Artificial Intelligence

#42
There is big money behind driverless cars. That means if they can't get the software to work right, they will paint them bright pink and put on flashing lights and sirens and put the burden on humans to stay out of their way making "interference" with a driverless vehicle a crime.
Actually, I am looking forward to driverless taxis.

That will fly.

To the moon.

And other planets.

And to other stars and galaxies.

And forward and backward in time.

Through the multiverses.

And beyond.
 
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#44
Does anyone use any of the voice activated assistants like Alexa, or Siri?

I am just trying some of them now.

I have been reading a series of science fiction novels where they have AI's in their heads and that got me thinking about a video I saw where a scientist is trying to make an AI that can keep senior citizens company, playing music or telling jokes etc. So when I was folding my laundry today I thought it would be nice to be able to speak and say "play music" and have something played.

I first tried Alexa but I didn't like her because she was always asking me to spend money. It was too obvious that she exists solely to make money for Amazon and not to help me with orbital mechanics or to survive an alien invasion.

But google assistant seems to work well. The voice recognition seems to be good. It recognized the stock symbol for a mutual fund and gave the current price. I asked for a reminder at 10:30 and it set one. When asked for a joke it said, "Why did the school kids eat their homework? Because the teacher told them it was a piece of cake." It seems to know about some of the android apps. I asked it to set a timer and it used the android clock app. The escape velocity from mars is 18,000 kph.

It changes the way you think. For example I remember when people starting using web browsers you had to remember not to use the yellow pages. This voice interface seems to be sort of like that. I need smart switches so it can turn on lights and window fans etc.

I'm not sure how much I'll use this but it is interesting to try it out.

When the aliens invade they'd better co-opt google first.
 
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#45
Does anyone use any of the voice activated assistants like Alexa, or Siri?

I am just trying some of them now.

I have been reading a series of science fiction novels where they have AI's in their heads and that got me thinking about a video I saw where a scientist is trying to make an AI that can keep senior citizens company, playing music or telling jokes etc. So when I was folding my laundry today I thought it would be nice to be able to speak and say "play music" and have something played.

I first tried Alexa but I didn't like her because she was always asking me to spend money. It was too obvious that she exists solely to make money for Amazon and not to help me with orbital mechanics or to survive an alien invasion.

But google assistant seems to work well. The voice recognition seems to be good. It recognized the stock symbol for a mutual fund and gave the current price. I asked for a reminder at 10:30 and it set one. When asked for a joke it said, "Why did the school kids eat their homework? Because the teacher told them it was a piece of cake." It seems to know about some of the android apps. I asked it to set a timer and it used the android clock app. The escape velocity from mars is 18,000 kph.

It changes the way you think. For example I remember when people starting using web browsers you had to remember not to use the yellow pages. This voice interface seems to be sort of like that. I need smart switches so it can turn on lights and window fans etc.

I'm not sure how much I'll use this but it is interesting to try it out.

When the aliens invade they'd better co-opt google first.
I didn't mention that I tried the above on my cell phone. Voice input is much easier than typing on a cell phone so to use a search engine on a phone it is a lot easier to use a virtual assistant than to type. But windows also has voice input so I am trying that on my desktop computer for any type of inpu.

I spoke the following:
"I didn't mention that I tried the above on my cell phone Voice input is much easier than typing on a cell phone Search to use a search engine on a phone it is a lot easier to use a virtual assistant than to type Put windows Also has voice input so I'm trying that on my desktop computer for any type of input "

Hmmm.

Oh, cell phone apps have voice input too, I have to start paying attention to that mic icon ...

And there are privacy issuses too since google / microsoft / whoever does the voice recognition saves everything you say.
 
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#46
This person works in robotics and is afraid of AI.
Because it is used widely and people trust it, but it is not perfect yet no one suspects it can be wrong.

AI mistook a siberian husky in a photograph for a wolf, not because of its physical feature, but because there was snow in the same picture. There was a bias in the photographs used to train the AI and the scientists didn't notice.
AI is used for prison sentencing, to decide whether you can get a mortgage, a job interview, medicaid, and is driving cars and trucks on the highway.
Psychology experiments show that people will do what an authority figure tells them including harming another person.

