It’s not about artificial intelligence (AI) taking over — it’s about AI improving human performance, a new study by Yale University researchers has shown.
There are 139 Chinese poems in the new book “The Sunlight that Lost the Glass Window,” and the fact they’re all written by one artificially intelligent bot doesn’t make local scholars too pleased.
“It disgusted me with its slippery tone and rhythm,” poet Yu Jian told local newspaper China Youth Daily, according to the South China Morning Post. “The sentences were aimless and superficial, lacking the inner logic for emotional expression.”
“We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.” -Vernor Vinge
If you’re like me, you used to think Artificial Intelligence was a silly sci-fi concept, but lately you’ve been hearing it mentioned by serious people, and you don’t really quite get it. Here’s why it’s so incredibly important.
Walt Mossberg: This is my last weekly column for The Verge and Recode — the last weekly column I plan to write anywhere. I’ve been doing these almost every week since 1991, starting at The Wall Street Journal, and during that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the makers of the tech revolution, and to ruminate — and sometimes to fulminate — about their creations.
Now, as I prepare to retire at the end of that very long and world-changing stretch, it seems appropriate to ponder the sweep of consumer technology in that period, and what we can expect next.
Much of the talk surrounding robotics in the workplace centers on the job losses caused by automation. However, there are also great benefits of robots to humans who perform dangerous or labor intensive tasks that could possibly be mitigated with the help of technology.
Brain surgery is precision business, and one slip can spell doom for affected patients. Even in one of the most skilled jobs in the world, human error can still be a factor.
Researchers from the University of Utah are looking to provide less opportunity for those errors to occur. A robot that the team is developing is able to reduce the time it takes to complete a complicated procedure by 50 times.
Will we have more rights or fewer rights when artificial intelligence kicks in? How about the right to have our diseases cured, the right to a full head of hair, the right to a job that matches our skills, or the right to marry our perfect mate?
In response to advances in neuroscience and technologies that alter or read brain activity, some researchers are proposing a recognition of new human rights to mental integrity. These would protect people from having their thoughts abused, hacked, or stolen. The idea of this kind of human right is a recognition that although brain-related technologies have the potential to transform our lives in many positive ways, they also have the potential to threaten personal freedom and privacy.
Cory Doctorow: In the Foundation series, Isaac Asimov posited three rules to protect humans from robots. As our own technology advances exponentially every day, how can will we make technology that frees us, rather than enslaving us?
Let us begin by cleaving this problem into two pieces, only one of which I am qualified to address:
- How can we make technology that works well?
- How can we make technology that fails well?
I only know about #2.
People in Britain are more scared of the artificial intelligence embedded in household devices and self-driving cars than in systems used for predictive policing or diagnosing diseases. That’s according to a survey commissioned by the Royal Society, which is billed as the first in-depth look at how the public perceives the risks and benefits associated with machine learning, a key AI technique.
Growing up, computers were mainly tools for automating secretarial tasks, not for professional work. Economist Robert Solow observed around that time, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”
But in the late 1990’s information technology became truly transformative. Combined with the commercial Internet and email, they became conduits to a continuous flow of information that could be processed, analyzed and turned into action. It’s likely that we’re in the early days of a similar productivity boom today, as connectivity begins to transform physical machines.
That’s how long Google’s Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil thinks it will take for computers to reach human levels of intelligence.
Singularity Is Coming
“By 2029, computers will have human-level intelligence,” Kurzweil said in an interview at the SXSW Conference with Shira Lazar and Amy Kurzweil Comix.
Known as the Singularity, the event is oft discussed by scientists, futurists, technology stalwarts and others as a time when artificial intelligence will cause machines to become smarter than human beings.
AGING — A LAW OR A SUGGESTION?
The inevitability of aging may be no more than yet another biological theory that scientific advances will retire in the near future. Some scientists today say that longevity is a societal concept that we may no longer need to uphold as a static law of nature, but instead, as one that can be rewritten to our benefit.
Researchers from fields spanning genetics to artificial intelligence (AI) are working towards a future where we will have to stop using a “midlife crisis” to justify our ill-advised decisions (but is it really ever the wrong time to buy a Porsche?).
While there have been innumerable theoretical ideas and initiatives for dodging the Grim Reaper, many actual strategies that are being developed today fall into one of two camps: biomedical or technological.