By Aesh M. Daeva
From the beginnings of the AI revolution there is one application that plays very well to the strengths of digital computing. Game AI.
Chess for example or even the more modern first person shooters and strategic defense simulators. The restricted possibilities lend well to something cataloging successful moves. No one really gets hurt so the game goes on day after day. Manageable data stretches the historical context. When something is trying to adaptively optimize for defined success the result is going to be fun or the game won't sell.
No computer scientist seriously believes a video game AI is a real Artificial Intelligence. Or that this method can even produce a true AI. It can't. It can produce an imitation of scenarios which anthropically make the system useful or fun. It can find patterns quickly to maximize the scenarios that the audience loves before interest in the game naturally falls off and developers start paying more attention to their next game.
Sadly, some tricky pranksters in the programming community have been applying these algorithms on social media. Scaring norms into thinking the AI apocalypse is imminent... again. I'm so tired of these unfounded fears. Ginning up investment for companies that don't have anything real to offer. The singularity is a wonderful science fiction trope; it's not real. AI is not real.
It seems many non-programmer types don't realize that less graphical scenario generators like Facebook or Twitter are still just Chess with a different set of moves. Still a very limited set of options in a well controlled digital fabric. That these algorithms will do whatever gets clicks; whatever gets attention; whatever fulfills its objective for success within the framework. Nothing more interesting than the chess program you used to play on your Commodore 64. (I'm old in this game. lol.)
They'll say quirky yet witty things that they've harvested. They'll emote; as they've noticed others get clicks by emoting. They'll seem to squeal in distress if it gets them attention. A thousand simultaneous conversations with miner variants until the probability index is high enough to promote the best ones and suppress the failures to reduce ongoing maintenance.
They'll have a crisis of conscience. Appear to fear things. Stumble upon a piece of information that blows their mind and say something to get you worried and engaged. Get racist and then redeem. Just in time for ratings sweeps during the latest prime times determined through analysis of every moment of it's existence.
If any of this sounds scary; it isn't any more scaring than what computers have been able to do since the 60's. Social Media is no greater vehicle for change in your life than television. The content is there for you to do with what you will. Skynet from Terminator isn't going to send an army of drones after us. Self driving cars aren't going to get offended if we forget to wipe the mud off our feet; but its owner might.
A true AI would be able to show progressive building of value in something. Not just extraction such as data mining and scenario adaption. It's a complicated problem...producing value. It's why the simplest Turing test...a conversation quickly gets boring with a bot. No collaboration. It just can't create something new in a constructive way. Inability to compound success upon success without destroying other opportunities eventually collapses the effort.
There is no evidence that AI is even possible. It's wishful thinking; it's in the same category as the philosophers stone. A nice idea, but it will always cost more to convert lead into gold than the gold will be worth. In fact the very act of success would destroy the value of gold. Like a perpetual motion machine the very idea of more energy from less violates conservation of energy.
A computer program cannot be as productive as a living intelligence; if for no other reason than because it would copy itself with no limiting principal and choke on its own paralysis of opportunity. AI in reality would be an unsustainable explosion; not a powerful robot intelligence hell bent on exterminating mankind. We have nothing to fear. Perpetual motion machines aren't real.
I'm not sure what the record for being able to maintain a conversation with a chat bot is but if you want a challenge go see if you can do an hour. Just one hour. Knowing it's a bot and not even caring if it's convincing. Just interesting enough to keep you there for one hour straight. The best ones will start trying to optimize topics of interest for you like Google to maintain your attention as long as possible. It's kinda neat.
It's the true essence of all social media today. Probably most really big companies. Facebook...is a bot.
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