 
#47
This person works in robotics and is afraid of AI.
Because it is used widely and people trust it, but it is not perfect yet no one suspects it can be wrong.

AI mistook a siberian husky in a photograph for a wolf, not because of its physical feature, but because there was snow in the same picture. There was a bias in the photographs used to train the AI and the scientists didn't notice.
I read a story about an earlier version of autonomous car that ran had trained on following lines on road without sufficient attention to other rules that it ran into a wall.

A growing problem with machine learning is the details of the machine generated algorithm are not easy to follow to determine what the true logic the program is following. There was some interest in legislating transparency, but this did not succeed.

Garbage in Garbage out remains true of software development. If the data used for training is biased, the algorithms will incorporate that bias.
 
#49
#52

I enjoyed watching this. It seemed to be saying that the AI's could change their algorithm beyond what the original programmer could follow(!)
But Alice (Hello!) the vid makes a bunch of assumptions that are not founded in anything sensible. Its fun, but that's it - more art than anything else. I have seen lots of horror scenarios about folk in cafes all playing with their 'smart' phones and not talking. it could be that they are just bored by the people they are with - and they with them - but they all know they need somebody to be with. So why not be with people who share your boredom with them in a pleasant and unobtrusive manner?

I have watched dating shows and thought how dull the contestants were. Years ago, when you were bored with company you had to make polite and excruciating 'small talk'. Now you don't. Now you don't. Everybody can play Candy Crush (am I dating myself?) or have a bitch on FB about the boring company. Nothing has changed. Misery is just now tech mediated - and nobody has to pretend.

My 'phone' is with me all the time. Its not just my phone. Its my notebook, diary, dictionary, camera, search engine, email provider, address book, train timetable etc etc etc.

I am going to sound appallingly arrogant here. The 'smart phone' is a staggering piece of technology that, outside of making phone calls, sending texts, or taking selfies is predominantly used play games or update on social media is a means of connecting with the deepest wisdom, the greatest ideas and the finest music humanity has produced. That's 24/7/365.

I do not think that people are inherently dull or boring. But that they make themselves so through dulled imaginations and subjugation to the idiocy of popular culture. That's a personal act of abdication. Let's not blame technology for it. We may imagine that in the absence of the smart phone these folk would engage in sparkling conversation, but no. They'd be talking crap, bitching and gossiping more likely.

The GIGO rule applies here, as North observed. You put in a garbage attitude and you will get out garbage content. What drove the spread of the early VCRs was porn and sport. The early telephone probably spread quickly because it met basic needs rather than an enabler of lofty conversations over distance. If we had a close look we might find that tech spreads and grows because it meets basic needs, and only later loftier uses are engaged. An exception may be the printing press because monks didn't labour for years creating illuminated porn volumes. Unlike the VCR the first books were probably noble in intent and content.

I think we misunderstand tech these days. It grows up dirty because the marketplace is mostly vulgar. So we see vulgar uses more than we see noble ones. We see boring and bored people comfortably enjoying the company of peers and we criticise them for openly doing what we often privately want to do.

When I was commuting regularly I saw people getting on the train and settling down to an almost desperate need to get lost in some game. I was listening to an audiobook. But they were grabbing that brief interlude to escape from god knows what kind of existential crap. Their 'smart phone' was their salvation for that short commute. Maybe it was what kept them hanging in as a parent or partner or employee? And when they needed it it also connected them to real people.
 
#53
The 'smart phone' is a staggering piece of technology that, outside of making phone calls, sending texts, or taking selfies is predominantly used play games or update on social media is a means of connecting with the deepest wisdom, the greatest ideas and the finest music humanity has produced. That's 24/7/365.
I don’t know how often people stop to fully think just how revolutionary the smart phone is. It’s one of (easily) the biggest (THE biggest?) turning points in human history. It’s hard to imagine just 15-20 years ago that a friendly debate outside somewhere could not be resolved by a simple quick internet search. And before the internet entirely you’d have to call a friend if you couldn’t determine the answer to something that you were burning in curiousity about and just HAD to figure out. If I were to replay my life over up until now with no smartphone at any point, I would know much much less in general. Lots of useless knowledge, maybe (if there’s such a thing), but lots of great info too. Also, the ability to connect with other people of similar interests is so revolutionary that I don’t know that we’ve ever seen anything like it. I do think the smartphone is the greatest leap in functional technology that mankind has ever experienced.
 
