Big Corporations Go After Artificial Intelligence

The word “Go” in the title is not coincidental. Much earlier than expected, an AI program managed to defeat a human Go champion. Artificial Intelligence has had the upper hand in the game of Chess for more than a decade already. However, defeating humans at the game of Go requires a different kind of intelligence than it is the case with Chess.

Here’s the news report about Google having reached this important milestone in AI development: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/546066/googles-ai-masters-the-game-of-go-a-decade-earlier-than-expected/^

IBM, Google, Microsoft, FaceBook, Amazon and Apple are all pouring billions of dollars into this sort of research. So do other companies and, less advertised, so do many governments. Not to mention universities and even hobbyists. The jury is still out regarding whether strong (true) Artificial Intelligence is even achievable.

My worry is that once a corporation or government manages to succeed in this venture, the result might offer that entity an unimaginable economic and strategic advantage. Such an advantage will make nuclear weapons seem like a wet firecracker in comparison.

Some have said that AI will be our last invention, for better or for worse. That is because AI might overtake us in intelligence to such an extent that it could invent things that we cannot even begin to imagine. So the risk lies not only in the birth of true AI, but also in whatever new beings such intelligence might give birth to as it grows and learns how to play with its intelligence. All this may very well lead us to immortality or to extinction.

If you’d like to learn more about the topic, I recommend you to read this excellent two part article explaining what it’s all about. It’s quite long but it’s an interesting and pleasant read. At least skip through it, because a life-changing Artificial Intelligence development may be closer than you think.

Part 1:

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html^

Part 2

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-2.html^

I also find it quite interesting that some corporations are open sourcing their AI frameworks and tools. I have a fair amount of trust that a large economic entity or a scientific organization will be at least a bit careful about how they program the ethical aspects of an AI, if nothing else then for self-preservation purposes. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about hobbyists who might not even give a priority to such a vital concern.

Microsoft Open Sources Artificial Intelligence Toolkit:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2498435,00.asp^

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2 Comments

  1. Norbert Lars

    Reply

    “The jury is still out regarding whether strong (true) Artificial Intelligence is even achievable.” – no way, current opinion is not IF but WHEN 🙂

    problem right now is quite interesting, current public technology will reach the required level in about 4 years, only the software needs a lot of progress but is achievable by 2030 🙂 ( my guess bet goes on 2025 for AI at human level, 2026 ASI). different signs in some news show some interesting stuff about the quantum computers ( as far as public tech there are only some tests, but if you look at the different governments interception of data and fast decrypt the only educate guess is that some very high processing power stuff is doing that job, and as far as things go the quantum computers are a good answer :P) and if those are already in place and work on AI stuff (and i am sure governments and big corporations are doing it) than we can see an ASI even faster

    problem is that only one ASI will exists, the 2nd will be eliminated somehow – either by first ASI or by humans behind the ASI

    we have a partial chance to “live” after ASI:
    – 1 we become something close to the BORG(s) with a lot of stuff to help us increase our processing power (to keep up with the level of ASI)
    – 2 we are very good at programming the AI to prevent it from our extermination 🙂 (but i highly doubt in this hurry to get AI as intelligent as possible we will program stuff so good), in the article you link is a funny comparison with ASI trying to persuade us to give it more power ( if somehow we can isolate it ) … with a mature person trying to convince a 3 years old kid 🙂 to do something – is clear it will escape somehow from the isolation in a matter of days after reaching ASI

    i see you like interesting stuff, check this out http://www.futuretimeline.net/index.htm#timeline

    we live interesting times, and i also think that our generation will live for 150-200 years at least 🙂

    • Reply

      There are still experts who believe that this is not achievable. They may be few, but there are some. The “Wait But Why” article mentions this fact, and I trust that the author’s analysis. Of course, you might consider that “a few” means “nothing” and in that case yes, you can say that the “current opinion is not IF but WHEN”. I do believe that if we do ever develop strong AI, it will not be done using the current hardware architecture. I believe the chances for this are less than 30%. Quantum computers, however, are a different story. There, I believe the chances are above 70%. But usable quantum computers are 5 to 20 years away. What we got now is compared to how ENIAC was some 7 decades ago. It will take time for quantum computers to mature. Less time than it took from ENIAC to the smartphone, but it WILL take time :).

      Regarding the decryption by foreign governments: you forgot to take into consideration that these organizations have backdoors everywhere. It’s a piece of cake for them to decrypt anything, not because they have processing power (even though they have that in ample amounts too) but because they’re extremely well integrated in our communication systems. I might write a piece about this soon. Do you know that they had backdoors in the firmware of hard disk drives? Of SIM cards? That they can supposedly turn on a phone unless the battery is physically removed?

      Oh and thank you for that link. I bookmarked it. It’s interesting. I am planning to have a “futurology” section here. I plan to co-write stuff with some of you guys, brainstorm together :). But more on that soon :). And thank you for being here!

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