Thursday, May 26, 2016

More Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence

La Sagrada Familia. The Outside
A recent article on the great novels out there and the fractal aspect to their writing, got me thinking about how computers were used to make this observation.
La Sagrada Familia, the inside

This got me thinking about Gaudi, and his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, and how computers have helped to confirm the structural validity of the shapes his mind came up with. So now the church can be completed. An amazing thought to think of a person so far ahead of his/her times. It's more amazing if one decides to think on the fact that these computers, now analyzing, could possibly come up with something beyond the comprehension of human minds. 
La Sagrada Ceiling

For example, Alphago was shown to make several moves beyond the comprehension of the expert human mind. 

These days, people speak of the AI singularity and a moment when computers take over what humans do, putting much of our current economic system at risk. Now, my knee-jerk reaction is that if the decision making control of this world is left in the hands of humans, it will most likely perpetuate or worsen inequality and subjugation in the world. Meanwhile, with the right guidance or parameters [1], allowing computers the to make the decisions (even top end ones) could make for a better world. 
La Sagrada's Amazing Pillars

All this is the main point of Labyrinth of Souls, my latest novel [2]. The problem in the book is the problem in our world today: that we are moving too fast with weaponizing such algorithms without thinking through those consequences [3]. 

But this seems to show the weakness of my initial position. Why do I think that artificial intelligence will be better than humans in making higher end decisions? Is it simply a matter of eliminating heuristics that will make them better? Or will they, like many other tools, simply be used to exacerbate existing iniquities? Unfortunately, given that the powerful own the tools, this latter scenario is very likely. We must be careful, then, as we move forward down this route. 
It's Windows and Alien-Furnace Light

[1] Of course, who decides this is important. 

[2] Though in this book I may have been too cruel to the activists in the book who set out to create this better world via a decision making algorithm. My real feelings on the matter are that I believe we should always be wary of anyone in power. How they react to shifts in power also matter. Will they be willing to watch the world burn rather than give up power?

[3] Alphago among many exceptions, of course.

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