Artificial Intelligence
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AI = Artificial Intelligence = Hype

     Artificial intelligence has been over-hyped for decades - and still big companies invest huge sums into trying to achieve it - like believing a myth. Why haven’t they succeeded? It’s easy - they don’t understand what intelligence is ...

A Definition of Intelligence

     The best definition of intelligence I ever heard was from Prof Igor Aleksander (who had a face-recognition and speaking neural network at Brunel University in the UK in 1983 - where I was an MSc student building collaborating dissimilar neural networks). He said there is no such thing as 'artificial intelligence' - just intelligence. He felt that the problem with AI had / has been that its practitioners thought that it was something you programmed – of the style of:

FOR 1 to n



and that this was always nonsense.

The Six Laws of Intelligence

     Instead, Igor said (I am paraphrasing his deep discourse), you have intelligence when you:

    1) are self-aware, and aware that you are self-aware;

    2) able to sense the world and other beings and perceive that they are self-aware;

    3) can appreciate that they have different motivations and views of the world to yourself;

    4) can conceive of what their view(s) of the world may be;

    5) can reason from those points of view and synthesise them with your own ...

    6) and lastly be able to act, interact, and effect change in the world in line with those things - anticipating, adapting and changing over time - and so changing the nature of your intelligence in line with the real-world context.

     The various kinds of simulations and emulations of ‘intelligent’ behaviour succeed as far as they do because of the human ability to anthropomorphise and attribute intelligence where it does not exist (think of Tamagotchi as a more extreme example). We even do it with objects in our homes (such as cuddly toys).

There is only Intelligence - AI is an approach not an outcome

     Intelligence is really a social phenomenon (not an individual property) arising out of meaningful and reciprocal relationships over time – even the famous ‘Turing Test’ is set in a social context - and computers have no idea about that, and are nowhere near achieving it. This view is called strong-AI and is an important clarification given the hype.

     Take the AI in Google’s ‘self-driving’ car. It has driven a million miles, never further than about 50 from its base, and has had 8 accidents (mostly rear-enders). Why? Because it doesn’t meet the Six Laws of Intelligence above.

     I've driven a million miles (on and off road and in the craziest cities in four of the world's continents) and have had 3 accidents. When self-driving cars can get near that sort of record then we might trust them.

     Until then, there will be self-driving lanes fenced off - and they are called railways ... but this is not a Luddite rejection of technology, it is based on the realities of the world - a realistic assessment of the kind that CyberOutlaws make.

      Current AI is just Fake Intelligence which will fail while the approach continues to be wrong. Artificial entities must be real partners and players in the world, arguing, discussing, collaborating and so on - then they may be intelligent.

The AI ‘Cargo Cult’ Myth

     In the April 2017 edition of Wired Magazine Kevin Kelly talks about the myth of Superhuman AI. He says it is like a ‘Cargo Cult’ who think that ‘real AI’ will come alone anytime soon - we just have to follow the rituals. He says:

     “Many isolated islands in Micronesia made their first contact with the outside world during World War II. Alien gods flew over their skies in noisy birds, dropped food and goods on their islands, and never returned. Religious cults sprang up on the islands praying to the gods to return and drop more cargo. Even now, fifty years later, many still wait for the cargo to return. It is possible that superhuman AI could turn out to be another cargo cult. A century from now, people may look back to this time as the moment when believers began to expect a superhuman AI to appear at any moment and deliver them goods of unimaginable value. Decade after decade they wait for the superhuman AI to appear, certain that it must arrive soon with its cargo.”


Updated 16 Nov 2017