Is Human Intelligence an Oxymoron?

This from today’s Guardian.

Prof Stuart Russell says field of artificial intelligence needs to grow up quickly to ensure humans remain in control

“One concern is that a machine would not need to be more intelligent than humans in all things to pose a serious risk. “It’s something that’s unfolding now,” he said. “If you look at social media and the algorithms that choose what people read and watch, they have a huge amount of control over our cognitive input.”

The upshot, he said, is that the algorithms manipulate the user, brainwashing them so that their behaviour becomes more predictable when it comes to what they chose to engage with, boosting click-based revenue.

Have AI researchers become spooked by their own success? “Yeah, I think we are increasingly spooked,” Russell said.

“It reminds me a little bit of what happened in physics where the physicists knew that atomic energy existed, they could measure the masses of different atoms, and they could figure out how much energy could be released if you could do the conversion between different types of atoms,” he said, noting that the experts always stressed the idea was theoretical. “And then it happened and they weren’t ready for it.”

The use of AI in military applications – such as small anti-personnel weapons – is of particular concern, he said. “Those are the ones that are very easily scalable, meaning you could put a million of them in a single truck and you could open the back and off they go and wipe out a whole city,” said Russell.

Russell believes the future for AI lies in developing machines that know the true objective is uncertain, as are our preferences, meaning they must check in with humans – rather like a butler – on any decision. But the idea is complex, not least because different people have different – and sometimes conflicting – preferences, and those preferences are not fixed.

Russell called for measures including a code of conduct for researchers, legislation and treaties to ensure the safety of AI systems in use, and training of researchers to ensure AI is not susceptible to problems such as racial bias. He said EU legislation that would ban impersonation of humans by machines should be adopted around the world.”

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This poses the question is human intelligence actually intelligent, sentient and socially well adjusted to the successful, responsible and peaceful cohabitation of a planet? The obvious answer to this is a big fat no! By and large humans are selfish and indulge in planet wrecking acquisitional materialism. This suggests that humans in self-diagnosing themselves as intelligent are creating a satirical an oxymoronic view of themselves as an evolved species. I am unaware of any other species that can be so petty, vengeful, prone to squabbling and bickering and yet imagines itself to be intelligent. We have a very inflated view of ourselves…It doesn’t need AI to invent concentration camps or firebomb entire cities, we can do that all by ourselves.

Are humans in control? Methinks not…

We are digital junkies who cannot go cold turkey. We are hooked to our ‘phones and devices.

I sat in the waiting room at the dentist the other day. There was me and another older geezer with an oxygen tank. We just sat there, relaxed and at ease. Soon two younger beings came in and took up some chairs. Before they had even finished sitting out came their ‘phones. The older geezer turned to me, and we exchanged a look. They were oblivious. They were tense and anxious and could not relax…

What do you think?

Is Human Intelligence an Oxymoron?