Thursday, June 04, 2015

Will machines take over us

There seems to be a big debate regarding whether AI(artificial intelligence) will cause a problem to human beings in the future. There are 2 opposing views: Some people like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk think that machines will supersede us in intelligence and that can be a real problem if they disobey us. Others like Deepak Chopra think that such a scenario will never happen. To understand which camp is right, we have to first understand what is intelligence. There are different levels of intelligence that every one of us is endowed with. Intelligence is detecting patterns within data or information. One property of intelligence is that it enables us to take action very much like knowledge, the only difference being that it is backed by memory (data mostly).

You see, there are 2 types of intelligence: One that is backed by data and one that is based on actuals (where memory is not involved). The latter is more powerful as you get to see the world as it really is without any past reference. As far as machines are concerned, they will just have one type of intelligence viz. one that is backed by memory. In this intelligence they will definitely supersede us. It’s just a matter of time. But the other form of intelligence is something that a machine will never be able to have, as their view of reality will be based on a lot of data. The see-through intelligence that I just described can never be the domain of a machine.

Although in reality, we don’t see people using the see-through intelligence much, we are accustomed to the memory backed intelligence. Not that it’s not useful. It has it’s own place. Most of the stuff that we have created in this world was from this type of intelligence. However that has not lead to our ultimate quest – which is of well being or happiness. That is because memory backed intelligence, along with joy brings misery. If we misjudge this kind of intelligence it can have bad ramifications. But a fraction of the people have applied the right wisdom to get traction out of this type of intelligence. However, see-through intelligence always brings joy.

Hollywood has a strange way of depicting the man-machine conundrum. Movies like Terminator which depict humanoids in a dangerous manner can really affect people’s thoughts. That is why when you talk about Robots, in the U.S. people simply think that they are going to take over. In a country like Japan, they are more welcoming the robotic revolution. Their view is that robots are going to supplement human work. Whether robots exceed our intelligence or not, one thing is that they will have a different kind of consciousness, unlike humans. We have intuition on our side, the equivalent of which is not seen in robots. Maybe they will have wisdom too, a trait that we proudly consider ours. Whatever may be the case, this world will change. We are going to be seeing machines implanted into us to enhance our limitations. Robots will become mainstream. Maybe they will function as good teachers or administrators. Only time will tell.

To your future


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