Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Ranvier » August 10th, 2017, 11:46 am

Indeed, we tend to think of AI as a "tool" that helps us achieve more efficiently a desired outcome. A calculator is a logical step for the economist from performing his craft more efficiently than on paper. Similarly with computers that opened a new realm of possibilities not only to perform work but other creative tasks. However, at which point should we realize that AI is no longer just a tool but actually eliminates the "economist" from the equation. Moreover, at which point should we become concerned that it would take us years if ever to "confirm" on paper the numbers that appear on the "calculator". We begin to create an artificial reality that we can no longer confirm with our minds but use one AI to translate the computational results of another AI. Is there a plan or are we just marching to a logical outcome of our existence? Where are we going as species in our desire for a better world?

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by -1- » August 19th, 2017, 12:50 pm

The pros are that people need not worry, eventually farther down the road, about solving second-degree differential equations, or how to build a better dam, or where to find the best mate to get along with and spend a lifetime of joy together.

The cons, however, are that people need not worry, eventually farther down the road, about solving second-degree differential equations, or how to build a better dam, or where to find the best mate to get along with and spend a lifetime of joy together.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Greta » August 19th, 2017, 8:11 pm

-1- wrote:The pros are that people need not worry, eventually farther down the road, about solving second-degree differential equations, or how to build a better dam, or where to find the best mate to get along with and spend a lifetime of joy together.

The cons, however, are that people need not worry, eventually farther down the road, about solving second-degree differential equations, or how to build a better dam, or where to find the best mate to get along with and spend a lifetime of joy together.
Then again, how many of us can hunt and gather our food, find and distil fresh water, build a shelter, make our own clothes, bags and tools etc? Or, how many of us can repair a modern car, fix a modern PC or TV, wire our electricity, program a piece of software, etc?

What we are, and will become more so, is dependent. We are as dependent on the efforts, knowledge, skills, cretivity and goodwill of other people, and the structures that they create as each of our cells depend on being part of our bodies.

Some years ago I had a moment of realisation about this, one that completely eliminated my misanthropy and overly idealistic green leanings. I was on holidays on a tropical island at the Great Barrier Reef (before it was largely destroyed). I stood on the beach, looking out at the sunset. However, some of the resort buildings and other relative eyesores were in my field of vision and I thought it a shame that humans and all their crap despoiled "perfect nature".

Then it struck me: if not for the human stuff I was rejecting I would be stuffed, dead. I'd be left with a beautiful sunset consisting of a gigantic lethal ball of hot gas 150m kms away, a thin and cold upper atmosphere with wet clouds, along with a cold and dangerous ocean filled with organisms that might enjoy picking off my bones if I drowned. The palm trees, while beautiful, have their bounty far out of my reach. I'd be a goner if just left with nature, which like some masterpieces, are most beautiful at a safe distance but, unlike said masterpieces, will kill you if you get too close.

At that point I also realised what an ungrateful sod I'd been. All these generations of dedicated, hardworking, often ingenious ancestors working to create a safer world for their descendants like me, and for what? So some useless and naive bodies in the 21st century can judge them with the phoney advantage of hindsight?

Yet with AI, it's not just about nature and sustainability, but increasingly the issue concerns equality. Like any empowering technology, the best stuff will be in the hands of the few, thus adding to the wealth and empowerment gaps. It's expected that there will be increasing melding between people and machines (I even wrote a little rap ditty about it :) https://soundcloud.com/greta-courtney/cyborg-music), with implants and nanotechnology adding a whole new dimension to personal empowerment and healthcare.