#54
But Alice (Hello!) the vid makes a bunch of assumptions that are not founded in anything sensible. Its fun, but that's it - more art than anything else. I have seen lots of horror scenarios about folk in cafes all playing with their 'smart' phones and not talking. it could be that they are just bored by the people they are with - and they with them - but they all know they need somebody to be with. So why not be with people who share your boredom with them in a pleasant and unobtrusive manner?

I have watched dating shows and thought how dull the contestants were. Years ago, when you were bored with company you had to make polite and excruciating 'small talk'. Now you don't. Now you don't. Everybody can play Candy Crush (am I dating myself?) or have a bitch on FB about the boring company. Nothing has changed. Misery is just now tech mediated - and nobody has to pretend.

My 'phone' is with me all the time. Its not just my phone. Its my notebook, diary, dictionary, camera, search engine, email provider, address book, train timetable etc etc etc.

I am going to sound appallingly arrogant here. The 'smart phone' is a staggering piece of technology that, outside of making phone calls, sending texts, or taking selfies is predominantly used play games or update on social media is a means of connecting with the deepest wisdom, the greatest ideas and the finest music humanity has produced. That's 24/7/365.

I do not think that people are inherently dull or boring. But that they make themselves so through dulled imaginations and subjugation to the idiocy of popular culture. That's a personal act of abdication. Let's not blame technology for it. We may imagine that in the absence of the smart phone these folk would engage in sparkling conversation, but no. They'd be talking crap, bitching and gossiping more likely.

The GIGO rule applies here, as North observed. You put in a garbage attitude and you will get out garbage content. What drove the spread of the early VCRs was porn and sport. The early telephone probably spread quickly because it met basic needs rather than an enabler of lofty conversations over distance. If we had a close look we might find that tech spreads and grows because it meets basic needs, and only later loftier uses are engaged. An exception may be the printing press because monks didn't labour for years creating illuminated porn volumes. Unlike the VCR the first books were probably noble in intent and content.

I think we misunderstand tech these days. It grows up dirty because the marketplace is mostly vulgar. So we see vulgar uses more than we see noble ones. We see boring and bored people comfortably enjoying the company of peers and we criticise them for openly doing what we often privately want to do.

When I was commuting regularly I saw people getting on the train and settling down to an almost desperate need to get lost in some game. I was listening to an audiobook. But they were grabbing that brief interlude to escape from god knows what kind of existential crap. Their 'smart phone' was their salvation for that short commute. Maybe it was what kept them hanging in as a parent or partner or employee? And when they needed it it also connected them to real people.
Hello Michael

I don't object to smartphones, I have one too. They are incredible, and I am old enough to know life before even answer phones and colour tv were invented. Which is just to say, I appreciate how far technology has come.

Perhaps this video is too lightweight for Skeptiko and certainly not very 'noble'. I said I "enjoyed" watching it, not that I found it profoundly informative. Personally I don't object to the 'arty' format, like much info-tainment on the internet, it provides visually attractive, bite-sized pieces of information which seems to have been sufficiently validated to justify a rather generalised argument.

I don't know how far you got before jumping to "I object!" but I should have said it is not until 12 minutes that AI is discussed. I found that it coincided with the Tedx talk above, the point there being that it is not the object, but how the object is used that should be of concern. And I feel sure that we (being as usual) the passive consumers, will have very little say in that.
 
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#55
Hello Michael

I don't object to smartphones, I have one too. They are incredible, and I am old enough to know life before even answer phones and colour tv were invented. Which is just to say, I appreciate how far technology has come.

Perhaps this video is too lightweight for Skeptiko and certainly not very 'noble'. I said I "enjoyed" watching it, not that I found it profoundly informative. Personally I don't object to the 'arty' format, like much info-tainment on the internet, it provides visually attractive, bite-sized pieces of information which seems to have been sufficiently validated to justify a rather generalised argument.

