AI Primer from the New York Times

This piece at the NYT is not a very inspired article but it does outline some basic Artificial Intelligence history and issues.      I think it remains *nearly impossible* for many to grasp the implications of the coming convergence of human and machine capabilities – a convergence that is going on at this very moment in subtle ways but which will likely blossom into something amazing within a decade, perhaps less.     The first self-aware computer is likely to be the last significant invention of humankind.    Not because it will destroy us, but because it will make our intellects *obsolete*.

The following “science fiction” inventions are alive and well *right now*:

Braingate and Emotiv Headset:    Mind control of computers

DARPA Autonomous Vehicles:  Cars that drive themselves through complex city traffic with *zero* human input

Blue Brain:  Supercomputer working simulation of a neocortical column of a rat.

5 thoughts on “AI Primer from the New York Times

  1. Perhaps amongst the SuperHumanIntelligentComputer posts you might remember to include a few of those recent articles about GPS navigation systems sending motorists over steep cliffs or across non-existent bridges.

  2. The Braingate technology appears to be a genuine AI-cog-sci. advance–not merely simulation, or sophisticated robotics (like DARPA, though I haven’t heard that DARPA vehicles are allowed in normal traffic). The neuro-kinetics gear also suggests something philosophical in a sense: the brain’s neurological hardware can be encoded, and translated into commands, and interfaced with a CPU. That provides fairly conclusive evidence of the bio-dependency of mental events–Mind is Brain, more or less. Not great news for Notre Dame, or for suburban mystics, for that matter.

    That said, the new AI-cogsci gear also lends itself to Matrix-like or Blade Runner scenarios. Sinister governments or corporations could put AI and robotics to malevolent uses: in fact they already do, arguably. Drones were used fairly extensively in IWE, and on occasion one sees a strange small craft out in the high desert (the Dark star project, and others). Police departments also now make use of all sorts of AI gear, GPS stuff, very advanced surveillance gear. Watching a LAPD raid–tanks, ‘copters, goons in kevlar, semis, dozens of squad cars all outfitted with the sector-ware, etc–on some neighborhood gangstas or drug dealers one may detect the wrong side of the Brave New AI World (and let’s not forget that most cop and guard unions are solidly democratic).

  3. Hey, are you guys just AI party poopers? After the Terminator Movie I’m wondering if funding for AI projects might be viewed with a little more … hostility?

  4. Actually, AI will be marvelous.
    Its already making inroads in the consumer marketplace.
    Some of this is a little like a coin that says King George the First. Its clearly counterfeit because such a coin would have said King George. Its the same way with the term “set”. Originally ALL sets were what is now know as Crisp Sets. Lofti Zadeh created the concept of ‘fuzzy sets’ wherein members of a set had a probability of being in the set rather than a distinct yes or no. So a set became a more real-world way of dealing with situations. A crisp set of the people in a room would include simply the people in a room whereas a fuzzy set would include people in the doorway, people listening to the lecture in an overflow room, people who had just left but were about to re-enter the room, etc. This Fuzzy Set and Fuzzy Logic for the basis of advances in artificial intelligence and what has become known as Soft Computing.
    Washing machines that sense how dirty the water is and don’t require a human being to press some selector button use artificial intelligence. Self adjusting toasters, traffic grids that adjust themselves, … there are many advances. The problem is that those who want to deal with the frontiers of artificial intelligence have to remember that a robot should never try to tie its master’s shoelaces in the middle of an intersection.

  5. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post.
    Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make
    a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t seem to get
    anything done.

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