This is amazing and exciting on one level but, two days ago my local area experienced gale force winds and my electricity went down for four hours. This was inconvenient - no PC, no TV, no music, no heating, no cooking, no washing machine, no fridge. With increased dependence on electricity a power outage could have far worse consequences than mere inconvenience. Power stability concerns along with warfare targeting power plants (and counter measures) appear to be in our future.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Ranvier » August 20th, 2017, 12:17 am

Well said Greta, I always enjoy the way you express your thoughts. Especially when you described the moment of realization of the wealth of knowledge from all the generations of ancestors that contributed to our existential security in protection from the elements of nature. Perhaps we would have evolved differently if other choices were made or perhaps we would not be here today enjoying availability of so many thoughts through such medium. There are undeniable benefits of our technology in providing improvement to our quality of life, as well as the necessity in continuing to traverse the path of human experience with the current aim to achieve even greater technological empowerment to support the growth of human population. However, one should have a similar realization that our unprecedented technological development far outperforms collective human intellect or maturity. People often say that guns don't kill people but people choose to pull the trigger... Are we ready to offer yet another "tool" to those responsible for making such choices? I ask again, do we know where we are going as species?

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by -1- » August 20th, 2017, 12:33 am

Well, Greta and Ranvier: yes, it is completely conceivable that some powerful person or conglomeration of persons will hold exclusive command of AI machines, and make everyone else go through suffering (extreme pain, if they want to). There is no use whining about it and saying "what if". It is not a "what if". It is a real and completely valid threat to the rest of humanity. And there is nothing you can do against it, if the power holders play their cards right.

You are (and that includes me),... we are at the mercy of those who in the future will take exclusive command of AI.

I agree with you, and you agree with each other. Anyone will agree. We need some voices now who will put in a word or an argument in the vein and with reasonable support, that we (Ranvier, Greta, I) are wrong.

-- Updated 2017 August 20th, 12:44 am to add the following --

I am a bit disappointed (just a tiny bit) that nobody picked up on the ESSENCE of my post which is post number #17 in this thread. I need to elaborate.

I fear that it is not only the evil powerful holders of AI that can make life miserable for humans after the production and delivery of goods are made by machines exclusively.

I fear that even with good will, humans will bastardize their own good fortune on earth.

And it won't be an unnatural bastardization.

We will do evil things to each other, uninstigated by the powerful holders of AI. We will do that out of boredom, and out of necessity to have the illusion of self-governance and purpose.

I wrote and published the following OP-ED in my locality's paper. I wrote it in the hope of preempting this scenario.

i quote my article, but I can also include a link if it is necessary:

What ought to be the future and perhaps the present of education
Op/Ed piece submitted by X Y, retired banker and freelance writer

Like so many other Canadians, I watch a new kind of economy take shape. The redistribution of work and the lessened need for human employment has begun. Some people work overtime and almost unlimited hours, while there are more and more unemployed, underemployed and hardly employed.

The economic reality is not what I wish to talk about. Instead, I wish to talk about the alleviation of anxiety and idle despair in the new paradigm of an overpopulated world with challenges of needing to make life meaningful for a lot of people out of work.

I think this is the task of education. In the past and recent past we placed a lot of emphasis on sciences, math, and logic. We had to; our economy, the Canadian economy, needed skilled workers who had advanced knowledge of the physical sciences. Technicians, healthcare workers, skilled labour, and people in the professions all need a minimum amount of technical and math knowledge at their jobs, and this "minimum" is quite high and challenging.

But the work force is over saturated. Also consider, please, that there are so many people in the world, that there are outstanding talents born every minute. We don't need to educate the masses to improve them to become leading scientists and inventive, capable workers. No, we have enough natural talent growing up who are suitable to perform the few jobs needed to be filled in the future, without the need of external training of the masses to ready them for the necessary tasks.

I believe the present and the future of educating our young should focus on an appreciation of life, of community, of artistic creativity. We must go with the times, and realize that many of our children will need to find enjoyment in life which had been traditionally supplied by work. Now the young must be steered toward a holistic, natural, and seamlessly integrated enjoyment of life. It should embrace the physical as well as the intellectual pursuits to create a spiritual and emotional balance.

