Are you worried about AI taking over the world?
It is because you may be making some rather unscientific assumptions!
Should we be afraid of artificial intelligence? NO.
But not everyone agrees. They may have concerns that the rise of powerful AI systems could mean the end for humanity.
Clearly, your view on whether AI will take over the world will depend on whether you think it can develop intelligent behavior surpassing that of humans some kind of super intelligence.
Humans tend to be afraid of what they don’t understand. Fear is often blamed for racism, homophobia, and other sources of discrimination. So it’s no wonder it also applies to new technologies, they are often beset by certain magic.
Some technological achievements seem almost unrealistic, clearly surpassing expectations and in some cases human performance.
But let me explain the most common AI techniques, known collectively as machine learning. These allow a machine to learn a task without being programmed. This may sound mysterious but the truth is it is rather ordinary statistics.
The machine, which is a set of instructions, or an algorithm, is designed with the capacity to discover relationships within the provided data.
In essence, we have programmed the machine to exploit common connections in the data in order to achieve a specific task.
Humans develop an understanding of the world over the years that no AI has achieved or seem likely to achieve anytime soon.
The fact that AI is ultimately down to the fact that it can learn. But even when it comes to knowledge, it is no match for humans. In fact, toddlers can learn by just watching somebody solving a predicament once.
An AI, on the other hand, needs tonnes of data and loads of tries to succeed on very specific problems, and it is difficult to generalize its knowledge on tasks very different to those trained upon.
So while humans develop breathtaking intelligence rapidly in the first few years of life, the key concepts behind machine learning are not so different from what they were one or two decades ago.
Toddler’s brains are amazing.
The success of modern AI is less due to an invention in new techniques and more due to the vast amount of data and computational power available. Importantly, though, even an infinite amount of data won’t give AI human-like intelligence, we need to make significant progress on developing artificial general intelligence techniques first. Some approaches to doing this involve creating a computer model of the human brain that we’re not even close to achieving.
Ultimately, just because an AI can learn, it doesn’t really follow that it will suddenly learn all aspects of human intelligence and outsmart us.
There is no simple definition of what human intelligence even is and we certainly have little idea how exactly intelligence emerges in the brain.
But even if we could work it out and then build an AI that could learn to become more intelligent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be triumphant.
Personally, I am more concerned with how humans use AI. Machine learning algorithms are often thought of as black boxes, and less effort is made in finding the specifics of the solution our programs have found.
This is an important and frequently ignored aspect as we are often obsessed with performance and less with understanding. Understanding the solutions that these systems have discovered is important because we can also evaluate if they are correct or desirable solutions.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are tools. They can be used in a right or a wrong way, like everything else. It is the way that they are used that should concern us, not the methods themselves.
Human greed and human stupidity scare me far more than artificial intelligence.