In the words of Frederik Pohl, my job as a science fiction author is, “to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.”
I’m sure we all have mixed feelings about the future of robotics and artificial intelligence. I certainly do and it’s such a broad subject that it’s no surprise emerging technologies and science generates big questions. What human activity we value and what it means to be human might not be new questions, but this could be the moment to assess them again.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending even more time than usual thinking and reading about robots and artificial intelligence. I’ve outlined some brief thoughts below, but there’s way too much to put into a short blog post like this and others have written whole books about it, not least Max Tegmark in his book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Continue reading
It’s been a very busy few months, you just need to look at my events page to see what I mean. Guess what? Every time I’ve set aside some time to sit down and write a few words about my experiences something else crops up and the chance slip by.
Although it’s a bit late, here’s a very short reflection on my ongoing collaboration with King’s College London and the Human Brain Project. It’s called ‘Transforming Future Science through Science Fiction.’ Continue reading
“What do machine learning, deep machine learning and artificial intelligence have in common?”
“We believe them more than we believe our fellow humans.”
Is that true?
When a doctor makes a diagnosis do we simply take it for granted they’ve got it right? Probably not. At the very least we’ll search all of our available sources of knowledge. That might mean asking our friends or friends of friends with similar experience or using Google to show us what it believes are the top relevant articles, which of course aren’t necessarily the wisest.
There’s a very high probability that we’ll gather information from a variety of sources and decide what to believe and what to discard. That is until we use the magic of machine learning where it all happens inside the algorithmic ‘black box’ and we simply have to believe.
This article in the New York Times suggests that humans are black boxes too; we don’t really understand how decisions are being made. This seems like a reasonable argument, but maybe what it tells us is that we shouldn’t trust algorithms any more than we should trust humans – ultimately we should decide for ourselves who and what to believe.
Or, does that simply lead to not trusting the experts?
A conundrum for sure, but not a new one.
photo credit: jaci XIII Psyche via photopin (license)