When businesses and computer scientists talk about AI they are really talking about a machine that produces...without the cost.
The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.
Perpetual motion violates this law. Production must be paid for. The results must have a value greater than the cost while still reconciling the energy involved in all the moving parts to be profitable. Capitalist production doesn't violate this principle because capitalizing on capacity and opportunity is the transfer from one form to another more useful.
It must be creatively repeated to overcome the law of diminishing returns. It's a process where energy is applied intelligently such that the consequences form a potentiality for other valuable consequences not accessible before the capitalization. It's easy to imagine a machine doing this; like it's easy to imagine a million monkeys at a million type writers, but in reality it doesn't work.
Only life can produce intelligently, and rarely at that. Restrained by, if nothing else, food energy and biological considerations such as environmental challenge and competition. We are machines and our production is good when balanced and self defeating when not. It requires unique experiences; not just facts and memory replications. Not just time; but the patina of its passage.
Give a person all the facts of a situation and they'll never produce anything of value compared to the product of those who have actually lived and experienced those facts. Data alone cannot separate the wheat from the chaff. There are copies of us, twins, and we watch them become entirely different people. Different interests and different outcomes and it only diverges further over time. This is the inner production that is life itself.
Don't be so quick to open Pandora's Box.
Life is the closest thing to a perpetual motion machine there is. Elevate the biological potential and forget about all these silly "experts" trying to seduce you into investing in something that isn't possible. Perpetual motion doesn't exist; Automatic Production is a form of perpetual motion. AI is a form of Automatic Production. Therefore, it doesn't exist.
Why is AI really Automatic Production? The answer is in the nature of intelligence and its desirable ability to improve profitable returns. For example a writer is a producer only when they've written something of greater value than the cost of writing it. A good writer lives and experiences the extraordinary and captures that in a book.
There is a cost to living and experiencing; and it's only productive if the result is worth while. We don't always get what we want. That's the risk and with it...the possible reward. No guarantees even for the previously successful. The mighty fall all the time. There is no "best" formula for success.
There is no policy that ensures profit. Sometimes the greatest achievements have been accidents or out right mistakes...or motivated by lies or misunderstandings. The best things that will come out of chasing AI is faster computers and better video games. But at what cost? Could we not have had better machines without wasting billions of dollars on bullshit?
As it is the prior investment in AI has ballooned so high that it's almost inconceivable that we'll dig out from the hole. An AI acting all artificial and intelligent will have a further run-time cost as everything does. It's processes will consume opportunity if nothing else. Even a computer on a solar panel consumes opportunity. Making something of greater value than the opportunity cost is the problem that biology is solving very well if slowly.
The basic idea that makes AI valuable in any form, the necessary ingredient that matters is...
Can the program do, without any of the biological costs like growing up, taking time to experience and gain wisdom, what a real producer can do naturally? No. Duplication of past work to extract production value is what manufacturing is all about. It's the mechanics. Energy in motion. It doesn't create the value.
Manufacturing isn't the transfer from one form to another more valuable form. It isn't the conversion of a good idea into a working solution, but rather the process of collecting the return on the original idea produced. It's something less; and AI is something less than I.
If any machine could write a book worth reading, a song worth hearing, a product worth selling...then it would kill all life on earth and beyond. Just like infinite free energy, or immortality, or my personal favourite an excise tax set at 100%.
Just like every other kind of perpetual motion machine. It would break the game, the entire universe in fact. Like the infinite lives cheat in Super Contra we soon lose interest in playing. The moment one such machine comes into existence it would inevitably consume the entirety of reality by producing too much in a way that interferes with the production of others. Everything, including itself, would ultimately choke and die. Like cancer it would grow without purpose until there is nowhere else to go.
Life is restrained by food energy and time...mortality; thus driven to produce rational solutions to real problems like survival and reproduction. All around us every day are genuine producers making dreams into reality. But they can't do this beyond the ecosystem that accepts it. Gluttony is no better than starvation. Production is a partnership between the objective and the subjective that solves a problem. To a computer program all problems are artificial. No skin in the game...no skin at all.
The best we'll ever do is Automatic Manufacturing so get used to it and invest accordingly. Celebrate input costs in time and material; costs your competitors will also have to endure. Buy a factory. Give your machine a purpose and let it fulfill that without going beyond so it doesn't rob future value we can't make use of yet. It copies the design and builds, prints, compiles, and processes.
BUT IT DOES NOT PRODUCE.
It does not invent; create...or reason. Thought is production based on a million and one different factors including the benefits of limits and purpose. Billions of years of universal evolution and far from automatic. By definition original and the difference between sane and insane is the value of our thoughts in there potential to lead us through a productive life.
AI is like a writer producing the great American novel after reading the encyclopedia. A long time ago I read a great quote in a Superman comic that sums it up well I think.
Some people look at the ingredients on a bubble gum wrapper and they see the ingredients on a bubble gum wrapper; while others see the secrets of the Universe. - Lex Luthor
What do you think AI would learn from that pack of gum? At best...it figures out how to make more gum.