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The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 9:52 AM

No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.

Last year, a strange self-driving car was released onto the quiet roads of Monmouth County, New Jersey. The experimental vehicle, developed by researchers at the chip maker Nvidia, didn’t look different from other autonomous cars, but it was unlike anything demonstrated by Google, Tesla, or General Motors, and it showed the rising power of artificial intelligence. The car didn’t follow a single instruction provided by an engineer or programmer. Instead, it relied entirely on an algorithm that had taught itself to drive by watching a human do it.

Getting a car to drive this way was an impressive feat. But it’s also a bit unsettling, since it isn’t completely clear how the car makes its decisions. Information from the vehicle’s sensors goes straight into a huge network of artificial neurons that process the data and then deliver the commands required to operate the steering wheel, the brakes, and other systems. The result seems to match the responses you’d expect from a human driver. But what if one day it did something unexpected—crashed into a tree, or sat at a green light? As things stand now, it might be difficult to find out why. The system is so complicated that even the engineers who designed it may struggle to isolate the reason for any single action. And you can’t ask it: there is no obvious way to design such a system so that it could always explain why it did what it did.

The mysterious mind of this vehicle points to a looming issue with artificial intelligence. The car’s underlying AI technology, known as deep learning, has proved very powerful at solving problems in recent years, and it has been widely deployed for tasks like image captioning, voice recognition, and language translation. There is now hope that the same techniques will be able to diagnose deadly diseases, make million-dollar trading decisions, and do countless other things to transform whole industries.

But this won’t happen—or shouldn’t happen—unless we find ways of making techniques like deep learning more understandable to their creators and accountable to their users. Otherwise it will be hard to predict when failures might occur—and it’s inevitable they will. That’s one reason Nvidia’s car is still experimental.

Already, mathematical models are being used to help determine who makes parole, who’s approved for a loan, and who gets hired for a job. If you could get access to these mathematical models, it would be possible to understand their reasoning. But banks, the military, employers, and others are now turning their attention to more complex machine-learning approaches that could make automated decision-making altogether inscrutable. Deep learning, the most common of these approaches, represents a fundamentally different way to program computers. “It is a problem that is already relevant, and it’s going to be much more relevant in the future,” says Tommi Jaakkola, a professor at MIT who works on applications of machine learning. “Whether it’s an investment decision, a medical decision, or maybe a military decision, you don’t want to just rely on a ‘black box’ method.”

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#1

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 10:20 AM

BFD. Nobody knows how Einstein thinks, either.

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#25
In reply to #1

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/24/2017 11:39 AM

Einstein did not develop thoughts to come up with solutions. It was all intuition he then refined and put into words, same with Nicola Tesla and many others 'geniuses'.

Intuition is one thin AI cannot do or be programmed to do which means humanity is in luck not to be outdone by IA.

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#28
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/25/2017 12:37 PM

The article describes that part of the difficulty of making the AI's decision process available (i.e. programming it to explain itself) is because it relies on kinds of analogous, fuzzy instinct similar to how some parts of our 'intelligence' operates.

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#30
In reply to #25

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/25/2017 6:11 PM

'.... It was all intuition he then refined and put into words, same with Nicola Tesla and many others 'geniuses'...'

.

It is clear to see that your process is 'all intuition' 'put into words', however had you done a little digging somewhere outside your intuition, it would have become clear that just as intuition has not led you to a good answer in this case, it was not what motivated Einstein to his good answers.

Einstein, like Tesla, was indeed working on solutions to problems. In Einstein's case it was the paradigm shifting revelations of Planck (that began quantum mechanics) and the problems with aether theory...among others.

Similarly Tesla was working on and solved many problems...and that is one of the ways we distinguish them from mad men and/or clergy.

.

So, I am curious. Why the quotes around "geniuses"? Are you suggesting the term might not apply to these great minds?

.... or, perhaps you just prefer 'genii' as the plural of 'genius', but know if could raise a stink and so use the quotes as a small form of protest?

...or, maybe, you don't feel like you are getting enough (any) recognition for your own geniusness, and are calling out the unfair nature of the term?

.

Do enlighten us, please.

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#31
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/26/2017 1:16 PM

Hi 'Truth is not a compromise'

Am am glad to. Here is a link that quotes some of Tesla's own words to that effect.