I don't know how far you got before jumping to "I object!" but I should have said it is not until 12 minutes that AI is discussed. I found that it coincided with the Tedx talk above, the point there being that it is not the object, but how the object is used that should be of concern. And I feel sure that we (being as usual) the passive consumers, will have very little say in that.
Hey Alice

I didn't really get to objecting about the content. I responded to what seemed to me to be a preordained set of assumptions to draw a distinction between comment as 'art' and comment as 'critical thought'. I thought the video was more art and wanted to say so, not so much to you, as to others who might read these posts.

The video is political art and it has a strong message. But, as art it is also not a documentary that offers a balanced POV - just an alarmist one. As a piece of political art I enjoyed it, and it raised issues/questions that are vitally important that we contemplate and respond to. It is a call to action that merits responding to.

The concern about AI is appropriate, but, if the video was more than political art, it would have gone deeper into that theme.

Every development in tech has the extremes of good/bad - and the consequences of both flow into our cultures to benefit and harm. We don't have control over that now - even though tech itself is not likely to go feral on us. But AI ups the ante considerably. It can, according to those who say they know, potentially go feral. But we are having this conversation before we become networked. That's a good thing.

My concern is that we also need a positive take on tech and AI so that we can have a judicious conversation about what a balanced approach is. At present all I am seeing is gung ho or fear inducing.

I think the video is well suited to Skeptiko, because it demands a critical response on important concerns. If it triggers critical reflection it serves a good purpose. If it reinforces a presumptive adverse POV it does not.
 
#56
Hey Alice

I didn't really get to objecting about the content. I responded to what seemed to me to be a preordained set of assumptions to draw a distinction between comment as 'art' and comment as 'critical thought'. I thought the video was more art and wanted to say so, not so much to you, as to others who might read these posts.

The video is political art and it has a strong message. But, as art it is also not a documentary that offers a balanced POV - just an alarmist one. As a piece of political art I enjoyed it, and it raised issues/questions that are vitally important that we contemplate and respond to. It is a call to action that merits responding to.

The concern about AI is appropriate, but, if the video was more than political art, it would have gone deeper into that theme.

Every development in tech has the extremes of good/bad - and the consequences of both flow into our cultures to benefit and harm. We don't have control over that now - even though tech itself is not likely to go feral on us. But AI ups the ante considerably. It can, according to those who say they know, potentially go feral. But we are having this conversation before we become networked. That's a good thing.

My concern is that we also need a positive take on tech and AI so that we can have a judicious conversation about what a balanced approach is. At present all I am seeing is gung ho or fear inducing.

I think the video is well suited to Skeptiko, because it demands a critical response on important concerns. If it triggers critical reflection it serves a good purpose. If it reinforces a presumptive adverse POV it does not.
Yes, it is an interesting issue, the path of thought.

The two videos were not actually connected for me, except by coincidence(...) and I did resist it initially as was alarmist-sounding but who knows whether the predictive program in my search had not put up more videos to tempt me along those lines?

I did go on to use it as a jumping point, leading me to look at what (other people thought) the future in AI might be, what are Huawei's plans, even what CNN thinks are China's plans. (There are plenty of convos going on about the pros and cons, just not necessarily in the same video) So the algorithm is already at work, dovetailing nicely so that it is unclear whether it is me directing the path of my progressive thinking, or an AI. My autonomy is questionable, and then there's laziness and quiescence in the face of overwhelming excess of options. Not to mention the options I'm not being offered, and there we're into conspiracy-land. I had an activist friend in UK who's phone would start clicking if the words greenham, common or women were used; things are far more subtle now. But see where this path of thought has got me? How much is really under my direction or being biased by my own unconscious thought? How much led by an AI program?

