopes said in a statement.

Snopes said it has not closed the door on working with the company again, but it encouraged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to meet “with fact-checkers as part of his recently announced series of public discussions” in 2019.

The partnership is ending weeks after a report by The Guardian, in which multiple former Snopes employees criticized Facebook’s efforts to stop fake content on its services.

“They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” one former employee told The Guardian.

“Misinformation is an ever-evolving problem that we’re committed to fighting globally, and the work that third-party fact-checkers do to help review content on Facebook is a valued and important piece of this effort,” Facebook said in a blog post in December. At the time, the company said it had 35 fact-checking partners around the world.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC that the company still has 34 other organizations it works with to fact check news on the site.

“We value the work that Snopes has done, and respect their decision as an independent business,” the spokesperson said. “Fighting misinformation takes a multi-pronged approach from across the industry. We are committed to fighting this through many tactics, and the work that third-party fact-checkers do is a valued and important piece of this effort. We have strong relationships with 34 fact-checking partners around the world who fact-check content in 16 languages, and we plan to expand the program this year by adding new partners and languages.”

WATCH: Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok have a massive underage user problem — here’s why it matters

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Foxconn does damage control over Wisconsin factory

Foxconn says it’s moving forward with the construction of its Wisconsin facility after talks with White House, according to a statement released Friday, but isn’t clarifying what kind of jobs will be housed at the $10 billion plant.

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Earlier this week, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, told Reuters the company was shifting strategy and would offer mostly researcher and engineering jobs in Wisconsin, not the blue-collar manufacturing jobs that were originally promised. Foxconn received $4 billion in tax breaks from the state to build LCD TV screens at the plant, but plans have shifted.

“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” Woo told Reuters earlier this week. “We can’t compete.”

The site will function as both an “advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation,” Foxconn said in its new statement Friday, but did not clarify what kinds of jobs it would hire for at the site.

In a statement to CNBC earlier this week, Foxconn also signaled it was changing its focus for the Wisconsin facility, saying “the global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed.”

Announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, the 20-million square foot campus marked the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in U.S. history and was praised by President Donald Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing. Foxconn had said it would employee 13,000 U.S. workers at the facility.

Here’s the statement Foxconn issued Friday:

After productive discussions between the White House and the company, and after a personal conversation between President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Terry Gou, Foxconn is moving forward with our planned construction of a Gen 6 fab facility, which will be at the heart of the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park. This campus will serve both as an advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation for the region.

Our decision is also based on a recent comprehensive and systematic evaluation to help determine the best fit for our Wisconsin project among TFT technologies. We have undertaken the evaluation while simultaneously seeking to broaden our investment across Wisconsin far beyond our original plans to ensure the company, our workforce, the local community, and the state of Wisconsin will be positioned for long-term success.

We look forward to continuing to expand our investment in American talent in Wisconsin and the US.

—Reuters and CNBC’s Ryan Ruggiero contributed to this report.

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