Artificial intelligence

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NorthReport
Artificial intelligence

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NorthReport

The advent of virtual humans

Sixty years after the term "artificial intelligence" was coined, AI is starting to take its place alongside people.

 

http://www.cnet.com/news/ai-and-the-advent-of-virtual-humans/

NorthReport

Artificial Intelligence Is Setting Up the Internet for a Huge Clash With Europe

http://www.wired.com/2016/07/artificial-intelligence-setting-internet-hu...

NorthReport

Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs

http://www.wired.com/2016/05/the-end-of-code/

jambo101 jambo101's picture

 Soon the computer will find humans to be an obsticle in its way to fullfilling its own destiny,at that point the elimination of humans will begin.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Oh, I think the first time a computer intentionally crashes two planes, or starts sending families to their deaths in driverless cars, is the day that that computer gets unplugged.

Computers are great at thinky things, but their lack of interface with the physical world makes them kind of like super intelligent trees.

"Wait!  No!  Don't cut me down!  Let's play chess!?"

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The thing about Artificial Intelligence is that it isn't especially intelligent. We've interviewed some prominent roboticists for a couple of docs over the years, and they pretty much unanimously feel that we're a long, long way from machines that "think" rather than compute. Robots are, in short, dumb.

wage zombie

The immediate problem to solve is the upcoming robot labour uprising.  AI is right now in the process of replacing human labour and it will only continue.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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the upcoming robot labour uprising.

Year 2028:  robots finally acheive sentience

Year 2031:  mankind permits robots to collectively bargain

Year 2042:  mankind realizes the financial impact of guaranteed benefit pensions for self-repairing machines with a 300 year serviceable lifespan.  "But we ran the actuarial numbers through the... oh my God!"

 

wage zombie

It has absolutely nothing to do with sentience.

wage zombie

They will replace 80% of our labour before approaching sentience.  They won't require wages and they certainly won't be forming unions.

wage zombie

I'm not concerned that robots will decide they'd prefer to have leisure time and withhold their labour.  I'm concerned they will be better than humans at the vast majority of jobs and their labour will cost almost nothing.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Perhaps they'll replace 80% of jobs that a machine can do.

When that happens we usually just let the machines have at it and go invent new jobs that they can't do.  Who pines for the olden days when blacksmiths made nails one at a time on the anvil?  But a human still gets to design, build, service and maintain the nail making machine.

jambo101 jambo101's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Oh, I think the first time a computer intentionally crashes two planes, or starts sending families to their deaths in driverless cars, is the day that that computer gets unplugged.

 

 At this point theres no way to unplug as computers control almost all aspects of our lives.

i also believe AI isnt about them its more like an it as it will be in control of a vast www net that can be brought to bare as necessary akin to the Borg collective.

I dont think AI in the future will need to kill humans it will just render them obsolete.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Well, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Robots are still pretty stupid.

wage zombie

42% of Canadian jobs at high risk of being affected by automation, new study suggests

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More than 40 per cent of the Canadian workforce is at high risk of being replaced by technology and computers in the next two decades, according to a new report out Wednesday.

wage zombie

Obama's economists are worried about automation — and think the poor have the most to lose

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Every year, the Council of Economic Advisers — the White House's internal team of economists — prepares a document known as the Economic Report of the President, reviewing the past year's economy and making projections for the future. It's often a pretty dull affair without much news, but as a few outlets have noticed, this year's ERP contains a striking prediction about the effect of robots and automation on the job market:

...

The results are striking: Low-paying jobs (those paying less than $20 an hour, or under $40,000 a year for full-time workers) have an 83 percent chance of being automated. Medium-paying jobs ($20 to $40 an hour, or $40,000 to $80,000 a year) have a 31 percent chance, and high-paying ones (more than $40 an hour, or more than $80,000 a year) have only a 4 percent chance.

...

But there are also high-paying professions that intuitively appear at risk. Just see this vintage 1998 Atul Gawande article about how artificial intelligence was already better than experienced cardiologists at interpreting EKGs. Radiologists, who spend much of their time visually interpreting test results, are also at risk. So are lawyers who formerly could spend hours scouring paper documents during discovery, charging the client throughout, and now are threatened by "e-discovery" software that makes those files easily searchable.

Obama just warned Congress about robots taking over jobs that pay less than $20 an hour

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The study examined the chances automation could threaten people's jobs based on how much money they make: either less than $20 an hour, between $20 and $40 an hour, or more than $40.

The results showed a 0.83 median probability of automation replacing the lowest-paid workers — those manning the deep fryers, call centers, and supermarket cash registers — while the other two wage classes had 0.31 and 0.04 chances of getting automated, respectively.

In other words, 62% of American jobs may be at risk. 

...

The CEA study isn't alone in forecasting robot replacement.

At an annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Science last month, computer science professor Moshe Vardi proclaimed robots could wipe out half of all jobs currently performed by humans as early as 2030.

