Can Alexa think? Can Google predict what I will want to buy? Can machines think? These are all very big questions. because if the answer is yes, then are humans in jeopardy of becoming redundant. Is AI challenging the prime issue of human reason?
In the 1950’s it was standard belief that if a machine could produce results equal to humans, then it could be called intelligent. However, despite these limited results it was understood, even then, that results of machine processing would always be without sentience, emotion or sympathetic awareness of external issues which are influenced by, but not part of the problem or issue to be solved.
AI can now exceed the old measure of Intelligence, for example, computer programs can now extrapolate complex relationships and patterns to the extent that far exceed human capability. A language model has been developed that trains itself by consuming freely available texts and extrapolating new sentences and paragraphs by detecting patterns in sequential elements. AI is now able to facilitate the production and composition of new texts that meet our definition of human intelligence.
In a book that I am writing I imagined a politician in a major political event leading to an election flooding social media with generative artificial intelligence phrases that then floods the social media with extrapolated ideas. The antithesis of democracy, at least to my mind.
Political polarisation is already a major issue exacerbated by false news, further degradation of truth by the extrapolation of the extreme views and the amplification by media algorithms that encourage clicks by serving users’ increasing extreme views.
The above are bad consequences of AI, but there are many excellent consequences as well, including the development of everything from self-driving vehicles to the development of new antibiotics.
It is worth mentioning that in terms of world concentration and control of the development of AI China leads by quite a long shot. Like all processes the value of the finished product is only as good as the input. The moral standpoint for the development AI is an absolute imperative. Will we acquiesce to a world where the infallibility of demagogues such as Putin and Xi is right by algorism rote, or will be use AI via free human thinking and democratic systems?
The jury is out, but the wakeup call is there.