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PC Technician discusses artificial intelligence





pc technician discusses artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence - Is it a fraud and a Sham?

Well, it's been many years now and the promise of artificial intelligence ( AI ) still seems to be about where the promise of controlled fusion is currently - nowhere! All the talk, both past and present, about the benefits humans would reap from this pursuit still seems elusive as ever. I remember, back in the 60's, while working in a lab, how excited me and my colleagues were when we got our first computer - it was an IBM7094. One member of our group "discovered" a program that would "learn" how to play tic-tac-toe. This was exciting stuff - a computer would actually "learn" to do something. Sure enough, the program would lose the first several games against humans but eventually it "learned" to play at a level such that it would consistantly play to a draw. Upon analysing the program, it turned out that all the program was doing was storing a history of moves and categorized the moves that would lead to a loss. Eventually, it had enough games stored so it would no longer lose. What a disappointment! This was not learning as one would intuit learning to be.

As time progressed, however, it appeared that if computers became more powerful - the dream of AI would become a reality. At this time, I left the lab and became a programmer and the talk of AI still remained in the background with many people embracing the dream, ie, other programmers and bosses where I was working believed it would just be a matter of time before the big "breakthrough" would take place. I remember a TV show about AI - in the 80's where an AI researcher explained how his program worked. Somehow he fed some data into the program about word meanings and word connections, etc., etc. Then the next day he had the program "write" a story about an imaginary encounter between a fox and a crow. The parameters were set and the program "finished" the story and to the researcher's amazement the story ended with an unexpected ending. He was estatic, and all I could think of was bulls__t! This is not AI - because if I had access to the code and the input data - I could have told him what the ending would be - it's deterministic - no mystical crap, no deep meaning, no Einstein thought experiment, just working through the code. Period!

Computers are not like the human brain - it executes instructions one at a time in a completely deterministic way. It processes information serially. Ah, but the human mind, somehow grabs information from various parts of the brain and in my opinion, assembles the bits in parallel and like an internal hologram is processed to give us a thought or concept. This is a process that allows an Einstein to formulate thought experiments. One cannot examine the internal connections and the trillions(?) of possible permutations and "know" how Einstein grasped his theory of relativity. So, AI cannot involve the storing of data and the relationships among the data. as this would just lead to a static state. The human mind is constantly rewiring its neural network and uses hidden processes to assemble it all to produce a thought. Computers are static in a sense, and the brain is not. One processes data serially and the other ( god knows) processes information in parallel and recognizing patterns in a way that could be characterized as "all-at-onceness". I think AI research has its merits - ie, systems that can process huge decision trees ( ie, if this then that, etc.....) like in a game of chess. But for now I think that a computer capable of human thought is a long way off. But if a marriage of computers and a living system could be developed then it may be possible for it ( a cyborg ? ) to someday derive a Theory of Everything. Much to the chagrin of theoretical physicists.




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