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