Technical topics, of any sort at all, are generally subject to serious distortion when they hit the level of public discussion. There’s no end of examples: Just think of the garbage written about global warming or COVID.
The latest of these topics is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Commentary on AI has exploded across the media sphere since the release of ChatGPT, an AI app purportedly capable of learning how to produce prose in any style at request.
The media uproar has been characterized by two approaches — the first (and most common) is complete lack of understanding of the technology. The second is an impression of the topic derived from movies, largely HAL 9000 and Skynet.
So what is the problem here?
First and above all, when we speak of AI in the 21st century, we’re discussing two distinct and separate types as if they were one and the same thing. These are what I call “App AI,” which includes ChatGPT and the numerous AI art apps making the rounds, and “General Intelligence AI,” the movie-style HALs and Skynets capable of taking over everything and doing what they damn well please.
Up until now, all that we’ve seen are App AIs. AI learning is accomplished through “supervised learning,” in which mere humans set the parameters and goals, oversee the process, and examine and judge the results. The App AI’s though can’t simply take what they’ve learned and apply it to other fields.
There’s been a lot of speculation recently as to whether these systems will supplant humans working in particular fields. The answer is no — not yet, and probably not ever. It’ll be a very long time before ChatGPT takes the reins if any.
The reason being that machines lack intuition – the human facility that enables us to skip step-by-step procedures and go immediately to the heart of a problem. There exists no way to quantify intuition – along with other related human capabilities such as imagination. There is in fact no means of breaking down intuition, imagination, or simple common sense to make them programmable. The statistical techniques that AI programs utilize simply cannot replace the human attributes we all take for granted.
It took something on the order of three-and-a-half million years for intelligence to develop in human beings. Nobody, however adept, will replicate that in a handful of years. Nor will AIs put everybody out of work. Since the 1970s, it has been clear that infotech actually creates jobs by expanding existing industries and establishing new ones. I have no reason to think that AI will be any different.
So enough fantasy, scare tactics and propaganda about AI. AI will hopefully though provide us with a new armory of digital defenses against the current efforts by the WEF, the tech giants, and the elites to force techno feudalism on us. And that, folks, will be something worth having.