Posts Tagged ‘artificial intelligence’

The thing about Transcendence is that it’s not in any way a film about artificial intelligence. It’s about being human, and being God, and the implications of our impossible quest for one given the unavoidable limitations of the other, or some such wank. It uses the trappings of AI as a framework for the storytelling but has about as much bearing on the actual path of interactive electronic simulation technology as Lawnmower Man. I might have enjoyed it more if I’d figured out that distinction earlier; there’s nothing wrong with telling that kind of story, or of telling stories that way. But I’d like to see a story about AI that’s actually about AI sometime. Outside of fanfic from some of the funner corners of the rationalist community.

What? Half-arsing something on your phone and then copying and pasting it from a Facebook update totalling counts as blogging. Well, self-plagiarism’s the best you’re getting for now, anyway. Moving house is still keeping me too discombobulated to get much writing done. My online handle’s a bigger lie than my old MySpace username, Extrovert McSmallpenis.

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– A TED talk from Clay Shirky on the problem with SOPA.

– “Just like John Kerry, he speaks French, too.” The Republican candidates are genuinely attacking each other for having acquired new skills and abilities. Who are they even pandering to?

– You might get what you wish for, even if you don’t get what you want. This blog on Artificial Intelligence continues to be one whose updates I look forward to the most.

– Wow. Apparently you really can become a world-famous religious authority, even when your arguments aren’t a jot more sophisticated than “Christianity is true because Jesus, and we know other religions aren’t true because there’s no Jesus in them and the Bible is special, QED!”

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I happened across some articles online about “Friendly” Artificial Intelligence not long ago, and then spent most of the rest of the afternoon reading up on it instead of doing any work.

There’s actually more to learn about AI than you might think, even as relates to our current state of scientific progress. The Singularity (whatever that ends up meaning) is clearly still some way off, but a lot of interesting topics are becoming relevant right now, and there are people out there who’ve already spent some time thinking about them in much greater depth than I ever have.

This is a good place to start, with a basic outline of what it means for an AI to be “Friendly”. The main thing to remember seems to be that an AI is not going to be “basically like us but built of different stuff”. There’s no reason it should come pre-loaded with all the same things we do, or exhibit any of our tendencies toward destructive behaviour, jealousy, selfishness, or whatever. There are many, many ways to be smart other than being human.

It’s all too easy to assume that AIs will have some kind of intelligence we’re familiar with, though, which is why in fiction they tend to have very human-like personalities (or animal-like, but still with the same kind of familiarity). There’s always a perceived danger that they’ll run amuck and turn angrily against their creators – but only because that’s what we’d do.

It occurred to me while reading that article that people do the same thing with God. Almost every way that they’ve been perceived in human history, gods have been suspiciously human-like in their motivations, and have espoused philosophies and advice curiously suited to the particular cultures in which they arose. It seems likely that the limits of human imagination have played a big part in this, too.

The Singularity Institute For Artificial Intelligence blog is one to watch, and this list of objections often raised against the plausibility or desirability of various kinds of AI is another interesting introduction to the topic.

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