On July 11, the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence officially launched and design theorist William Dembski offered some thoughts:
The Walter Bradley Center, to the degree that it succeeds, will not merely demonstrate a qualitative difference between human and machine intelligence; more so, it will chart how humans can thrive in a world of increasing automation. …
Yet the Walter Bradley Center exists not merely to argue that we are not machines. Yes, singularity theorists and advocates of strong AI continue to vociferate, inflating the prospects and accomplishments of artificial intelligence. They need a response, if only to ensure that silence is not interpreted as complicity or tacit assent. But if arguing, even persuasively, with a Ray Kurzweil or Nick Bostrom that machines will never supersede humans is the best we can do, then this center will have fallen short of its promise.
The point is not merely to refute strong AI, the view that machines will catch up to and eventually exceed human intelligence. Rather, the point is to show society a positive way forward in adapting to machines, putting machines in service of rather than contrary to humanity’s higher aspirations.
Unfortunately, rather than use AI to enhance our humanity, computational reductionists increasingly use it as a club to beat our humanity, suggesting that we are well on the way to being replaced by machines. Such predictions of human obsolescence are sheer hype. Machines have come nowhere near attaining human intelligence, and show zero prospects of ever doing so. I want to linger on this dim view of AI’s grand pretensions because it flies in the face of the propaganda about an AI takeover that constantly bombards us.
It is straightforward to see that zero evidence supports the view that machines will attain and ultimately exceed human intelligence. And absent such evidence, there is zero reason to worry or fear that they will. So how do we see that? We see it by understanding the nature of true intelligence, as exhibited in a fully robust human intelligence, and not letting it be confused with artificial intelligence.
What has artificial intelligence actually accomplished to date? AI has, no doubt, an impressive string of accomplishments: chess playing programs, Go playing programs, Jeopardy playing programs just scratch the surface. Consider Google’s search business, Facebook’s tracking and filtering technology, and the robotics industry. Automated cars seem just around the corner. In every case, however, what one finds with a successful application of AI is a specifically adapted algorithmic solution to a well-defined and narrowly conceived problem.
The link for the whole talk will be available at the Mind Matters Today blog at the Walter Bradley Center shortly.
Here are some recent Mind Matters Today stories to check out:
Will AI lead to mass joblessness and social unrest? Jay Richards, author of The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines, says, the main problem is learning to adapt to a rapid-moving AI economy. As result, he thinks that we should not fear the robots so much as the robot philosophers.
AI machines taking over the world? It’s a Cool apocalypse but does that make it more likely?
The usual problems with doomsaying also apply to predictions for artificial intelligence. For example, most doomsdays of any kind don’t happen because many unforeseen sequences of decisions and events change the scene.
AI can mean ultimate Big Surveillance: That’s what we should really worry about.The celebrity worry about superintelligent AI taking over and getting rid of us humans distracts our attention from a real-world fact: Artificial intelligence (AI) maximizes the opportunities while crashing the costs of corporate and government surveillance. Both have grown massively in recent years, with predictable results.
Self-driving cars hit an unnoticed potholeOne good thing about Dixon’s predictions is that they are specific, unlike the AI apocalypses that gather a crowd for science celebs. He raises practical questions: Is Uber a good part-time job in the long term? Is long-haul trucking a wise career choice? If governments earmark money for self-driving lanes, is that a future benefit to most citizens or only a few? Meanwhile, at Venturebeat, computer vision researcher Filip Pieniewski thinks that AI winter is setting in…
More coming soon.
See also: Announcement: Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence launches Wednesday, July 11
Announcement: New Walter Bradley Center to assess claims for artificial intelligence critically