Artificial intelligence and the future

NOTE HXA7241 2012-06-17T09:42Z

Is strong AI not very far away now? That is not the right question.

Think of it analogously to physical capability. Have we developed ‘strong’ Artificial Physical Ability? (what would that mean?) Do we define and measure our physical machines in comparison to human physical abilities? Was the aim of inventing machines just to make artificial humans? No: we develop every kind of physical machine, and in fact our main aim is to make all the kinds of things that are not like what humans do.

So why should not informational machines be the same? Is what humans do with information the only thing possible to do, and the only thing we might want to do? No. We will not be making AI to be like humans much, but for a great range of other, non-human-like, applications. We already do! Using human intelligence as a single simple measure just does not mean anything much.

‘Strong AI’ is sometimes thought of as being a key image of the future, but really it diverts us from seeing what we are alreading doing, and imagining the much greater range of possibilities the future really holds.