Artificial Vs. Human Intelligence

The rapid advent of AI is scary to many people, promising to others, and a little of both to most.

It is scary partly because it is more unmanageable than the internet and social media, which in a world of ransomware, Russian manipulation and privacy invasions do not inspire a lot of confidence. It is promising in that it may, for example, help inarticulate Uber drivers better and more easily find their riders. And probably some other benefits as yet unimagined.

A first order question is what the real difference is between artificial and human versions of intelligence. One age-old definition of exceptionally good human intelligence is the ability to associate dissociated things/ideas. That, of course, involves pure intuitiveness. It is not yet clear to me whether AI can clear that hurdle.

AI’s self-learning algorithms and limitless memory notwithstanding, it is still basically built on the speed and capacity of computers to almost instantly scan and consider millions of possibilities looking for all relevant matches and possibilities relating to the issue/question at hand. However, if two things have never been associated, [which obviously can happen] presumably a ‘match’ is not there to be found. Hence, exceptional humans may always have an edge over machines. The fate of the rest of us is yet to be determined, presumably by our eventual robot overlords.

In the meantime, there is much to beware. Machines, for example, never forget a face once seen. Therefore, people may have to be more careful in where they go and show their face, because the evidence that they were there at a certain time will be available more or less forever. That might be an advantage in establishing an alibi. But, it also might put them at the scene of a crime. Those are not necessarily off-setting possibilities. Opportunities for abuse by law enforcement or despots abound. Freedom of assembly is a cornerstone of our democracy – one that cannot exist without freedom of movement.

AI therefore might just be on the verge of impinging [even unintentionally] on our basic freedoms?

A recent Secretary of Defense regards this as one of the least visible but biggest problems we face today.


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