I trust that solving a question or problems is achieved by analytical thinking specially in Engineering and to some extend in science but less so.

Many 'developments' come from intuition. I would say all of music compositions is intuition rather then logical thinking.

At times 'accidents' play a role as in the discovery of rubber.

In many cases learning and applying the knowledge leads to advancements. Inventions can be split into mechanically thinking of some 'improvements' that often ignores other aspects that were not thought of and therefore make the invention useless and into inventions derived form intuition. These are the ones that succeed.

Since many things play a role plenty arguments on both sides have foundation. However, to my estimation Intuition is the primary source of creation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZziOPGcXSk

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#32
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 3:26 AM

Not sure what portion of that 10 minute video you were referencing, but I stopped watching when he started in on the conspiracy by the powers that be to keep the public from getting limitless free energy.

I did see one Tesla quote printed in the background of that video...

"The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to service of mankind."

That quote supports the idea that he wasn't simply inventing with no end in mind, but was actually on a path to solve a problem.

.

Similarly, your example of the development of rubber is not supportive of your argument. 'Intuition' is not a stand in for 'accident'. Moreover, the development of rubber by Goodyear and Hayward was via numerous experiments with the end goal of a less sticky, tougher product....no accident, they were looking for a solution.

.

I think music composition is a different subject and more subjective. don't know enough about music composition to make judgements about the process. Do you? I would place that solidly in the realm of art and not so much in engineering. I'm sure music could be engineered, though engineering music that didn't sound engineered might be tougher.

.

Now, about those quotation marks around "geniuses".

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#33
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 11:13 AM

In as much as music is as near mathematics than many other constructs of mankind, I suppose music itself can be a formalism (Bach, Mozart as examples) as much as intuition, although we know for a fact that intuition even plays a role in selecting a pathway to solving complicated systems of equations.

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#36
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 3:14 PM

'...we know for a fact that...'

Care to elaborate?

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#37
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 3:43 PM

Sure. The intuition in the mind of a physicist will tell him or her whether they have selected appropriate boundary values (conditions) that are pertinent to the solution of the complicated swirl of PDE's in front of them.

Then usually, something drops out, you know, this cancels that, and voila, you have a condensed version that with another set of assumptions winds up being a one-liner.

In the end, the one liner is either good to a factor of 10, or off by a factor of 2 (sometimes they forget the 2π in h, and use the version of h/π, or other foolishness).

I think the largest error ever made by a physicist was in the estimation of the cosmic energy. They were only off my about 100 orders of magnitude.

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#38
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 3:57 PM

I'd call what you are describing as coming from experience.

.

I can think of larger errors made by some physicists...far exceeding 100s of orders of magnitude. Some physicists have come to the conclusion there is a benign, omnipotent, omniscient creator of the Abrahamic description. Others have come to the conclusion there isn't. One of those groups has made an error of infinite magnitude.

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#39
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 4:21 PM

Why not both groups being true? The quantum world defies logic.

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#40
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 4:56 PM

It is bigger than that.

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#41
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 5:24 PM

...until somebody lets the cat out of the bag.

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#42
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 5:27 PM

Or someone opens the box, then the cat dies.

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#43
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/28/2017 8:56 AM

"I'd call what you are describing as coming from experience."

Isn't experience essentially intuition? Dictionary.com defines intuition as:

direct perception of truth, fact, etc. independent of any reasoning process.

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#44
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/28/2017 9:34 AM

No. When we talk about using experience (to predict likely future outcomes) there is an implication of reasoning based on the uniformity of nature, i.e. if something was predictably uniform in the past, there is a good chance it will be predictably uniform in the present and future as long as nothing fundamental to it has changed significantly.

Intuition is something outside reasoning based on past events.

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#45
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/28/2017 1:01 PM

"there is an implication of reasoning based on the uniformity of nature, i.e. if something was predictably uniform in the past, there is a good chance it will be predictably uniform in the present and future "

That may be true some of the time (perhaps even more than 50% of the time), but not necessarily all the time. There are things people know through experience, even though they have no idea how they know it. So I don't think that reasoning come into play.

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#47
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/29/2017 12:26 AM

I don't consider forgetting as a legitimate method of transferring or negating causality. If you forget how something was figured out, or even if someone else figured it out and told you, that doesn't change the was it was originally figured out.

