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Dembski: Claims for artificial intelligence are overblown


From Bill Dembski at the Best Schools:

The White House paper on automation rightly draws our attention to the challenges society faces from the coming disruptions to the job market on account of AI, and machine learning in particular. A real and imminent threat exists here, in which the middle-class could get severely hurt. But this threat can be averted if we rise to the occasion, demanding more of ourselves and of our educational system, focusing on those areas where human intelligence has primacy. Simply put, we’re smarter than machines, and we need to play to our strengths where the superiority of human over machine intelligence is palpable. More.

Dembski also talks about the self-driving car. I (O’Leary for News) agree with him about its bleak prospects, but come at it from different point of view: The whole point of having a car is to be the driver:

A friend who works in a government office in a small Canadian city told me recently that most of the older married women there spend nearly half their income after-tax on their cars. They just so desperately want the independence of “her” car that they are willing to make that sacrifice of time and trouble.

My guess is that even if we offered to hire them all chauffeurs, they would prefer to drive themselves. That’s the part that gives me pause for thought about the driverless car’s future.  More.

It is also why backward regimes do not allow women to drive.

See also: Why AI won’t really replace people, despite its bad press

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How do you sell your product if your customers are out of work? (In a somewhat parallel issue, I wonder how many stores Wal-Mart has had to close because their outsourcing push has caused the closure of the factories where the stores' customers worked.) EvilSnack
Harry, a robot that flips a burger or builds a car does not depend on AI. Paying those robots and teaching them to make their own purchase decisions of other robot made products WILL take AI. We can program them to enjoy paying high taxes too. Of course the real potential of AI robots goes beyond driving cars or building products. It is the thinking jobs. R&D, Product Design, IT, Finance, Theoretical Physics etc. ppolish
Let's take human workers being replaced by robots to its logical conclusion to see if it makes sense to head in that direction. Nearly everybody ends up unemployed, so most people are supported by government assistance -- or are destitute. Most people being destitute is not a good conclusion. How does most people being on government assistance work out? You have government taxing businesses which all use robots. Government distributes this collected revenue to unemployed people who spend it at the businesses using robots. Why not take the government out of the loop and have the robot using businesses just give their products away? Because the businesses want to make a profit. How do they do that? By charging more for their robot produced products than it costs them to produce them. This increase in their prices means people need more money from the government in order to buy their products. So the government must raise taxes on these businesses, which means the businesses must raise their prices ... It seems to me that if you take human labor out of economics, economics doesn't make sense. Profitable businesses aren't an end in themselves, their purpose is to serve humanity by employing humanity and providing for it. Business exists for humanity, not humanity for business. Going full robotic doesn't look like it will end well to me. harry
What happens when Artificial Intelligence is combined with Artificial Selection? Robot Labradoddles with Lazer Beam Eyes is what happens. AI overblown I don't think so. ppolish
Well, yes, but the Artificial Intelligences have a lot of support from human bureaucrats. In Northern Virginia we already have the case where what had been HOV commuter lanes are now Toll Road lanes. Drivers who buy the required transponders can then attempt to tell the AI controlling the lanes that "this car is has 3 people", but the AI doesn't have to listen. Within the last 6 months, I have seen an article in which it was seriously proposed that ALL of the Interstate Highway System become "toll roads". That is, vehicles that are NOT being driven by an onboard computer would be charged a toll for every mile that the human-controlled car traveled down the highway. Note also that MANY local roads are in fact chunks of the Interstate Highway System. So trying to find a way to get to your office without entering an Interstate Highway could easily double your commute. I can imagine that the pressure to enforce such a system will increase as semis convert to computer drivers. Mixing AI vehicles with irrational human vehicles will clearly increase the number of "accidents". (Um, the AI DECIDED to drive through your left rear quarter-panel...) I can't see a viable AI-controlled motorcycle. So I assume they'll simply be outlawed, or made so expensive to operate that they will disappear. mahuna

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