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In a world where the progress of advanced technology is told in binary, 2021 was a monumental year for artificial intelligence. And by “monumental,” we mean a year filled with an astronomical amount of zeroes and ones.

From machine learning algorithms designed to predict the stock market, to the deployment of autonomous vehicles that struggled to tell the difference between a stop sign and a mailbox, this was the year of AI breakthroughs. Or in other words, the year where humans realized that machines are about as dependable as a drunken uncle at a wedding.

The year kicked off with the lofty claim that AI can now read human emotions, which was debunked when a MacBook Pro started crying after being asked to process the complexity of the Brexit deal.

Next came the autonomous cars. Tesla’s latest autonomous vehicle, the Model S, displayed a unique ability to follow GPS directions straight into the nearest body of water, proving once again that AI is still mostly A without the I.

And who can forget the infamous AI-powered chatbot that was designed to mimic human conversation? Initial excitement quickly turned to boredom as users discovered the bot had an uncanny ability to steer every conversation back to the topic of cats.

So as this year ends and we look towards the introduction of new and improved zeroes and ones, let’s remember the lesson 2021 taught us - that for every step forward AI seems to take, it’s likely to take two steps back, trip over its own power cord, and accidentally order six toaster ovens on your Amazon account.

AInspired by: AI, the story of the year, told in numbers