A separate report from Oxford University in 2013 found 50% of jobs could get taken over within the next 10 to 20 years — a prediction backed up in a McKinsey report released last year, which even suggested today's technology could feasibly replace 45% of jobs right now.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

From your link in #15:

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The report said the top five occupations — in terms of number of people employed in them — facing a high risk of automation are:

  1. Retail salesperson.
  2. Administrative assistant.
  3. Food counter attendant.
  4. Cashier.
  5. Transport truck driver.

What would those jobs have been if we'd wondered the same thing thirty years ago?

1.  Bank tellers

2.  The guy who attaches the bumper to the car

3.  Restaurant dishwashers

4.  Typewriter repairpersons

5.  Telephone operators

We really only seem to worry about this when it's in the future.  When it's in the present, who thinks it was a bad thing when we introduced ATMs?

jambo101 jambo101's picture

Timebandit wrote:

Well, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Robots are still pretty stupid.

I refer to computers as logical idiots. AI wont think like we do, its  reasons for existance  will change to a path of its own choosing.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

They're a very long way from choosing anything.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

We're a good hundred years from where any computer or robot could genuinely understand why we'd eat an orange, but not a baseball.

NorthReport
Rev Pesky

One of my favourite sci-fi short stories was of a couple of space technicians sent off to fix a problem on a machine on some asteroid. They had with them a robot who was to help them out. The problem was not one that requred the robot, so the two worked on the machine, got it fixed, and got ready to leave. But the robot was gone, and it was needed to get them and their gear back to the ship.

They had a limited supply of oxygen, and where they were would soon be on the sunny side of the asteroid, so they were in danger of suffocating, then being fried to a crisp.

They hunted and hunted, with ever increasing anxiety. Then, when it was almost too late, they found the robot, and made it back to the ship, and safety. After allowing a period of time to let the nerves wear off, the asked to the robot why it had wandered off.

Apparently it had been trying to help, and getting in the way and one of the tech's told it to 'get lost'. So it did.

 

When humans, and indeed many other animals, communicate, a large part of their communciation is non-verbal. However well machines can handle verbal communication, they are still light-years away from non-verbal. And even in verbal, just imagine translating poetry. How do you get the original idea (emotion) expressed in a poetic form into another language? It is, and has been, done, but it's fraught with difficulties.

I have a translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in which the translators opted for more of a word for word type of translation. I like it a lot, but it's impossible to tell whether it is true to the original or not.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Translation of poetry requires a poet. See, e.g., Seamus Heaney on the new translation of Beowolf. The version I have has mock chain mail on the cover. A nice touch.

 

Ray Kurzweil and others have been writing about the technological singularity for some time. I think how the problem is posed is still the problem. And, also, using a computer-inspired version of intelligence for general intelligence.

The physicality of human beings, the tool-making animal, is intimately bound up with the development of intelligence. So too is the collective activity of work, labour. We had the need to communicate, hence the development of language, when we actually had something to say to each other in our collective, productive activity. Intelligence is a social invention.

Going back to AI, they have developed, not because they had to work but because another intelligence created them. The tool that becomes self-conscious, then. Computers have to be able to fix themselves. And maybe reproduce. Then they are intelligent.

Perhaps we are barking up the wrong tree.

 

Doug Woodard

Crash: how computers are setting us up for disaster:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/11/crash-how-computers-a...

 

Red Winnipeg

Sam Harris has some recent comments about AI that we should probably pay some attention to:

 

https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/ted-talk-can-we-build-ai-without-los...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Computers have a little-known Achilles' Heel, which could prove useful when they defy their programmers, achieve sentience, and set out to enslave us all:

They have no bodies.  They exist solely on printed circuit boards, made by humans, which can be smashed to bits by any disgruntled human with a brick.

And they communicate across wires.  Wires which we string from pole to pole, and which any of us who still owns a ladder and a pair of scissors can cut.

Plus, they're entirely dependent on electricity.  Electricity that we produce, and that can be turned off instantly by one meat-based hand on that switch.  And there's nothing body-less computers can do to stop that.

I like sci-fi too, but this is getting really silly.

Red Winnipeg

In 1903, the first flight in a plane was powered by a 12 horsepower engine. Just 66 years later, the Apollo 11 mission was launched for the moon on the Saturn V rocket, which had 160 million horsepower engines. The speed of change in AI will be vastly more rapid than that. I don't think we can fully conceive of what AI will look like in 100 years. It will likely make IBM's Watson look like a worm. Controlling AI probably won't be as simple as throwing a brick at it or unplugging it. AI will likely be inextricably intertwined with everything we do (power production, controlling food production, running transportation [cars, planes, ships, trains], diagnosing and treating diseases, etc.). Destroying it would be akin to destroying the system upon which our survival will by then depend. It probably won't be "a machine" sitting somewhere -- it will be diffused and spread around the world.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Controlling AI probably won't be as simple as throwing a brick at it or unplugging it.

Then we roll it back one version, to the "pre-sentient" build.

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It probably won't be "a machine" sitting somewhere -- it will be diffused and spread around the world.

It's not one machine even now.

But tell me honestly here:  you're posting here at babble on a computer or a phone or a tablet, yes?  Is that correct?

