A couple of months, ago, I read Rise of the Machines, in The Economist and have just finished re-reading it. Several other articles and books on the same topic have caught my attention. So, I went back to this article, which I’d made notes on. It was and still is these few sentences that have held my attention:
AI uses a lot of brute force to get intelligent-seeming responses from systems that, though bigger and more powerful now than before, are no more like minds than they ever were. It does not seek to build systems that resemble biological minds. As Edsger Dijkstra, another pioneer of AI, once remarked, asking whether a computer can think is a bit like asking “whether submarines can swim”.
I know that others of us do not share Edsger’s view and I am not certain whether he was more on target than many of us worrying about AI as Isaac Azimov suggested years ago in “I, Robot” and many of his other works.
For some time now, the worry both of the machines we make and create, right along with those programs and algorithms beginning to inhabit those machines we want, I have known is waning. Rather, I am fretting about our conscious and unconscious desires which are bringing these things about. It isn’t those things, but rather both our motivations and fears fueling a distraction, a distraction from ourselves that is fearful.