When I was a kid, a film director could use the image of a robot serving a human breakfast to set the scene and time. The viewer would instantly know that this scene was set far, far in the future. But these days, with the pace at which technology is evolving, this day in the future may not be far at all. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour (source). Recently released scifi thriller, Westworld really does get you thinking about AI. Not only about our ability to rationalise, but consciousness as well. Could there be parks we could attend in the future to indulge a holiday of sex and violence (watch Westworld to understand what I mean)? The idealist in me hopes that by the time we have this kind of technology, we will use it for good, not animal instinct gratification, but I’m not so sure. Below is an article by software developer Tautvilas Mečinskas titled The Nature of Intelligence. Have a read and form your own opinion.

Much love, Katie xx

“the nature of true intelligence is not the ability to give an answer, but to ask the right question”

I have always been interested in the subject of Artificial Intelligence. It is because by building AI we are learning valuable lessons about ourselves. After all, we consider us to be intelligent, but are not really sure what that means. AI is an attempt to reverse engineer our mind and to define intelligence by creating an abstracted version of it. Can AI become smarter than us? What is the true nature of intelligence? These are the questions that truly make me wonder.

Very recently there have been some astonishing AI advancements with models based on Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). Apparently today AI can perform image identification better than humans and win against the world champion of board game GO. We have lost tic-tac-toe, checkers and chess to a digital mind long time ago. These board games are closed environment discreet systems that have winning conditions and rules strictly defined. Older AIs used mostly brute-force and sheer computing power to win against humans. DNNs however are solving problems using evolved pattern recognition. This way they can tackle more fuzzy and human-like problems that have vast solution search space.

The holy grail of the field of AI is to develop the so-called seed intelligence or general purpose intelligence. A program that would exhibit such properties would be able to modify itself and perform general purpose tasks that have been given to it. In its versatility and adaptation it would be similar to human intelligence. Since such intelligence would be digital it might be many times more efficient than our meaty brains and could quickly modify itself to become much more advanced than homo sapiens.

So we have been able to develop AI that outmatches humans in specific computational tasks, but still have no good clue how to build an AI that is generic, can adapt itself and creatively solve a wide range of tasks. Artificial neural networks might be a part of this puzzle, but something important is still missing. It seems that we have solved separate parts of intelligence, but we still don’t know how to glue them together. I feel that in order to unravel this problem we need a better general understanding of the nature of intelligence. READ FULL ARTICLE

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Hi, I’m Katie. I am a kiwi neuroscientist with a love for consuming and creating content. This site is where I share my personal thoughts and the thoughts of incredible minds from around the world. PhD in Neuroscience, University of Otago.

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