Monday, April 18, 2011

Gopnik on machine intelligence

Adam Gopnik on machine intelligence, including a review of Brian Christian's book on the Turing Test, previously discussed here.

New Yorker: ... We have been outsourcing our intelligence, and our humanity, to machines for centuries. They have long been faster, bigger, tougher, more deadly. Now they are quicker at calculation and infinitely more adept at memory than we have ever been. And so now we decide that memory and calculation are not really part of mind. It's not just that we move the goalposts; we mock the machines' touchdowns as they spike the ball. We place the communicative element of language above the propositional and argumentative element, not because it matters more but because it’s all that’s left to us. ... Doubtless, even as the bots strap us down to the pods and insert the tubes in our backs, we'll still be chuckling, condescendingly, "They look like they're thinking, sure, very impressive -- but they don't have the affect, the style, you know, the vibe of real intelligence ..." What do we really mean by "smart"? The ability to continually diminish the area of what we mean by it.


Max B said...

Meanwhile this baby goes along very smoothly so far. Thankfully progress goes faster than people realize otherwise they would be scared :)

Seth said...

Hmmm, "unmanned carrier aviation". The Tail Hook guys must wince when they read that. Not a flattering reflection on their brain-power either.

BobSykes said...

Hubert Dreyfus' book "What Computers STILL Can't Do" (MIT, 1994) is still relevant.

The Turing Test is probably irrelevant to the issue of artificial intelligence.

steve hsu said...

An extended Turing Test, conducted over, say, a week or month, is relevant because the tester could easily evaluate the *learning ability* of the counterpart.

David Backus said...

Louis Menand had an interesting piece a while ago about the rise of standardized tests for college admissions, the success of (notably) Jews in taking such tests, and their subsequent devaluation as an admissions criterion. Might be worth comparing the two cases. I'll try to track it down.

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