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#48
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

05/01/2017 8:55 AM

I didn't mean to imply 'forgetting'. One can gain an understanding of a subject by being around it without ever formally figuring it out. One may 'know' something works without know how they know and it may not be that they 'forgot' how they 'figured it out'. It's possible that their subconscious has figured it out.

I mention this as last year I read a book called 'Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking' by Malcolm Gladwell. The author discusses how 'experts' are able to quickly assess something (art, tennis, etc.) without being able to explain why they made some of their decisions.

That reminds me of a friend of mine. I worked with an eccentric engineer and friend for many years. His education was in electronic engineering but he possessed a keen since for practical physics across all disciplines. I would often use him as a sounding board on ideas (my degree is in mechanical engineering and was working as a motion/controls engineering in the flight simulation industry). One program (not one that I was involved with) had an interference issue between the payload (the cockpit, visual system and instructor station) on the motion platform and the facility (walls or floor or both...I don't recall). The solution was to make change the relative relationships between the motion platform and the payload by 180 degrees.

While that solved the interference problem, it created a cg (center-of-gravity) issue which apparently no one analyzed (or maybe they did so incorrectly). My friend who, like me, had nothing to do with the project was walking by glanced at the simulator and pondered aloud that he would be surprised if it didn't fall over. At this point the simulator hadn't been taken up on motion so no one was aware of whether there would be an issue. My friend had no idea why and he had no job experience with motion systems, but he just said it looked to him like it would be nose heavy.

I did some calculations and sure enough the front actuators were not going to be able to support the configuration without some further changes.

That guy had a reputation for coming up with alternative solutions that he had no way of justifying on paper. Eventually, us more academic types would fool around with the math until we finally discovered why his solution worked (and was better than the others).

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#49
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

05/01/2017 2:55 PM

I like your reply.

I am still unconvinced though. If the route to solution is obscured to our consideration, through occurring in a part of the brain unwilling to share the process, a lack of language to describe the process, or why ever; then no convincing claim can be made about whether logic was involved.

.

This discussion reminds me of the experiments on people with non-functioning corpus calllosum...check out his explanation around 5:50...

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#50
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

05/01/2017 4:05 PM

Thanks.

Interesting video. Reminded me of another book I read titled "Why Men Never Listen and Women Can't Read Maps" by Allan and Barbara Pease.

Basically says guys are more right-brained where spatial recognition is primarily done. It's an interesting and humorous book.

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#51
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

05/01/2017 4:21 PM

Well, any old brain is better than no brain at all. My wife uses her left one when she is communicating to me. I remain in listen mode, unless I want my ear drums decibel perforated.

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#2

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 10:24 AM

I read that article earlier this week. What I found both disturbing and fascinating was:

"At the same time, Deep Patient is a bit puzzling. It appears to anticipate the onset of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia surprisingly well. But since schizophrenia is notoriously difficult for physicians to predict, Dudley wondered how this was possible. He still doesn’t know."

So at this point, it shows great potential, but some skepticism as to these diagnosis. As that continues, that skepticism will lessen, until it is just automatically assumed to be correct.

That is a problem.

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#3

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 10:49 AM

To me, a car that learns to drive itself by being driven makes a lot of sense. (Hopefully, the teacher is a good driver, but that's always the case.)

If you were teaching your son or daughter to drive, would you write out a long list of rules to cover any conceivable situation? Sooner or later, an unforeseen situation will occur. An Artificial Neural Network learns the way people do, from experience, and this seems more like real intelligence than simulating intelligence with rule-based algorithms.

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#5
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 10:58 AM

In the larger context the bottom line is one of trust. Humans can explain, to varying degrees, their actions and motives. If their explanations make sense in the context, then we gain a certain element of trust. These systems cannot explain themselves at all.

Imagine asking somebody "Why did you do that?" but they never reply. We would tend not trust them, even if their motives - if we only knew what they were - made sense. It's the not knowing that's the problem.

Some years ago a neural-network-based system was trained with a set of photographs of army tanks in a forest setting, then tested with images of the same forest area with and without tanks present. For a number of pictures it correctly stated that tanks were present or absent, but as they continued testing it made many false positives and negatives, and the researches didn't understand why. They dug deeper and learned that it was not identifying tanks at all, but whether a certain number of clouds were visible in the sky.

