The more things change

The more they remain the same…

I read somebody’s blog article recently about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and about how human intelligence will in the not-to-distant future be surpassed by artificial intelligence, which will then fuel a development pace that we have not seen in the past.  There was an interesting introductory section of the article that talked about how technology was basically developing exponentially.  It would have taken lifetimes in the past to see the kinds of changes that we have seen within our own lifetimes.  In fact the changes today seem to happen rapidly enough that people are left behind.

But I have a hard time tying the rate of development to the topic of AI.   The logical capability that constitutes the core of a machine is very different from the core of a human brain, and I am not sure that this can be replicated. One has to have sufficient speed in the machine to be able to build an emulation of the core of the human brain that works in real time. The approach for developing AI capability in its limited form today is very focused and still limited in the capability to really learn.  Of course, one could come out with new versions of software encompassing the lessons from the use of the earlier version of what one can call AI software, and call this an AI implementation, but this is still an development that is directly dependent on human intelligence.  So some additional big breakthrough in technology is needed, something that can apparently lead to “super-intelligence” as discussed in the article I mentioned.  Also, in addition to “learning” software, we perhaps need hardware that can self-promulgate and grow in order to make this concept a reality.

So what, I think to myself.  While the changes in lifestyle during our own lifetimes has been astounding, where is this leading us? We have developed the tools to improve our efficiency of operation, we have created lots of functionality that simplifies life, we can communicate at speeds and across distances that would have been considered astounding even a couple of hundred years ago ago, we can cover vast distances in short periods of time,  we have increased food production to levels that would have been unthinkable in the past, etc…  We regularly have new technologies that come into place that quickly form the basis of our future experiences in all facets of life. People are living longer, enjoying more comfort, etc.., but so what.  We still are born, eat, sleep, and poop, and eventually die.  While lifetimes have increased, is this increase proportionate to the level of increase in technology? Is somebody thinking that AI will eventually change the fundamental elements of the paradigm of life.

I am not saying that development is a bad thing.  I am just thinking that we have not thought through its impact at a fundamental level. Every advantage that we appear to gain seems to be balanced by an advancement of some negative sort (including sometimes stupidity) at some level.  AI, even if it lives up to its hype, could turn out to be one of these things that adds to this unfocused sense of advancement and speeds it up.  I suppose that the most dangerous thing possible is that if this concept really becomes a reality in its truest form, we would have found a way to speed up the progress to such an extent that what we really achieve turns out to be completely destructive.

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Kuriacose Joseph

I am an engineer by training. I am exploring new horizons after having spent many years in the Industry. My interests are varied and I tend to write about what is on my mind at any particular moment in time.

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