How can we achieve that? I believe we could abandon the heavy emphasis on sciences in our education system up to the post-secondary level. Art and music appreciation; reading; track and field, team sports, and modern sports such as skate boarding, dirt jumping, and ultimate (fads are good); computer usage for entertainment; writing; creative expressions; philosophy; debating and public speaking; environmental conscience; understanding animals and understanding humans on deeper levels must be the focus of a new era of education, which prepares people to live life to the fullest, without depleting the natural treasures of the world, and without worrying to train for the fierce competition for jobs and status. Most importantly, education must enrich people with values and challenges which replace the satisfaction of seeing one's hard work bring one's dreams to fruition.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Ranvier » August 20th, 2017, 2:20 am

-1-
I agree with most of what you said. Although, I would not diminish the importance of science, which is essential to the development of pragmatic mind based on logic and the skill of observation. The purpose of my agenda and the reason I feel compelled to participate on such canvas of philosophy forum is to convince myself that there are others with similar sense of growing urgency to begin asking serious questions in light of significant changes to "everyday life" on a global scale. This is partially due to an increased awareness of the global population of matters that were previously beyond remote concern but now are bridged by the advancements in the global telecommunication. The events of 9/11 of 2001 marked the beginning of the 21st century, where from that point on all of our lives had changed and it's up to us to determine if these changes will be for the benefit in enlightenment or the spiral towards self destruction within this century. There are no good solutions to the current emerging problems and it's not enough to convince oneself that thoughts of any individual are insignificant in context of the magnitude of such problems. Everything within the Universe is interconnected and every thought has an influence on the outcome in reality. We must take a conscious control of our thoughts and actions in responsibility for our destiny as species, as oppose to kum-bah-yah polemics of intellectual instant gratification to let us live a happy life in oblivious ignorance. How is that for shaking the proverbial tree...?

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Greta » August 20th, 2017, 3:25 am

I'm looking at each of your posts and thinking that the commonalities can be encapsulated in the lyrics of Gil Scott Heron's Delta Man:
This is a song about change, you see
We say many things about the changing aspects of our lives
We say that since change is inevitable, we should direct the change
Rather than simply continue to go through the change.
- 1- seeks an emphasis on arts and leisure, while Ranvier hopes for changes in the way we think.

In the 1970s we were promised a utopian age of leisure by capitalists laying workers off in favour of robots. People accepted the losses on the promise, which of course was not honoured. So -1-, I'm a bit scarred and thus wary of that idea, perhaps unfairly. Still, it may be that the extra free time will be spent finding opportunistic and creative ways of surviving without enough money.

Ranvier, re: a transformation of humanity's mind (thanks for kind comments earlier BTW), I am not sure that this change will be directed by decision as much as by circumstance. It seems to me that we are constantly chasing our tails, too busy dealing with challenges to stop and redirect. Thus, while there will be movements away from traditional "endless growth" materialist models, the changes will be as unevenly spread through society as wealth.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Ranvier » August 20th, 2017, 1:30 pm

An accurate observation Greta, with a valid conclusion supported by a historical precedence that change is predominantly modulated by the circumstance and not by a conscious decision. The shape of the "rock" will influence my imagination in choice of the sculpture or perhaps as Michelangelo stated that the beauty was always within the rock and all he did was to chip away the debris. The necessity of the circumstance is most of the time the driving force of our actions. However, I do "believe" in hesitation to state that I "know" that we have the power and purpose of using our mind to shape our reality using our intellect, rather than exist as a leaf in the wind of the circumstance. My free "spirit" rejects the notion that my will is nothing but an illusion of preexisting set of variables, confirmed by the evidence of capricious persistence of life itself to survive even in the light of the five extinction level events in the history of our planet. There is a purpose to everything, including the evolution of our human mind and we would do well to use such consciousness.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by -1- » August 20th, 2017, 2:58 pm

Greta wrote: Ranvier, re: a transformation of humanity's mind (thanks for kind comments earlier BTW), I am not sure that this change will be directed by decision as much as by circumstance. It seems to me that we are constantly chasing our tails, too busy dealing with challenges to stop and redirect. Thus, while there will be movements away from traditional "endless growth" materialist models, the changes will be as unevenly spread through society as wealth.
Well, we are dust in the wind, not because we want to be, or because we are helpless, and our actions are immediate reactions, and we want to plan -- but we can't. We can't because we are not smart enough.