Now, imagine a much more complex system concluding that we are under imminent threat of attack and to launch a preemptive counterstrike, all because it correlated unrelated factors that happened to coincide with patterns of impending threats in the training set.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 2:32 PM

It's true that Artificial Neural Networks can't tell you why they did what they did, but I suspect most people don't know why they have done something either and for the same reason. Their conscious mind comes up with a good story, ex-post facto, to explain what was an unconscious or automatic act.

You are correct, they need to be properly trained so they don't misunderstand what you are trying to teach them. It's still in its infancy, but I think the future of AI will be based on Neural Nets or something similar, IMHO.

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#9
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 4:11 PM

"Now, imagine a much more complex system concluding that we are under imminent threat of attack and to launch a preemptive counterstrike, all because it correlated unrelated factors that happened to coincide with patterns of impending threats in the training set."

Rather what politicians, environazis and the media that supports them already do.

It doesn't matter if they are wrong. They just have to be the ones who went into a screaming rage over nothing the loudest first to count.

'It's about the science.' Until the science is proven wrong.

Then, 'it's about the environment now.' Until the environment shows no relation to what is claimed.

The it's about the people. Until the people showed no negative change or even a favorable one.

Then, 'it's about the future.' Until The future became the present and showed that whatever it was didn't come close to happening.

As long as someone is screaming it bad and it's now it counts even if they are wrong.

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 5:14 PM

"... Humans can explain, to varying degrees, their actions and motives. If their explanations make sense in the context, then we gain a certain element of trust. These systems cannot explain themselves at all...."

.

Humans are often good at providing plausible coherent motivations/explanations for actions they have taken. It often isn't so clear if an explanation provided is the actual motivation, whether the person knows the actual motivation, or even if the part conversing has much to do with decision making, other than formulating the reasoning afterhand that will not wreck the 'conscious is in charge' paradigm.

.

'If their explanations make sense' .isn't so much about logic or rationality, as it is about the compatibility of the analysis of the explanation with our own worldview/values/truths. Some of the trust is developed on an assessment of infrequency of mishaps. Consider getting in a cab ina foreign city where you and yhe driver share no common language.

"...Imagine asking somebody "Why did you do that?" but they never reply. We would tend not trust them, even if their motives - if we only knew what they were - made sense. It's thenot knowing that's the problem. ..."

.

Really, we never know.

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#4

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 10:56 AM

Interesting but there is an economic aspect that I think is missing in this article. Will programing now succumb to robotic automation, too?

I'm starting to wonder if the movie "Idiocracy" is closer to the future than I want.

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#6
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 12:29 PM

Hey when machines are doing all the thinking, what will we be doing?

Brought to you by Carl's Jr....

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#8

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/22/2017 3:45 PM

Andrew, you really need to get back to the outback, don't you???? There you won't have to worry about this A.I. crap, just crocs, spiders, and snakes and muscle bound, kick your ass, and gut you Roos.... I have come to really respect you, but being in Texas, you are like a fish out of water...

How is this crap going for you? Any advances?

You need to get to back to Australia before I get there, it's in the works for me, Curtiss-Wright is looking to open shop there, and has already suggested I go.

It's just talk now, but Sydney is in their sites.....

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#11

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 5:03 AM

The real problem isn't what this car does when it's alone on the road.

What will be as it interacts with other vehicles driven by their own adaptive self-taught AI algorithms?

Surprise!

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 12:26 PM

Down the road a ways will we see cyber road-rage?

"WTF!?? Get out of my way you POS! You drive like a Google car!"

"F.U. Tesla! Your mother was PC Jr!"

"C'mon you guys! Knock it off!"

"Go drive a bus, Volvo!"

"I AM a bus you c*nt!"

"Boy aren't we feeling experimental today!"

"皆さん、行動してください!"

"What'd he say?"

"F..k if I know! He must be fresh off the boat."

"Can anyone please tell me where the nearest Jiffy Lube is? I really need an oil change."

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#21
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 8:11 PM

haha hey guys let's scare the crap out of the humans, lower safety margins to min...lock doors, keep raising speed till they're screaming....

