Sunday, March 16, 2014
National Wormhole Week
Artificial intelligence in its modern form came into being in the 1950s and some early successes were computer programs that could recognize language and solve problems in algebra. Given increases in computer strength, AI developers have continued to slowly make gains in the ensuing decades, including the computer. Deep Blue, that has beaten the world's best human chess players. But mimic human intelligence? Come on. You might come close, but never quite the same. The parallel processing abilities of our neural network have yet to be mapped, and even when we think we've got it down on paper (or on a screen), there will be quantum effects at the deepest levels of thought that will be essentially unknowable.
But the scary thing is there are quite a number of people who are willing and ready to jump off the deep end of AI into human-computer interfaces that we can see right now with Google Glass for instance, that for me carry some frightening implications. One classic movie, Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey, made the runaway evil computer monster that turns on its creators, Hal, a forever recognizable symbol of the hubris of this sort of work, but for me a more catastrophic implication is the way humans are so willing to turn themselves into something less than what we are for the sake of some potential labor-saving or efficiency advantage. Now of course it's hard to draw the line and say beyond this you have transgressed. I would not want to give up the calculator, for example, or God forbid return to the days when you had to go to the public library to find information about Tyrannosaurus Rex or Kurdistan instead of googling it. Yes, we all love that verb, don't we.
Anyway, at the bottom of this page is a list of the other blogs that are taking part in the Wormfest. Go and check out some other science breakthroughs with a potential double-edge.