In a chess game humans can think ahead, but not too far ahead. The possibilities are staggering beyond the fifth move. We can't handle that.

And that is only a chess game. Sixty-four squares, six types of pieces, sixteen pieces in total. It's a closed system, with all the rules known to man, with sixteen pieces, sixty-four squares, and six types of moves. Yet it boggles our minds.

Therefore, and this is my claim, humans can't with any accuracy, plan a system of large complexity without erring beyond the sixth iteration. Hence, we try to make it better for the AI to work, but we are not capable of predicting the outcome. Our plan is immaterial, because it won't work anyway. The way things will pan out is circumstantial, like Greta said.

This does not deny that we as a kind of beings, have an overall purpose to serve to some other entity. I doubt this is true, but there is no argument against it. Much like there is no argument against the opposite thought, that is, that nothing that happens has a higher purpose to happen for.

-- Updated 2017 August 20th, 3:00 pm to add the following --

Thirty-two pieces in total. I wrote sixteen pieces because you are free to move sixteen of the original pieces.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Ranvier » August 20th, 2017, 5:01 pm

That's a fantastic analogy using chess... I actually thought of using it in a different post. I will compare it to an analogy of "mob" after someone cried "fire" in a confined enclosure... chaos. It doesn't matter how many chess moves one may anticipate, it's all reduced to the lowest common denominator of human perception and fear. Logic must prevail at the lowest level of human development, which is the only rational course of action. I will not entertain the Grand idea of the human purpose, although logic dictates that there is such a purpose within the context of the Universe, but from a pragmatic point of view of the survival of the species to evolve to some point when we can make a "sixth" chess move, we must first get out of this century. The question becomes, how do we proceed to best achieve that goal? AI can be helpful but I would rather indulge in contemplation on improving the human mind.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Greta » August 20th, 2017, 10:21 pm

In summary, "the best laid plans of mice and men ..." :)

Ranvier, I'd agree that you either have free will or something that's enough like it to render the question moot. However, the societies we create are not as free, which compete so vigorously with each other that there is never a chance to take stock. Even if they did take stock and embrace wisdom, history shows that the societies that survive tend not to be the most moral or wise but the most efficient and effective in what they do.

In this domain, which is as single-mindedly focused on growth and survival as a community of microbes, it appears that might and luck are major determinants of success (there, Ranvier, lies the LCD you alluded to above). While the free denizens of societies push with all their might to "steer the ship" many are pushing in the opposite direction, hence the governmental stalemates and resultant inaction. This works well in times of plenty because the costs of inaction are not great.

I see human purpose the same way as I see dinosaur or trilobite purpose - each a link in the chain to something ever more sentient. I just wonder whether there is a limit to possible sentience, given the seeming impossibility of knowing everything in the universe (or even the Earth, solar system or galaxy for that matter). Maybe the limits are physical? Eg. a computer enough to calculate everything in the universe would be impossibly large - its centre would have collapsed into nuclear fission long before it was big enough.

As -1- noted, in chess there is a limit to the number of moves one can make, perhaps achievable by future AI based on quantum computing, but the universe has so many possibilities it's hard to imagine a sentience that existed with a handle on all of it. The human mind is far more limited than machines, and machines have far more limits than the human mind, but a strategic combination of the two would be especially potent and points to the future.

Is there sense in being hugely out-competed due to a traditionalist insistence on not using tools that are available to others? What might have happened to a tribe whose members refused to upgrade to bows and arrows because their father and forefathers had always used spears and prided themselves in their throwing skills? Pragmatism vs what we love is the bind, the same decision as the one that has so many of us trudging off to work each day rather than doing what we love.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Ranvier » August 21st, 2017, 12:12 am

I wish that I was born with a gene that would allow my mind to convert thoughts in a beautiful and efficient prose of words. We all have consciousness capable to flirt with concepts that are outside of the materialistic reality, which can be seen in some of the more insightful posts in this philosophy forum. We are capable of tuning into more than micro expressions of someone's face to tell a lie. Some people are more "sensitive" than others but most humans have such capacity to perceive patterns that aren't easily evident with empirical evidence. I examine the "body" to understand the function of every cell to conclude that humans may act like bacteria in mindless purpose of growth but we are capable to mature to a higher achievement.

