“Amazon is introducing us to a new computing interface — a voice devoid of a screen—that will eventually grow to be more ubiquitous and more useful than our smartphones. Forget the onerous process of pulling your Pixel or iPhone from your pocket, unlocking it, opening apps, and tapping your desires onto a screen. (Ugh!) Soon, you’ll speak your wants into the air — anywhere — and a woman’s warm voice with a mid-Atlantic accent will talk back to you, ready to fulfill your commands.”
“Income inequality is a well recognized problem. The gap between the rich and poor has grown over the last few decades, but it became increasingly pronounced after the 2008 financial crisis. While economists debate the extent to which technology plays a role in global inequality, most agree that tech advances have exacerbated the problem.
In an interview with the MIT Tech Review, economist Erik Brynjolfsson said, “My reading of the data is that technology is the main driver of the recent increases in inequality. It’s the biggest factor.”
Which begs the question: what happens as automation and AI technologies become more advanced and capable?”
“MR. JACOBSTEIN: Just since the beginning of 2017 we’ve seen a team at Northwestern develop an AI that could solve the Raven Progressive Matrices Test, an intelligence test of visual and analogical reasoning, better than the average American.
We also have seen a team at Imperial College London develop an AI that could diagnose pulmonary hypertension better than cardiologists typically do. Cardiologists have about 60% accuracy. This system does 80% accuracy. And in January of this year, Tuomas Sandholm and Noam Brown from Carnegie Mellon University developed a poker player called Libratus, which beat four of the world champion poker players, and not by just a little bit. They played 120,000 hands of poker, and Libratus ended up with $1.77 million in poker chips. This is a big deal, because it signals the ability to deal with incomplete information and to deal with situations that require bluffing and an opponent that generates misinformation. That is a really important set of skills. It will lend itself to negotiation, to strategy development, and perhaps even to policy analysis.”
As you can imagine I don't quite agree with that summary: intelligence matters more than consciousness??
“But with robots making and killing things better than we can, who needs people? Intelligence will matter more than consciousness. “What’s so sacred about useless bums who pass their days devouring artificial experiences” in virtual reality?”
“This, he says, leads to a conveyor-belt approach – “people who were seen as residents, all of a sudden, they’re seen as consumers, as clients that are consuming services, and the local government is the service provider.””
“It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web
Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And they choose what to show us based on algorithms that learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.”
“In the coming decades, artificial intelligence will replace a lot of human jobs, from driving trucks to analyzing X-rays. But it will also work with us, taking over mundane personal tasks and enhancing our cognitive capabilities. As AI continues to improve, digital assistants—often in the form of disembodied voices—will become our helpers and collaborators, managing our schedules, guiding us through decisions, and making us better at our jobs. We’ll have something akin to Samantha from the movie Her or Jarvis from Iron Man: AI “agents” that know our likes and dislikes, and that free us up to focus on what humans do best, or what we most enjoy. Here’s what to expect.”
“Deflationary examples of AI are everywhere. Google funds a system to identify toxic comments online, a machine learning algorithm called Perspective. But it turns out that simple typos can fool it. Artificial intelligence is cited as a barrier to strengthen an American border wall, but the “barrier” turns out to be little more than sensor networks and automated kiosks with potentially-dubious built-in profiling. Similarly, a “Tennis Club AI” turns out to be just a better line sensor using off-the-shelf computer vision. Facebook announces an AI to detect suicidal thoughts posted to its platform, but closer inspection reveals that the “AI detection” in question is little more than a pattern-matching filter that flags posts for human community managers.
AI’s miracles are celebrated outside the tech sector, too. Coca-Cola reportedly wants to use “AI bots” to “crank out ads” instead of humans. What that means remains mysterious. Similar efforts to generate AI music or to compose AI news stories seem promising on first blush—but then, AI editors trawling Wikipedia to correct typos and links end up stuck in infinite loops with one another. And according to human-bot interaction consultancy Botanalytics (no, really), 40 percent of interlocutors give up on conversational bots after one interaction. Maybe that’s because bots are mostly glorified phone trees, or else clever, automated Mad Libs.”
“While breakthroughs could come at any time, the problem with automation isn’t robots; it’s politicians, who have failed for decades to support policies that let workers share the wealth from technology-led growth.”
“Vivek Wadhwa, a US-based entrepreneur and academic who writes about ethics and technology, thinks the new wave of automation has geopolitical implications: “Tech companies must accept responsibility for what they’re creating and work with users and policymakers to mitigate the risks and negative impacts. They must have their people spend as much time thinking about what could go wrong as they do hyping products.
The industry is bracing itself for a backlash. Advances in AI and robotics have brought automation to areas of white-collar work, such as legal paperwork and analysing financial data. Some 45 per cent of US employees’ work time is spent on tasks that could be automated with existing technologies, a study by McKinsey says.”