David Krakauer of the Santa Fe Institute offers an unsettling vision of future science as produced by machines that no one really understands
David C. Krakauer, Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute, poses a question: “Science today stands at a crossroads: will its progress be driven by human minds or by the machines that we’ve created? ” …
He goes on to tell us that the gap between our powers and those of machines “ threatens to blow the whole scientific project wide open” …
The basic problem is that accepting on faith what we can’t ever hope to understand is not a traditional stance of science. Thus it’s a good question whether science could survive such a transition and still be recognizable to scientists. So the real bargain would be: Give up science, driven by human creativity, for greater technological power created by machines. But does turning things over to incomprehensible algorithms, content with ignorance, really work anyway? Current results from a variety of areas give pause for thought.News, “Will ideas or algorithms rule science tomorrow? ” at Mind Matters News
Some have prophesied better futures for science than he does.
2 Replies to “Will we turn science over to computers?”
Real science is looking at stuff and figuring out how it works. There’s ALWAYS a missing part in our understanding.
Experimental science is a black-box process. Wiggle one part while keeping the other parts still, and see what the output does. Even in a super-simple process like a lever or gear, we don’t try to understand the dynamic interactions of all the atoms inside the lever; we just try to pin down the multiplier as precisely as we can.
So the mystery produced by a huge algorithm isn’t especially new or different. It’s still a black box.
I wrote on this at MindMatters:
Why I Doubt That AI Can Match the Human Mind