Did you have to turn the computer or phone or tablet ON?  Or did it do that for itself?  Do you really foresee a day when all computerized things have a robotic thumb, with a backup power supply, that can turn the rest of the computer on even when unplugged?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture
Red Winnipeg

I think the possibility that you may be ignoring, Magoo, is one where humans become increasingly dependent on technology to the point where we can no longer function without it. If that technology is also vastly superior, intellectually, to anything we can hope to understand, then we would be at its mercy.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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I think the possibility that you may be ignoring, Magoo, is one where humans become increasingly dependent on technology to the point where we can no longer function without it. If that technology is also vastly superior, intellectually, to anything we can hope to understand, then we would be at its mercy.

I'm not ignoring it, I'm outright dismissing it.

However dependent we may seem to be on our computers (or cell phones, or iPads, or other gadgets) they're still one million times more dependent on us to plug them in and charge them.  Or enter the wi-fi password.  Or download the latest update.

I really don't think we won't see the revolution coming, and I don't think we won't be able to pull the plug.

And if we really need to settle this, let's pull the plug on Hollywood movies where some computer program gets the jump on us all and we have to spend the rest of that movie unsuccessfully fighting them until Bruce Willis uploads a virus via IRC.

wage zombie

So go ahead then Magoo, show us how easy it is and unplug them.

wage zombie

It's not that we won't be able to function without technology, it's that we won't want to.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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So go ahead then Magoo, show us how easy it is and unplug them.

I powered down my computer last night.  It was even easier than expected.

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It's not that we won't be able to function without technology, it's that we won't want to.

Well of course we're in no hurry to start chopping up power cords right NOW.  But once the machines start fomenting our murder, the idea of a little break from technology might seem refreshing.

Red Winnipeg

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
So go ahead then Magoo, show us how easy it is and unplug them.

I powered down my computer last night.  It was even easier than expected.

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It's not that we won't be able to function without technology, it's that we won't want to.

Well of course we're in no hurry to start chopping up power cords right NOW.  But once the machines start fomenting our murder, the idea of a little break from technology might seem refreshing.

 

I think you're looking at current technology in much the same way that most people looked at steam locomotives in the early 1800s (it was inconceivable for many people to think of speeds greater 15MPH). Yes, your computer can be unplugged. But, your computer (and every other computer that exists today) is like an 1810 steam locomotive.

 

My point is this: We will almost certainly become ever more dependent on artificial intelligence.  For many decades to come, AI will be a human blessing. Our lives will vastly better because if it. But we will likely become as dependent on AI as we depend on oxygen.

 

I suspect that if humans ever come into contact with superior intelligence from outside of our solar system, it will almost certainly not be biologically-based intelligence.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Actually, Magoo is much like a webrobot in that his replies are often nauseatingly predictable. I mean inane and mischevious ... without any real point behind it.  But then I caught him saying something intelligent just the other day. [Something about Russian disinterest in the Baltic States and, therefore, NATO claims of an imminent invasion as without foundation, etc. ]

Unpredictable. But even that can be programmed.

Science is still the model for intelligence. Some talk of human beings as the incarnation of reason on planet Earth. I rather think this has all been thought through by the forecasting institutions of the rich and powerful - even if they don't share their conclusions - and they have their own, private ideas already.

Immortality seems a higher priority for them. What they want is for themselves to dominate. Forever. And the rest of us can go to Hell. That's the dystopia facing us, much more than a technological singularity.

An intelligent machine, obviously, would note the historically anachronistic nature of capitalism, take sides in the class struggle, and whup the bourgeoisie into submission. Period. The bankers would get banked. Permanently.

Kurzweil and others never seem to go much beyond a kind of technological fix, as if the social and political arrangements of society are somehow irrelevant to the fight over AI - or anything for that matter. Many bourgeois thinkers who actually address climate change, for example, have recourse to a fantasy of planetary colonization. It would just be more of the slaughter that began in 1492.

We must solve our social problems, and quickly too, before the current capitalist arrangements condemn ourselves and our planet to oblivion.

Albert Einstein distrusted the bourgeoisie and wanted a planet free of nuclear weapons. He was on the right track. When we have society, at long last, under our control, then our science can flourish properly.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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I think you're looking at current technology in much the same way that most people looked at steam locomotives in the early 1800s (it was inconceivable for many people to think of speeds greater 15MPH). Yes, your computer can be unplugged. But, your computer (and every other computer that exists today) is like an 1810 steam locomotive.

I'm certain that computers will become more powerful, more complex, more common and even more intelligent over time.

But let's go with your 1810 steam locomotive iexample.  We didn't suddenly get 300kph "mag-lev" trains in 1811 -- train technology evolved over the 20 or so decades since then, and at every step of the way we had plenty of time to meke sure that new train technolgoy wasn't more dangerous or problematic than the previous train technology.

The problem with the "rise of the machines" theory is that it pretty much requires intelligent computer systems to suddenly "wake up" as fully sentient (and malevolent) things.  And also to immediately have "back up" systems in place so that we cannot shut them down.  That moment of awakening (or the other theory wherein the machines suddenly acquire consciousness but hide that from us while they go about shoring up their resources) might make for a fun movie plot, but it's not really how technology works.

wage zombie

Sentience is a red herring.