Monday, March 07, 2011

What Is Toronto?????

In the eyes of IBM they recently won a huge victory by creating a ones and zeros monster named Watson. This video shows them elated in teary eyed celebration over their creepy contraption's Jeopardy win:

In reality they either "Deep Blued" Trebek like they did Kasparov or they've blindly pushed the envelope of artificial intelligence closer to the end of humanity as we know it. Witness two thirds of the science fiction genre.

My concern is that IBM reaches an artificial intelligence escape velocity while only paying token attention to the consequences. No one is publicly asking "Is this the right thing to do?" Probably because IBM people don't care. Their agenda is more, faster, business domination, fortune and glory. But not everything needs to be explored. Not everything needs to be created. Until we start having serious democratic discussions on what needs to be and what doesn't, we will continue blindly into an irreversible anything goes society while stumbling deeper into Plato's cave, deeper than whence we came.

Also, whats with the Orwellian name? "Watson" is supposed to be the side kick and side kicks are never smarter than the superhero. I just cant trust that face.

Watson is not a step forward, its a step backward by its lack of ethical consideration. We know from past experience how IBM will react to any such criticism.

Here is Kasparov's take on the situation via The Atlantic:


Liquid Egg Product said...

Here's the thing. Watson is not the AI breakthrough it seems at first.

The main hurdle is being able to parse English properly (a signficant hurdle, yes.). In a sense, it's merely a Google that's better in handling conversational English.

IMO, Watson's capabilities are a far cry from any ethical issues.

Pawn Shaman said...

I have to disagree with you on this one. Via the NY Times: “It must do more than what search engines like Google and Bing do, which is merely point to a document where you might find the answer. It has to pluck out the correct answer itself. Technologists have long regarded this sort of artificial intelligence as a holy grail, because it would allow machines to converse more naturally with people, letting us ask questions instead of typing keywords.” What we have been using is a pet dog that finds all kinds of things and hopes you like one of them compared to Watson which is more like a small child. Yes I’m using a slippery slope argument because the big issue is what this will lead to without people showing any significant concern. A.I. is being perfected in numerous specialized area, speech, action, learning etc. This is an enormous breakthrough in one area that seems innocuous, but when combined with another and another we will be entering very scary territory.

Liquid Egg Product said...

I think that for an AI to become "dangerous", it requires its own motivation and desire. Sentience.

We aren't close to that yet. As impressive as Watson is, it still requires human initiative to even do anything.

A lot of what is considered "intelligence" in machines right now is debatable. Deep Blue wasn't was a number-cruncher. he ability to determine what those numbers mean came from humans.

I won't disagree there's a slippery slope, but we're so far from it at this point. There are more immediate concerns with how automation and robots are affecting society, but it has nothing to do with their intelligence.