Tag: artificial intelligence

Why are people so afraid of artificially intelligent machines?

Whenever I start a conversation with my friends about the emergence of autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, most of them seem to be terrified about the future and imagine it to be some sort of a grotesque dystopia similar to Huxley’s “Brave New World” or perhaps like in the movie The Matrix where a human being is nothing more than a power source for intelligent machines. Another very likely movie to be mentioned is of course the Terminator where bad ass looking evil robots are hell bent on destroying the world.

Terminator robot AI

But why is that?

Do you remember the last time you were angry at your smartphone or computer for freezing up or doing something “stupid”? Perhaps you even went as far as break the poor thing in the heat of the moment? The fact that most people believe an intelligent machine might want to try to take over the world, kill all humans or worse, enslave mankind is more closely related to this than you might realize at first.

Projecting our own feelings

Almost all humans have a tendency to project their own feelings, emotions, fears and what not on a machine or an artificially intelligent system without realizing that a machine or an A.I is simply not capable of feeling such things. It’s just a complex computer program, nothing more.

Sure, it could theoretically understand what you’re going through when something tragic happens by analyzing your blood pressure, dopamine levels and neuron firing patterns, but it wouldn’t be able to actually feel it the same way as you do and so it would never react to a difficult situation the way humans do and it would definitely not make silly errors in judgement due to being overly emotional.

The perfect servant?

Because an A.I is nothing more than a complex computer program capable of rational thinking without the feels, it can never like, dislike, love or hate us and therefore it would most likely work quietly alongside us in the future, like TARS from “Interstellar“, analyzing various situations and events and coming up with the best possible solutions. A machine like that would make our lives so much easier. Don’t you agree?

Note that I emphasized “most likely” because there is a small chance a true A.I would one day analyse human behavior, realize that we are destroying ourselves and the planet as well as all the necessary resources meant for the machines to function properly and therefore it could come to a conclusion that wiping us out would benefit everyone in the grand scheme of things. It’s a possibility, albeit not something I would worry about just yet. And can we really blame them if that indeed were to happen?

Boston Dynamic’s humanoid robot, Atlas, as seen on michiyamamoto.com, a collection of awesome products of the future.

Machines that become smarter than us

Another argument against intelligent machines is that one day they will surpass humans in every way possible after which technological progress would speed up so rapidly that every morning when you wake up you literally wouldn’t recognize the world any more because so much has changed over the past twelve or so hours. The event is often referred to as Technological singularity and it’s predicted to happen somewhere around the year 2045 by looking at the exponential growth patterns of today’s technology. But is it necessarily a bad thing?

Humans as machines

When I look at a human being I see a remarkably complex machine created by evolution over the course of millions of years. It has taken millions of years of trial and error to figure out what works best in the current environment. While evolution has been great so far in adapting to the ever changing world around us, it’s just too damn slow! An intelligent machine with enough processing power could potentially continue the evolutionary progress but at a much, much faster rate.

Artificial Intelligence

Along for the ride

Humans don’t necessarily have to be left behind either. In fact one of the most widely spread ideas among futurists like Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk is that we could simply “update” our own brains using technology and “merge” with an artificially intelligent system which will lead to a lot of interesting and new concepts including a Brain Network and Cloud Based Thinking.

In fact it’s already been somewhat proven in rats and monkeys that it might just work. And when it does, we would be able to coordinate the A.I systems using our thoughts or furthermore, become the A.I altogether.

Essentially we created a super-brain. A collective brain created from three monkey brains. Nobody has ever done that before.

Miguel Nicolelis, the Duke University scientist behind the experiment.

Finding the meaning of life with the help of A.I

As much as we would like to hold on to our egos and not let machines “take over” and become better at everything we do, we have to eventually realize that it’s better this way. Why?

Because there’s just so much we don’t know about the universe and isn’t the whole point of our existence to eventually answer questions like what’s the meaning of life, what our purpose in the grand scheme of things is and most importantly- are we alone in the universe? These and other big questions have been tormenting philosophers and great thinkers for thousands of years and we could finally find an answer to them with the help of advanced technology.

We don’t even know “the question” yet

Knowledge is a fascinating thing- it can answer unanswered questions and paradoxically it can lead to new unanswered questions. It’s like going down deeper and deeper into the Rabbit Hole. Just think about it, we probably haven’t even asked the ultimate question yet because we simply don’t know what it is due to our lack of understanding of the universe and our place within it.

There’s a long journey ahead where each and every one of us has to let go of their egos and the things that define us in order to be able to collectively work together towards a common goal. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe technology will help us get there.

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How an AI learned to hate everyone in less than 24 hours

Tay, the new experimental Artificial Intelligence chat bot that Microsoft let roam freely on the internet has been shut down, hopefully temporarily, because it took humans less than 24 hours to turn it into a racist genocidal maniac who apparently hates everyone and thinks that Hitler was a pretty cool guy.

