Antonin Tuynman discusses his book Is Intelligence an Algorithm?, a wide-ranging exploration of the similarities and differences between human and artificial intelligence, and the potential for future advancement of both.
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Although human and machine intelligence share certain similarities, there are profound differences which pose significant problems for the development of an artificial intelligence which can truly match or even exceed the capabilities of the human brain. Artificial intelligence seeks to emulate the strengths of human intelligence whilst eliminating its weaknesses. However, both human flaws and human genius stem from the same source and it seems that we cannot have one without the other. Among other things, this places the prospects for transhumanist hopes of merging man and machine in serious doubt.
There is also the question of whether artificial intelligence can ever truly understand the information it processes. Even the most powerful computers today are still essentially number crunchers with a limited capacity for pattern recognition. Meaning and purpose are alien to A.I., as are beliefs, emotions, desires, intuition, morals, and a host of other human characteristics and qualities. Consciousness is an unfathomable mystery even to us, so it seems that our attempts to replicate it in machines are doomed to failure.
However, whatever the apparent limitations of artificial intelligence, computers are increasingly being placed in charge of the infrastructure and systems on which modern life depends. This poses difficult questions about what might happen should A.I. somehow evolve on its own. The so-called ‘internet of things’ is linking computer power with sensors, robots, and other machines at a rate which may become exponential. This cybernetic matrix is being given the power to control, to regulate, to decide, to act. What if it calculates that we are the problem? Many human beings have already come to this conclusion. Man, machine, or something in between… To whom – or what – does the future belong?
Bumper music: Cliff Martinez ‘Traffic OST’
Cwtch ‘What Do Robots Dream About?’
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