Tag Archives: machine learning

Should we dumb down AI?

An article in Wired magazine – Don’t Make AI Artificially Stupid In the Name of Transparancy – suggests solutions to the governance of machine learning. 

For some reason, it reminded me of a story I read some years ago. In 1968 a three year experiment of not changing the clocks from BST resulted in fewer road traffic deaths; data suggested more people were injured in the darker mornings, but fewer people were injured in the lighter afternoons.

Although I can’t validate it, I was told that the reason the scheme was scrapped was because, despite there being fewer deaths overall, the media focussed on the ones that did happen as a result of the experiment.

It seems to me that we have a similar problem with artificial intelligence – we’re in danger of focussing on the errors not the benefits. Desperately trying to understand what went wrong and limiting its potential as a result. What the Wired article attempts to do is find solutions that mean we can make the most of AI rather than dumbing it down so we can understand it, and hence control it.

One of the major challenges for the media will be to give a balanced view, rather than taking the easy route of selling bad news. And, it’s also a challenge for us science fiction writers to portray nuanced futures that have both hints of hope and words of warning.


photo credit: campra Kader Attia, Untitled via photopin (license)

Linux User and Developer

I’ve been itching to go public and tell everyone that Linux User and Developer magazine are publishing a series of my sci-fi shorts on their back page.

They chose Killer Virus? as the first in the series and as you can see from the quick snap I took in W H Smith at London’s Euston Station, it’s on the shelves now.

Strangers too strange to see

During my visit to the Bristol Robotics Lab I heard about the danger of human shaped robots because we naturally attribute them with human qualities they don’t have.

This got me thinking about artificial intelligence that’s embodied in non-human forms but still shows human type behaviour. After all, it’s coded by humans and learns how to behave from humans.

That was part of the inspiration behind The Mythical Moss.

Over the past few months, a film of me reading this story has been in the exhibition, Only Human: Believing the Strangest Things, Loving the Alien. The exhibition recently ended so I can now share the exhibit with you.

I hope you enjoy the story and it doesn’t cause you to spend too much time wondering about what might be lurking in the nooks and crannies of your life.

photo credit: dreaming_of_rivers Intimidation via photopin (license)