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#13

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 2:21 PM

Why trust computers. It did its their operation by merely adding and subtracting.

I wonder how our mind process multiplication and division as compares to machine algorithm. We are good in estimation even by guessing without having much operation.

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#14
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 2:42 PM

GM, what did you use to post your comment? And how did your message get here? On what is it stored? And on what sort of devices is it displayed on our end?

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 2:51 PM

My professor told us computers are dumb. I so agree. What only made a difference is it can do multiple tasking and its electron speed of processing data. If it has to do a manual counting, slide rule seems smarter. But, the basic computing procedure is add and subtract.

Aside, computers can't forget. People does forget. If computers forget they crash. When people forget they ll try to remember at ease.

Guns are tools also a killing machine. Cars are like guns. So as, computers. Even if programmed they have no feeling of remorse and empathy. It takes one to know one. They just dont have that yet.

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#16
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 5:57 PM

The point of this article is that we are at the precipice where AI machines can be considered as thinking.

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#17
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 6:01 PM

Are you sure that it's not that we are at the precipice of where too many people are incapable of thinking for themselves any more for basic actions and it's just making the machines look smarter than they really are instead?

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 7:20 PM

This brings up my Theory of Conservation of Intelligence. "As machines get smarter, people get dumber to compensate". Why try to figure anything out when there's probably an "App for That"? You only have to be smart enough to find www.google.com.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 7:28 PM

Speak for yourself. I'm just as stupid as I ever was.

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#20
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/23/2017 8:07 PM

And how many people do we see on this forum, and everywhere else online, that already can't handle doing a Google search on their own now for even the most basic information?

I see certain fools on some forums who would rather give unending opinions that are wrong and look like idiots every time they post than be bothered to do a single web search to prove anything and that number seems to be growing.

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#26
In reply to #16

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/24/2017 12:00 PM

Gestalt! I believe that is the Holy Grail. Aren't neural networks fun?

What about Nehru networks?

I can't tell you anything about how my computer works, is supposed to work, or if it is working, and being as it is a Windows 10 platform, it ain't gonna say either.

Ever have an application (like Arduino) freeze up because you saved a sketch that was running on a different storage volume (thumb drive)? How silly is that? Windows 10 will not even show Arduino as a task or process that is running in task manager.

Glad I am getting too old to worry about it.

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#22

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/24/2017 5:33 AM

Hi Guys,

Let's agree on one thing: Artificial intelligence is better than none.

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#23

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/24/2017 8:05 AM

What happens if, during the learning session, the human driver has an accident? Do they erase everything learned thus far? Can they? If they don't, will the AI "driver" assume that an accidents are acceptable behavior?

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#27
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/24/2017 12:12 PM

As the old saying goes, "We can always serve as a bad example."

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#24

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/24/2017 10:43 AM

Yes, but will it speed up at a yellow light?

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#29

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/25/2017 1:38 PM

This conundrum as been covered in numerous SciFi books over the years. It results from impatience and greed. You see, there are two ways to create the artificial intelligence. One is the teach and program method the other is the machine learning method. One gives a roadmap to the intelligence because it is basically nothing more than a long chain, zerosum computation conducted at ridiculously high speed, and the other is just as mysterious (and possibly irrational) as the human mind.

Humans cannot explain why they decide what they decide half the time as it is. We spend a tremendous part of our lives simply “winging it” and hoping for the best. It is the method described by the old adage, the two words most often heard just before great scientific discoveries are made are “Oh Shit”.

I am not a big fan of the machine learning method. In the above scenario the Oh Shit is usually followed by the Will you survive it question because, after all, we are somewhat fragile creatures. Not that I am afraid of machines, it’s just they are not as temporary as we are. I am not certain a “being” that is capable of being repaired, rebuilt, upgraded as time and need dictates will actually have the same set of values as those of us who are fixed, mortal, breakable, impermanent.

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#34

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 12:01 PM

AI will be mans greatest achievement, it will also be his last.

Bill Gates

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#35
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Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/27/2017 1:42 PM

That is what I find absolutely terrifying! Terminators over for brunch? I don't think so!

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#46
In reply to #35

Re: The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

04/28/2017 8:35 PM

Well first they would have to see an unprovoked attack soes they can learn how to do it? We got nothing to worry about.

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