Artificial Intelligence Post Number 11

In my recent posts I have emphasized the changes most likely to happen with the simplest form of AI. There seems little doubt these will happen because we can already see signs of them in the marketplace in advanced robotic manufacturing and the progress towards self-driving cars.

But what about computers that truly think? This is the level of AI (AGI) that is frightening many of our brightest people. Is this just a “sky is falling” thing? After all, you can go back thirty years and find articles, books, and even movies that predicted that by 2001 thinking computers would already be here and causing havoc! Is anything that much different now? Sure, computers are bigger and faster. But all the computers in use still use the von Neumann linear processing architecture developed in 1945. They are all just really fast calculators!

But there IS now a real difference! I have already mentioned IBM’s TrueNorth chip that does parallel processing and attempts to emulate what the human brain does. And a company called HRL is developing a chip that comes even closer to emulating the brain in that its internal connections adjust to new data – it learns from experience, much like a child! But none of these approaches are truly IDENTICAL to the biological brain. Are they close enough in design and application to actually become thinking entities? I don’t think (pun intended) that anyone truly knows, because we don’t really know how to even define “thinking.” If these chips are loaded up with data and given goals, will they independently find unique paths to reach those goals? Of course, if they do, that also could be a problem. If you ask a thinking AGI computer how to solve global warming issues identified as being caused by humans, their advice to kill all of mankind may be valid but not welcome! Or even if their advice is less terrifying, if they suggest shutting down all coal-firing power plants for example, is this viable politically even if it may be theoretically possible? And to eliminate this kind of impractical advice, do AGI computers require some morality judgements based on human values? We cannot even agree on what those are within the human race. We quickly get into religious and philosophical issues as we get closer to the possibility of AGI.

I will continue to monitor the progress of AI as much as possible just by trying to glean as much as I can from published articles. Hopefully blog readers will help on this. Even if we never get to the very frightening level of AGI or developing thinking computers smarter than us, we need to be monitoring the advances that are likely to explode with the introduction of chips like the IBM TrueNorth.

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7 Responses to “Artificial Intelligence Post Number 11”

  1. Oliver Holzfield Says:

    Perhaps another reason to invest in IBM.

    http://technozoic.blogspot.com/2013/05/ibm-solar-collector-combines-solar-pv.html

    • wbrussee Says:

      IBM is acting more like an Apple or Tesla than a GM, Ford, or HP. Amazing! Note that I don’t own IBM stock.

  2. Oliver Holzfield Says:

    I think there is likely to be a decent market sell off this winter. That might be a time to take a small/initial position. I think I’m going to.

  3. Robert Kaufman Says:

    In my community there is a meetup group of techies led by the individual below. The meetup is called “The League of Extraordinary Algorithms”. I will go to the next meeting and attempt to network although I doubt I will understand much of what is going on. Perhaps we can get some contributors who have a strong technical background in the areas we are exploring.

    Steph Thompson, Organizer
    Introduction

    • Programming for 30 years & always fascinated with AI. I have an MS in Software Engineering & work in the finance industry.
    All meetings below are at: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

    Optimizing Search & Skill Building Activities Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Last time we looked at Genetic Algorithm. Today we will look at the larger domain of optimizing search algorithms with a Knowledge Map showing over 40 algorithms based on natural world phenomena. During the introduction meeting 2 weeks ago we touched on skill building activities in order to learn algorithms. One framework for skill development is called the Dreyfus Scale. In this meeting we will look at a schedule of 3-hour projects, with examples, you can engage to develop expertise in an algorithm.

    Optimizing Search & Skill Building Activities

    Tuesday, Aug 25, 2015, 12:00 PM

    U Garden Restaurant
    2725 University Ave SE Minneapolis, MN

    8 Members Attending

    Last time we looked at Genetic Algorithm.  Today we will look at the larger domain of optimizing search algorithms with a Knowledge Map showing over 40 algorithms based on natural world phenomena.During the introduction meeting 2 weeks ago we touched on skill building activities in order to learn algorithms.  One framework for skill development is…

    Check out this Meetup →

    Algorithm: K-Means Tuesday, September 8, 2015
    K-Means is a clustering algorithm in the machine learning domain. It is surprisingly useful for its simplicity. We will examine the pseudo code and discuss applications including one from the investment field.

