Monday, October 10, 2016

artificial/authentic intelligence

There were choices last night as my day slid slowly towards a groggy conclusion. The Green Bay Packers were playing the New York Giants. Several TV channels were gearing up for the second of three 2016 presidential 'debates' between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. And "60 Minutes" was showing a segment about artificial intelligence with Charlie Rose (one of my least favorite reporters based on his apparent impression that what he has to say is more interesting than what his guests may think) ramrodding.

The Packers had the momentum from where I sat. They were going to win. (They won 23-16).

The political candidates, guided by rules laid down behind closed doors by both political parties, were skipping the meat and potatoes that the nation will eat after the election is over.

And somehow "artificial intelligence" grabbed my attention. The marvels of it were really marvelous for an under-informed person like me. Its capacities in the world of medicine alone (a machine that can digest and deduce from 8,000 articles published in any given day) were astounding in their ability to do some good. Together with that capacity to do good, of course, is the shadow of developers' exacting their pound of financial flesh.

And the questions floated up in my mind.

"Artificial intelligence" suggests that somehow there is a given body of knowledge that might be called "authentic intelligence." Authentic intelligence rests its case in human intelligence and primacy. But is such authentic intelligence truly authentic or is it simply a wet dream: I am important because I say I'm important? And at what point, if any, does artificial intelligence step across the line into authentic intelligence? And if the machines are smarter than the (wo)man, where does that leave the (wo)man? Sucking hind tit is the only answer I can envision ... and the human spirit rebels at the notion of being outstripped and left in the shade.

Someone will probably be helped by artificial intelligence.

But likewise and equally, someone is likely to get hurt.

If machines can do it better and "better" is one the the esteemed goals of what it means to be human, are human beings intelligent enough to relinquish their presumed primacy?

What is intelligence? Is it merely a construct? Is the insertion of ignorance the sole yardstick for gauging the marvels of an intelligent (wo)man?

Someone is bound to know this realm better than I and I really don't want to get into a pissing contest or solemn discussion, but it is a mind-bender.

If this isn't a realm of "be careful what you pray for not because you may get it but because you will" I don't know what is.


  1. I suppose a thing is as artificial or genuine as some expert says it is. As a species we're subject to the weather and each other along with everything else. Some of us will find an advantage while others are plowed under.

  2. Prayer:

    Refrain from harming living beings.
    Refrain from theft.
    Refrain from illicit copulation.
    Refrain from unskilful speech.
    Refrain from intoxication.


    Refrain from monasticism or salariable charities.
    Refrain from politics or parliamentary positions.
    Refrain from gambling...

  3. You might be overthinking this.

    Intelligence: the ability to perceive information, retain it, and to apply it towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context.

    Artificial intelligence (AI): intelligence exhibited by machines.

    We can and should end here but speculation leads one to further consider things such as the following:

    What could happen when superior artificial intelligence develops self direction and ambition?