sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Deus Ex Machina?

Technology that is distinguishable from magic 
is insufficiently advanced.

Will artificial intelligence render religion obsolete within our lifetimes? Some people think so (here).

The article cited above suggests the arrival of "technological singularity",  a hypothetical event related to the advent of artificial general intelligence or "strong AI"). Such a computer, computer network, or robot would theoretically be capable of recursive self-improvement (redesigning itself), or of designing and building computers or robots better than itself. They project that it will arrive within about thirty years, possibly to coincide with the arrival of true quantum computing.

A project that I'm working on at a university in Texas at the moment will result in "strong AI", but not strong in the sense that the machine is self-aware.

I'm not a neophyte in the field, but there are different ways of constructing AI to use networks as tools. The power of those networks is clearly growing in such a way as to provide predictive information that has a strong degree of confidence. It's not machine based "Minority Report", but along those lines, using information that is not classified - - totally open source (expansive integrated meta data + AI).

Ethics in privacy and civil rights enter in but when we give away so much of our privacy willingly, it's difficult to blame the people who build the machines that then use it.

It comes to the point where you have to be wiling to give up your cell phone, computer, credit cards, television cable subscription, etc. --- moving completely off the grid. Most of us can't do all of those things and earn a living. Some few can.

The technical singularity point is the point beyond which events may become unpredictable or even unfathomable to human intelligence. Atheists believe that at that point, the machine(s) will become God and so it goes.

I'll leave my opinion on the matter to my responses to comments that you may choose to make.

22 comments:

  1. That is a little bit weird that we live in the Age of artificial intelligence. Do not take me wrong, but I am afraid that artificial intelligence will soon become a reality. However, the article is good! I will use it for my essay.

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    1. Artificial Intelligence is here. There is a question of its evolution but that process is a daily reality and progression. The extent to which machines will become totally self-aware is unpredictable.

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  2. I've always wanted a robot friend... and a jet pack.

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    1. I already have one of those ;)

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    2. Yes, of course. I forgot. You likely also have your Apple (Dick Tracey) combination wrist watch, computer and phone.

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  3. Do you remember the old Soviet cartoon, showing a cosmonaut in space, pointing to the stars and announcing, "Look! There is no God!" Likewise with AI, technological advance doesn't prove or disprove the deity, except as an example of contingent existence, which argues for necessary being.

    Then there's this: "Of course, like most philosophers, I don't believe in souls, and the only way for there to be a good future is if we save ourselves. No gods will save us because there are no gods—unless we become gods."

    That scares me.

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    1. technology that is discernible from magic is insufficiently advanced... if you traveled back in time to the days of Mog the cave man and landed your helicopter on the shingle in front of his cave and slew the saber tooth tiger than had been hunting him with one shot from your smart rifle, he'd have thought you a god. But you'd only be a man with more advanced tools.

      Men can take life.
      Men may be able to extend human life.
      ...but men are not God. When the rise to suppose that they are, they're always headed for trouble.

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    2. But, but, but what about Hillary?

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    3. If you worship her faithfully, you will be among the last to be enslaved.

      (caveat - you may need to flee to a liberal enclave for this to hold sway -- Fergusson, MO, Baltimore, Chicago - south side, or anywhere in the People's Republik of Kalifornia)

      Meanwhile, you can feast on free cheese and use your free ClintonPhone toll free anywhere in the world. When you get tired of eating free government cheese, you can use food stamps to buy food or drugs as you inclined to.

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  4. Allow me to correct that first sentence: Will intelligence render religion obsolete in our lifetime? Anyway, on to the matter of the artificial kind.
    As long as I can get one that pours wine and is adept at domesticity and scares burglars, I'm all for it.

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    1. Maybe the AI Robot will make better wine selections than you do. Would that intimidate you? I know that you spend about half of your time in France. What would THEY say about robots telling them what vintage to enjoy and pair with what food??? The French are more snobbish about wine than the Brits.

      I knew a guy who thought that a five bob bottle (short screw cap) of wine was a luxury when I lived in the UK. They may have the good box wine there, same as in the US, now. No need to unscrew the lid.

      I think that I need to revisit the film, The Stepford Wives. You may recall that the Stepford Wives made wonderful companions...

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    2. No robot could make better wine selections than I can but if it did, I wouldn't fear it poisoning me!
      The French would never go for that, they are the wine connoisseurs of the world and think everyone else is stupid. It's a whole different level of snobbery. However, when they start to scoff snails and ignore trifle it makes me wonder.
      Oh yes, a harem of Stepford wives ~ would you like that, Larry?

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    3. Yes, just a Stepford wife or maybe two would be sufficient.

      Ignoring trifle should be a crime punishable by making you eat snails.

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  5. Or revisit "Westworld", perhaps.....

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    1. You can't have a genuine Westward with out Yul Brynner.

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  6. All you have to do it look at what IBM has accomplished with "Watson"... They are getting closer every day. It's more about information processing, which will soon exceed 'our' capability.

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    1. I'm working very closely with IBM and their next generation of "Watson" at UNT. Yes, it's exciting.

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  7. I am not excited to know that Ava from 'Ex Machina' or HAL from '2001: A Space Odyssey" are making decisions as to how I live my life, and even how our public resources are distributed.

    Already, the AI progression is starting to creep most everybody out, at least on the Big Screen. But little do we all realize that Ava and HAL type machines are already determining what we eat, drink, drive and watch on TV. These machines crunch the massive data, provide reports that the suits read, and then issue edicts in their board rooms as to 'what we demand as consumers.' Every little unit of data we give up as our own, some machine has included that info into its own memory, for purposes that will likely not benefit us, not one bit.

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    1. Ava will love you long time as a sex bot...

      And of course, you're right. These machines are already working on us. They track and evaluate what we buy at the grocery store, they evaluate our credit and buying habits, and the question may fairly be asked who serves whom.

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It's virtual - it's a mirage - it's life