ML – now in your spreadsheet

As AI/ML continues its march into commodity status, Google announces a no-code ML add-on for Google Sheets. It automates things like looking for missing or erroneous data and building models that can make predictions. All without writing any code. Looks like ML will end up somewhat akin to web page development. In the old days you had to write html code by hand to make a site, that then progressed to WYSIWYG editors (that still required some knowledge of how the back end worked) to point-and-click site generation (that required little/no knowledge of how the back end worked.

One challenge is with web design, you can see if your outcome is wonky. With an opaque tool you may or may not be able to fix it, but at least you know it isn’t right. With ML running, not so clear that you’ll get an obvious clue that the model is flawed. This points to how the ML development likely needs to progress – some sort of accompanying capability that explains the model (“explainable AI” has been a goal for years), or perhaps even better, some visual language showing results, relationships, and how “trustable” the ML model is.

Or we’ll just hide everything under the hood and trust what the machine says…

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