    Algorithm: K-Means

    Tuesday, Sep 8, 2015, 12:00 PM

    U Garden Restaurant
    2725 University Ave SE Minneapolis, MN

    8 Members Attending

    K-Means is a clustering algorithm in the machine learning domain.  It is surprisingly useful for its simplicity.   We will examine the pseudo code and discuss applications including one from the investment field.

    Check out this Meetup →

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    A Tour of Machine Learning Algorithms & WEKA Tuesday, September 22, 2015

    • WEKA is an integrated development environment (IDE) for machine learning algorithms. We will take a look at the tool and the major groups of algorithms it implements. We will also touch on a web resource called Machine Learning Mastery. I have another Knowledge Map for these algorithms

    o http://www.meetup.com/League-of-Extraordinary-Algorithms/events/224661897/?a=ea2_grp&rv=ea2&_af=event&_af_eid=224661897

  4. wbrussee Says:

    Robert Kaufman Says: “…there is a meetup group of techies. The meetup is called “The League of Extraordinary Algorithms”. I will go to the next meeting and attempt to network although I doubt I will understand much of what is going on.”

    Good luck! Those are pretty esoteric statistical subject areas. I think that I understand statistics fairly well, but those subjects are on the fringe and often not useful because the accuracy of the data often does not justify the precision. A little like measuring a piece of wood with a micrometer.

    I finally got the hard copy of the July edition of the Science Magazine. Nothing in the 30 page special section on Artificial Intelligence was new to us. The contributors generally got into too much detail in discussing their own narrow areas of research. I also was disappointed in that it seemed outdated. For example, there was no mention of IBM’s TrueNorth chip, or the areas that the Watson computer was now exploring. One comment I did find interesting was under Machine Learning. It noted that for many applications, “…it is easier to train a system by showing it examples of desired input-output behavior than to program it manually…”

    Just as an aside, this was on AOL yesterday. Rene Anand, an Ohio State professor who worked on a project of growing a human brain said: “The power of this brain model bodes very well for human health because it gives us better and more relevant options to test and develop therapeutics other than rodents,” Anand said. The brain, engineered from adult human skin cells and grown in a dish for 15 weeks, is about the size of a pencil eraser, according to the university. It has the maturity of a 5-week-old fetal brain, and contains 99 percent of the genes in a fully developed human fetal brain. “If we let it go to 16 or 20 weeks, that might complete it, filling in that 1 percent of missing genes,” Anand said. “We don’t know yet.” “…his model has everything except a vascular system: a spinal cord, “all major regions of the brain,” multiple cell types, circuitry and even a retina. Ethical issues weren’t a concern, he added. “We don’t have any sensory stimuli entering the brain. This brain is not thinking in any way.”

    And here we thought that we were already having trouble getting our minds around a computer emulating a brain, whereas this is growing the biological brain itself! Could the “sensori stimuli” in future brain models come from a computer? Also, when they stopped the brain growth, were they essentially aborting a fetus? Note that none of this work has been validated by other researchers. And it is not unheard of for scientists to greatly exaggerate their claims! But the whole thing seems mind boggling. Without a skull, could the brain become much larger? And can its life be infinite with the addition of fresh human skin cells?

  5. Albert Says:

    Hi Warren,

    In your opinion based on the recent global market decline and oil prices crashing are we headed for a global depression? Do you think this is just a small market correction or a more extended down turn based on the recent economic data from around the world and the U.S.? Have we really escaped a depression based on the Feds and central world bankers policy over the last 5 years or did they just create a bigger bubble that is about to explode?

  6. wbrussee Says:

    Albert asks:
    In your opinion … are we headed for a global depression?

    I have no crystal ball, but I do not think that the US is headed for a depression. China probably is, which I predicted several months ago in update #2. But the US should continue to grow slowly, affected by the outside world but not destroyed by it because of our moves towards automation, renewable energy, and starting to rebuild our infrastructure. We have never been in a better position to isolate ourselves from the economies of the world around us. The stock market right now is reflecting world markets, which can affect US investors to some degree. But the stock market is not the same as our economy.

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