I have no fear for an outcome in "purpose" of the Universe because it already exists, even if human existence proves reluctant to contribute or even survive in the grand scheme of the Universe. Our consciousness is our own but also it's part of the Universe, we just have evolved enough to become capable to tap into that consciousness in human awareness. We are a stardust that turned into a rock that became alive from its will. That will is also an expression of my thoughts and I just hope that such will would not have to start over somewhere else in the vastness of space. It is important to examine closely the pigment of certain shape to understand a context of the paper on which that pigment becomes a period at the end of the word. We are part of a single page in a book among a library of books, where the purpose of the Universe is to understand the "knowledge" contained within the text. So yes Greta, neither human mind nor AI operated by the power of quantum computing can understand that knowledge but it's a part of the process in trying.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Jan Sand » May 23rd, 2018, 12:49 pm

This item on today's reports on the Slashdot site might be indicative of the potentials of dangerous AI possibilities

The Department of Defense is funding a project that will try to determine whether the increasingly real-looking fake video and audio generated by artificial intelligence might soon be impossible to distinguish from the real thing -- even for another AI system. From a report:
This summer, under a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the world's leading digital forensics experts will gather for an AI fakery contest. They will compete to generate the most convincing AI-generated fake video, imagery, and audio -- and they will also try to develop tools that can catch these counterfeits automatically. The contest will include so-called "deepfakes," videos in which one person's face is stitched onto another person's body.

Rather predictably, the technology has already been used to generate a number of counterfeit celebrity porn videos. But the method could also be used to create a clip of a politician saying or doing something outrageous. DARPA's technologists are especially concerned about a relatively new AI technique that could make AI fakery almost impossible to spot automatically. Using what are known as generative adversarial networks, or GANs, it is possible to generate stunningly realistic artificial imagery.

In his instance, of course, AI is merely complicit with a human operator but as the technology advances it seems reasonable that AI alone could effectively create large problems with society.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by LuckyR » May 23rd, 2018, 3:29 pm

Jan Sand wrote:
May 23rd, 2018, 12:49 pm
This item on today's reports on the Slashdot site might be indicative of the potentials of dangerous AI possibilities

The Department of Defense is funding a project that will try to determine whether the increasingly real-looking fake video and audio generated by artificial intelligence might soon be impossible to distinguish from the real thing -- even for another AI system. From a report:
This summer, under a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the world's leading digital forensics experts will gather for an AI fakery contest. They will compete to generate the most convincing AI-generated fake video, imagery, and audio -- and they will also try to develop tools that can catch these counterfeits automatically. The contest will include so-called "deepfakes," videos in which one person's face is stitched onto another person's body.

Rather predictably, the technology has already been used to generate a number of counterfeit celebrity porn videos. But the method could also be used to create a clip of a politician saying or doing something outrageous. DARPA's technologists are especially concerned about a relatively new AI technique that could make AI fakery almost impossible to spot automatically. Using what are known as generative adversarial networks, or GANs, it is possible to generate stunningly realistic artificial imagery.

In his instance, of course, AI is merely complicit with a human operator but as the technology advances it seems reasonable that AI alone could effectively create large problems with society.
While technically interesting, since the rabble will believe patently inaccurate and fake material out of hand, I don't see the tech actually having a big impact.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Artificial Intelligence- Pros and Cons

Post by Jan Sand » May 23rd, 2018, 4:33 pm

"The rabble" as you so politely put it, may be fed ******** from all quarters with small effect, but communication between those actually in control are equally subject to manipulation by convincing communications.

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