Artificial intelligence

The promise of artificial intelligence is that it will make decisions faster.  But what happens if it makes bad decisions faster?  We are trying to replicate human skills that have evolved for millions of years, and yet we cannot predict accurately what decisions AI will come up with.  Just say AI progresses to a point where it is smarter than human beings.  Where will that leave us ?  Answer  – as virtual slaves to machines.

My own reaction to this is to invoke Epicurean moderation.  There are clearly activities for which artificial intelligence can be a benefit to the world – and others where it is yet another challenge to peace of mind.

And yet…..and yet…… I have been sitting here, having invoked moderation, trying to think what applications of AI I could actually support and find useful. But I don’t want an AI-equipped machine to cook for me, drive for me,  buy tickets to a concert for me, or book foreign holidays, either.  As you get older you need use your brain and what memory you have left. Use-it-or-lose-it.  Even at its most benign a fast- thinking machine potentially removes the need to think for yourself. So  I will give AI a pass, (that is if I have an, unlikely, say in the matter).

Oh, just remembered (without AI):  happy Thanksgiving!

One Comment

  1. Most new technologies end up doing something different than originally imagined, so AI will likely follow that trajectory. Cars were originally considered unecessary, a toyful wagon, but a poor one too because you couldn’t haul stuff in a wagon that was unreliable. The copying maching was thought to cut down on the use of paper (remember mimeos?), and it wasn’t used much in the beginning. But It increased the use of paper and made ideas more widespread. Planes were considered useless toys, as were the first desktop computers (designed for kids). So its likely that AI will be toys first and later will find a helpful niche. Read Eric Hoffer on how new tech becomes real tech, but first they are toys. Was it Epicurus who first saw the Garden as a sanctuary? Before him, maybe just a vegetable garden? Most new things are suspect — until they aren’t.

    Thanksgiving is very Epicurean — as Epicurus is one of the few philosophers of gratitude. Enjoy!

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