Intelligence is not Artificial

Why the Singularity is not Coming any Time Soon And Other Meditations on the Post-Human Condition and the Future of Intelligence

by piero scaruffi
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(These are excerpts from my book "Intelligence is not Artificial")

Teaser: Intelligence is not Accuracy

It has been widely publicized that machines can now recognize images with more accuracy than humans can; that machines don't make mistakes that we make. But that is a misleading statement. The mistakes that we make when we misjudge an image are important. When we hike in the forest, we sometimes mistake a tree for a bear. That is probably a mistake that a machine would not make: trained to recognize trees, it would recognize a tree as a tree, not as a bear. Sometimes we even mistake a tree for a person, maybe a fellow hiker, and a boulder behind the tree as a tent. A machine would probably not mistake a rock for a tent.

The problem is that these mistakes are important. There "could" be a bear in the forest, and there "could" be a fellow hiker. These are not details. These are important facts. In fact, they are not mistakes: the brain is doing the right thing in "predicting" that there could be a bear ahead of us.

There is a big misunderstanding in what constitutes a "mistake": a mistake is to think that there are no bears in the forest. Our brain is expecting bears, just like it is expecting other hikers (and many other possible encounters). A machine that does not expect bears and hikers will obviously not be mistaken, but that's a machine that knows nothing about the environment. As a tool for hikers in the wilderness, it would be a dangerous tool. I will trust the machine the day that it mistakes a tree for a bear. Then i will feel confident that the machine is ready to hike in the wilderness with me.

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