This diagram visualizes the life cycle of a single AI-powered device: from birth on the left, to life, to death on the right. At the top of the map is a human, asking a question of the Echo, while the bottom of the map attempts to represent all the human knowledge and inquiries used to train AI systems. While these two things are closely connected, Anatomy of an AI System shows us how many other invisible processes are at work in between.
The infrastructure that the Echo relies on is much more complex than the tasks we ask it to perform. Like every AI system, its birth and life depend on material resources, human labor, and data. But this long lifecycle ends quickly as once-convenient devices become obsolete, or stop working and are disposed of. Which parts of the anatomy are visible in your everyday life, and which ones remain out of sight?