Artificial Intelligence Doesn't Even Exist in Hollywood

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4-Second
Movie Review

Steven
Spielberg’s “Artificial Intelligence” should have been named “Genuine
Stupidity.”

4-Minute
Artificial Intelligence Tutorial

In
some of the computer books I’ve authored, I address the issue of
artificial intelligence, or AI. In its purest form AI is the ability
of a machine to learn on its own from input.

How
close are we to AI? Let me take a few moments to ponder.

The
human brain is so much more complex than a computer’s. Still, some
people believe that if pond scum mixes for billions of years, a
human mind will evolve. People who believe the fantasy of evolution
are still stuck in the pond. It’s interesting that if the survival
of the fittest is how we came into existence, then it just so happened
that both a MALE and a FEMALE of each species happened to be the
fittest at the same time, in the same generation, and happened to
live close enough together to have a few drinks and form a union.
All by chance.

An
aside: A flock of sheep is the perfect argument against survival
of the fittest. Did you know that sheep cannot survive for long
without human protection? Sheep cannot fight, they don’t run well.
About the only defense they’re good at is their defense against
evolution. So, if animals evolved millions of years before people,
how did sheep survive? In New Zealand, certain breeds of sheep will
die from heat if they are not sheared annually. Who sheared these
sheep before humans came along?

(For
any public school teachers who can read this, I’ll answer those
nagging questions going through your head: New Zealand is a country
east of Australia. Australia is a country and continent south of
the USA and on the other side of the world. The world is not flat,
it is a sphere. The USA stands for the United States of America
and is the country in which you live.)

Back
to AI: As advanced as computers are today, we still cannot fathom
a machine that can simulate the neuron connections within the human
mind. Humans handle ambiguity in ways that machines cannot. Consider
the following phrase: “Time
flies like an arrow”

Simple
phrase, we all understand it. The verb is flies, time performs the
action and “like an arrow” describes how it flies. Once you teach
a computer how to parse a sentence like this, the computer will
have fits with the following: “Fruit
flies like an orange.”

Things
are completely different here. The subject is “fruit flies.” The
verb is “like.” They like “an orange.” The sentence structure is
identical but completely different in meaning. The computer regurgitates
this. Yet, people have no problem distinguishing between these two
phrases and understanding their meaning.

In
spite of humanist predictions, such as that of Kurzweil who says
that human contact between each other will be replaced by human-like
robotic machines in the next generation’s lifetimes, we are far
from true AI. Computer power is growing geometrically and that trend
should continue until the speed of electrons becomes the halting
factor. Yet, at least given today’s work in AI, we are not seeing
true AI in our lifetimes. It may happen obviously. But today’s technology
does not point to true AI soon. Even voice recognition is in its
infancy despite the advertisements to the contrary.

    August
    23, 2001

    Greg
    Perry [send him mail]
    is the author of 70
    books on computer programming
    .

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