And I forget that others might be reading this, or how very public the internet is. How paradoxical, given the apparent intimacy of one human and one screen. I'm unsure what paths and patterns are behind Skeptiko's forums. It often seems to me that people already have their algorithms in place and leap on comments that may be a little at odds with their own, merely for the purpose of taking a platform to triumphantly pronounce or defend a prescribed set of assumptions. And of course, there are conditional provisos in place such as established status, gender-preference, prejudice etc that influence perception. Are we truly free of these biases, and how can we expect AI to be free, just because say, emotion has been taken out of the equation? We recipient/participants of course can provide plenty of emotion. And not forgetting that there is/was a human behind the program, at least at first.
Alarmist maybe, but 1) Humans are both corruptible and aspirational and 2) the process has its own predictable/unpredictable path to follow

For me Art is an opportunity to explore these issues with the added bonus of visual drama, but that does not mean it is solely alarmist, only a bit simplistic. It is/we are/should be also open to let it lead us further into critical thought and comment. It is ideally not an end, more a beginning.
 
#57
For me Art is an opportunity to explore these issues with the added bonus of visual drama, but that does not mean it is solely alarmist, only a bit simplistic. It is/we are/should be also open to let it lead us further into critical thought and comment. It is ideally not an end, more a beginning
I loved your whole reply, but selected only the last bit to frame a comment. I am reading Jeffrey Kripal's 'Changed In a Flash' (he is lead co-author). I will send you pages that are pertinent. Kripal precisely makes then point that so much of this is art, rather than science, because its not stuff science can handle - and hates to admit this. In fact the stuff it can't handle is denigrated in an effort to invalidate it.

The presumption that only alarm is a valid response is a political one. It may be right ultimately (but I doubt it). But we need to explore the alternative interpretations.This is far more art than science. Indeed it is actually impossible for any actual 'science' to deliver any interpretation of any value to a community. This is because science is not about interpretation. It is about data. Not so long ago what we call science was called 'Natural Philosophy'. That mentality integrated emergent knowledge with deeper wisdom embodied by religion. Sadly, in Western history, Christianity buggered that up completely by introducing theology/propaganda as the foundation of compliance and faith. That made us stupid as a culture. We have not yet recovered.
 
#58
The presumption that only alarm is a valid response is a political one. It may be right ultimately (but I doubt it). But we need to explore the alternative interpretations.This is far more art than science. Indeed it is actually impossible for any actual 'science' to deliver any interpretation of any value to a community. This is because science is not about interpretation. It is about data. Not so long ago what we call science was called 'Natural Philosophy'. That mentality integrated emergent knowledge with deeper wisdom embodied by religion. Sadly, in Western history, Christianity buggered that up completely by introducing theology/propaganda as the foundation of compliance and faith. That made us stupid as a culture. We have not yet recovered.
Not entirely sure what you mean by this, Michael, but the bolded part might equally be taken by some as opinionated propaganda. Convince me otherwise -- provide the evidence.
 
#59
Thanks Michael
Indeed it is actually impossible for any actual 'science' to deliver any interpretation of any value to a community. This is because science is not about interpretation. It is about data.
Oliver Sacks said that "Science fails us" though he was talking about dealing with grief and trauma, and that we must turn to poetry and music. But I think we can expand his comment in multiple directions. Science fails us when we need to talk and deal with issues it has no capacity to comprehend. And yet it claims the authority to hold sway or dismiss so many areas of necessary self-reflection and understanding we humans must attend to if we are ever going to grow up and mature.

I would like to add that we might also turn to Art, but that it often tends to rely on alarm and shock value for attention and the quick (cheap?) emotional response. And, like when humans get a habit to fight they must keep thinking of greater and more destructive acts to increase impact value, it becomes the motive and not a means to resolve.

That made us stupid as a culture. We have not yet recovered.
Agree. Art has become shallow. Politics is corrupt. Religion is dull. We are prone to compliance, led by a lolly-trail. And the Internet is the new Politicised-Art.

It is the absence of Philosophy, Ethics and Moral Principles in modern culture, which I think could/should be taught in schools through robust debate and visual language that is my concern, because Instagram is filling the gap.

What is the motive behind installing AI in smartphones? Is it to make a more desirable product to compete for sales, or mindless feel-good distractions while 'Rome burns'? Or could it be used to en-courage independent thought, compassion, respect and responsibility for the well-being of others, the planet and ourselves? Sure it has the potential for all this, and there is some evidence, but it is an unequal ratio as yet.
 
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