Is Skynet inevitable?
Exploring AI’s potential threat and promise.
THIS book explores the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence, commonly known as AI. It is a compilation of several hundred short essays by some of the planet’s top experts on the subject and quite a few non- affiliated rather smart people who have taken the time to think about the subject.
The essays are loosely grouped, with concepts from one echoed, and often refuted, in another. While this allows the reader to approach the subject from many different angles, there is no clear or cohesive vision of what the advent of AI will mean to humanity.
As some writers point out, narrow forms of AI are already here. Google’s algorithms are a good example – you can ask the search engine the day of the week on any given date in history and you get the answer instantly. But is this really intelligence at work?
Recently, public figures like Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk have come out with warnings about the potential threat AI poses to humanity. Machines with malevolent minds have been a staple of science fiction for as long as the genre has been around ( think Terminator’s Skynet, or Hal going rogue in 2001: A Space Odyssey), but does the future of AI really threaten humanity?
The conclusion this reader draws from these essays is a conditional: probably not.
In such a short review, it is only possible to barely scrape at the surface of the topic – the economic and market forces behind the drive towards AI would merit an essay of its own, but for anyone who follows the inexorable trajectory of Moore’s uncannily accurate Law, this is a book well worth reading, though it may lead to more questions than answers.
( Moore’s Law arose from Intel co- founder Gordon Moore’s 1965 prediction that processing power for computers will double every two years.)
Simplistic thinking endows machines with human- like motives – we are very quick to anthropomorphise – but machine intelli- gence is nothing like human intelligence, and even research into “wetware” that replicates the brain’s neural wiring through reverse engineering won’t produce an intelligence similar to our own. A machine that can beat a human in a game of chess isn’t “intelligent”, it’s just very fast at making calculations. The machine has no “desire” to win, it is simply programmed to achieve that outcome. The machine doesn’t feel any elation, or excitement, or disappointment as the game progresses.
Human intelligence is a complex and fickle thing. We are at the whim of our emotions. Given the same choice in similar situations, we will act differently, depending on how we “feel” at any given moment. The levels of different neuro- transmitters in our brains will make us behave or follow courses of action that we might not choose in a different mental or emotional state.
Our intelligence is clouded and much of our inner world exists on a sub- conscious level. There are parts of our brain intelligent enough to keep us breathing whether we are awake or asleep, but we can also take conscious control of our breath, or decide to go for a walk, or watch a movie. Much of creativity and intuition come from the subconscious mind. Machines don’t have a rich inner world, or thoughts, or dreams, or self- awareness.
In our latest incarnation on the path of evolution, we have dubbed ourselves Homo sapiens – thinking humans – but before we reached this heady state, we were Homo habilis – tool- making humans. The earliest tools used by humans were probably either rocks or sticks. Even chimpanzees understand that a rock is more efficient than a bare fist for cracking open a nut, but humans have a capacity to use things in a variety of ways, using that same rock to crack open a neighbour’s skull, for example.
Just like a rock, the tools we design can be used for many different things – to stream cat videos, to recruit suicide bombers, or to model novel solutions for our environmental and economic problems. The real risk of developing more capable machines is not from the machines themselves, but the use that humans will make of them. But therein also lies the potential promise of a better future.
FOr week ending March 3, 2016: Secret Garden: An Inky treasure Hunt And Colouring Book # 88 Love Life: 88 thoughts On Love And Life – Vol 1 Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Colouring Book # 88 Love Life: 88 thoughts On Love And Life – Vol 2 this Book Loves You Dream Cities: Colouring for Mindfulness by rosie Goodwin & Alice Chadwick Enchanted Forest / Hutan Pesona Inky: An Inky Quest & Colouring Book the Amazing Book Is Not On Fire: the World Of Dan And Phil by Dan howell & Phil Lester 10. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class On the Art Of Organizing And tidying Up
Fiction to Kill A Mockingbird A Malaysian restaurant In London by Tunku halim Memories by Lang Leav Me Before You by Jojo Moyes the Shock Of the Fall by nathan Filer All the Light We Cannot See the Girl With All the Gifts by M. r. Carey Wind/ Pinball by haruki Murakami Star Wars: the Force Awakens Weekly list compiled by MPh Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur; www. mphonline. com.