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We love stories of dramatic breakthroughs and neat endings: The lone inventor cracks the technical challenge, saves the day, the end. These are the recurring tropes surrounding new technologies.

Unfortunately, these tropes can be misleading when we’re actually in the middle of a technology revolution. It’s the prototypes that get too much attention rather than the complex, incremental refinement that truly delivers a breakthrough solution. Take penicillin. Discovered in 1928, the medicine didn’t actually save lives until it was mass-produced 15 years later. 

History is funny that way. We love our stories and myths about breakthrough moments, but oftentimes, reality is different. What really happens — those often long periods of refinement — make for far less exciting stories.

This is where we’re currently at in the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) space. Right now, we’re seeing the excitement of innovation. There have been amazing prototypes and demos of new AI language models, like GPT-3 and DALL-E 2. 


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