Category Archives: Computer

AI-Winter, Plateau, Pareto-Principle?

Another article on AI, and again I found it on the platform piqd.de : Machine Learning Confronts the Elephant in the Room.

Maybe this just appears to me, or maybe it’s wishful thinking. But it looks more and more to me like the advances in AI are kind of stalling and less and less impressive lately. There are more products and services that pitch “AI driven”, but its mostly about the same few topics. Doesn’t appear too new to me.

But maybe the next breakthrough is just days or weeks away?

Or the reality is significantly more complex than scientists would like to think. Mabe the algorithms (and AI in the end is just the implementation of clever algos), just can’t keep up with our brains.

Well, just read the article linked above, I found it very interesting.

AI and the Future: Why Technology Favors Tyranny

On piqd.de I found once again an interesting Article: Why Technology Favors Tyranny. The Abstract on piqd is in German, while the original article is in English.

The internet started out to bring us all more democracy and all people the ability to participate. In the last years it looks like the big companies have taken over the power, but also the states (who complain about the big companies, and vice versa).

The technologies that emerged around the internet can only be developed and maintained with massive investment / money and evolved further. Individuals can’t really do that much themselves, and are going back to being consumers and are dependent on what is provided to them. Who has the power, has the say, and that also allows tyrants to gain more power and control over people than ever before.

Is the right? It is at least an interesting viewpoint to think about and consider.

50 years: 2001 – A Space Odyssey

This movie was originally not a big success. But from the beginning something like a cult movie. Stanley Kubrick drove a few people almost nuts when he realized this in his perfectionist way.

Clearly as many movies, this is a matter of personal likes. It is for sure one of my favourites.

What many people don’t know is that this is not a movie made from the book of Arthur C Clarke, but Clarke and Kubrick wrote the script together and the book was only published after the movie.

I found an interesting article on WIRED which analyses in quite some details bout technical details of the movie. About what turned into reality, what didn’t, what might have been visionary. Very interesting to read.

The trailer (re-release 2014) on Youtube:

The Seven Deadly Sins of Predicting the Future of AI

This week, I read an article on the web-site of the German magazine Technology Review. I really liked the article because it summarizes nicely several things that I also believe. But it is not just a sceptical article, but written by an expert from the field with insight and thoughtful opinion and not just someone who publishes a rant on a hype topic.

Essay: Die sieben Tods├╝nden der KI-Vorhersagen – Heise-Verlag / Technology Review (Germany)

Original Article: The Seven Deadly Sins of Predicting the Future of AI – by Rodney Brooks

A couple of personal thoughts on the topic: Intelligence in itself isn’t actually understood yet. This starts with the discussion around animals, and which ones are intelligent, or not, or which behaviour may be sign of intelligence or is rather a learned reaction to a specific cause or trigger.

Also Arthur C. Clarke wrote already many years back: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. What I mean here is that a lot of recent technology advancements in AI are certainly impressing, but in the end just “technology”. Assigning these things the label “intelligence” is just an opinion, which I personally would not agree to.

One specific aspect of the Essay is “exponentialism”. We human beings struggle to really get this aspect. When the chess computers were invented and finally even beat the world champion, the victory of AI was predicted very soon. What an over-estimation. But now again with AlphaGO, the same thing happens. I do certainly understand the advancement of this technology, but this machine can just play GO. Yes, it is “clever” enough to learn other board games, but just that. If we humans play a game and someone decides to slightly change a rule (like the many poker variants), we humans can easily adjust. The AlphaGO has to relearn and adapt in a very lengthy process. Human intelligence is exponentially above those technologies.

This makes it so hard for AI to survive in the real world… we humans don’t just follow rules, instead we are very creative in changing, adapting or breaking them all the time. Like in traffic… if you drive just 5km to work, you need to follow some, let’s say, 100 rules, easily. But if you watch very closely you will see that we also constantly break many of these rules. And humans can easily adjust to that behaviour, and still almost nothing happens. OK, almost. I am very sceptical if we will really see self-driving cars around in 5 years… and if, then only in controlled areas, e.g. highways.

But this specific example brings us to another aspect… the under-estimation, or more importantly, the expectations towards technology. The self-driving cars are expected to drive flawlessly. Guys, that will never happen. Of course the will be accidents caused by such cars. But then again: we humans are overall terrible drivers… in Germany 3.177 people died in 2017 in car accidents, no self-driving car around yet. Although this sounds just like inhuman statistics, the point will be if self-driving cars will cause less accidents than humans. And I guess this is a likely possibility… in several years … t.b.d.

In summary: I do certainly understand the advances in AI recently with automated machine learning etc., and I am fascinated by some of these technologies. But I’m far from a hype-state, thinking that humans will be 50% or even 80% “obsolete” in many areas like some people state. Maybe such a thing may happen in a distant future, but I would not bet on it. And I don’t believe this will be in the next 10 years, and likely not during my lifetime.