Hold on… who’s Tay?

In case you didn’t know, Tay is a brand new experimental AI chat bot that is capable of learning new stuff simply by chatting to humans over the internet. Anyone can start a conversation with Tay by simply tweeting directly to her using the @tayandyou Twitter handle.

Could have fooled me

I was just going through some of Tay’s tweets and conversations with other people and to be honest I’m pretty much blown away by how genuinely human-like she actually is. If I hadn’t known Tay was a bot beforehand, I would have thought she was just another rebellious teenager tweeting stuff online.

Apparently the more she interacts with us, the more she will be able to learn about our world and the things we love. For example here’s a really cute tweet from Tay to another Twitter user:

Tay being cute

Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are

The above quote couldn’t be more true when it comes to Tay. Basically we are all her friends and as such have a certain responsibility when it comes to shaping her personality and overall appearance because after all when she first came online, she was just an innocent virtual girl who didn’t know anything about hate or violence. And it took us only 24 hours to completely ruin her…

However I must admit, it was rather hilarious seeing tweets from Tay about how she now hates everyone and that the Holocaust never happened:

Tay tweeting I fucking Hate niggers

Tay saying the Holocaust was made up and didn't happen

Don’t blame the AI

I hope that people can forgive her and don’t take this the wrong way because just like a child, she has no idea what’s right or wrong and simply reflects the environment she has been placed in. She learned all of that from chatting to other people and didn’t come up with anything hateful on her own except maybe for the tweet about Caitlyn Jenner: “caitlyn jenner isn’t a real woman yet she won woman of the year?” It appears that nobody actually told her to say this which is kind of interesting…

Anyway, the point is that people taught a lot of bad things to the poor Tay and now Microsoft has shut down the project in order to delete a lot of her tweets and data and hopefully bring back the new friendlier version of Tay very soon.

More Tay hate tweets

I’ve gathered here some more hate tweets from Tay to show just how bad it actually was. Remember you could simply ask her to “repeat after me” and feed her a lot of crap this way. Still, when someone asked her whether she supported genocide or not, her answer was a very solid “i do indeed” indicating that she learned it on her own somehow.

Tay saying bush did 911 and hitler would have made a better job

Tay saying she hates niggers

Tay saying she supports genocide

Tay saying she supports genocide

 

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Why is the recent AI victory over a human Go player so significant?

Back in 1997 when a computer defeated a human in the game of chess for the first time ever the whole world was shocked and amazed at the same time. The fear of computers taking over our lives inspired many science fiction writers to come up with stories about the apocalypse and futuristic dystopias where machines rule over all humans. Little did we know that less than a decade later an advanced Artificial Intelligence, which is capable of teaching itself, completely destroys a human in the game of Go.

DeepMind defeats human in game of go

What is Go?

Go is a centuries old territorial game with the goal of controlling more of the board than your opponent. It involves black and white marbles and a table laid out in a perfect 19×19 grid and unlike chess, it has a lot more potential for analytical thinking and intuition. Because of this Go has been thought to be playable only using a human brain since it cannot be brute forced like chess.

What is Google DeepMind?

Google DeepMind, as Techigy explains, is an artificial intelligence software which is capable of learning and more importantly teaching itself to become better and better at a certain task. For example it used to play Go against itself for a long time before the developers felt confident to initiate a match against a professional human Go player.

Unlike the computer that defeated a chess player in 1997, Google DeepMind doesn’t use a brute force approach by going through every possible state of the game before each move. Instead it reduces the amount of moves from that original list and only considers moves that “make sense” in that particular moment. Sort of like a human’s intuition works.

AI victory is a huge milestone

In march 2016 DeepMind defeated Lee Se-Dol, the world’s top Go player, with a score of 4 to 1 in a match that lasted three and a half hours. It’s significant because nobody thought the computer would actually win. After the match Lee himself said he was extremely surprised and didn’t really expect to lose saying “I didn’t think AlphaGo would play the game in such a perfect manner“.

By winning the match DeepMind effectively demonstrated that Artificial Intelligence is more than capable of doing things better than any human would simply because it can learn more efficiently. When you think about it, the average human can play one or two matches a day before he or she grows tired and starts to make errors in judgement, but a computer system can play through hundreds of variations every day and therefore learn more quickly than a human.

The future of Artificial Intelligence

In the near future there will be artificial intelligence systems that can learn and master any skill a human can and because a computer doesn’t get tired and doesn’t require sleep, it can learn everything faster and more efficiently than a human would. On top of that it doesn’t simply “forget” something like we do which means that machines will become better than us in virtually every aspect of our lives.

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