[ExI] fun outsider's view on ai

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Mon May 9 16:27:24 UTC 2016

On Mon, May 9, 2016 at 10:44 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> Nothing particularly profound or insightful in this AI article, but it is
> good clean fun:
> https://aeon.co/essays/true-ai-is-both-logically-possible-and-utterly-implausible?utm_source=Aeon+Newsletter&utm_campaign=6469cf0d50-Daily_Newsletter_9_May_20165_9_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_411a82e59d-6469cf0d50-68957125

Yeah, not bad. Mostly on the mark, IMO, but he says a few things that are
just not rational.

He reminds me a little of Roger Penrose’s take on the subject from a long
> time ago: he introduces two schools of thought, pokes fun at both while
> offering little or no evidence or support, then reveals he is pretty much a
> follower of one of the two: the Church of AI-theists.

To be fair, he says both camps are wrong and the truth is probably
somewhere in between. And I agree.

> There are plenty of AI-theists, but nowhere have I ever seen a really good
> argument for why we can never simulate a neuron and a dendrite and
> synapses.  Once we understand them well enough, we can write a sim of one.
> We already have sims of complicated systems, such as aircraft, nuclear
> plants and such.  So why not a brain cell?   And if so, why not two, and
> why not a connectome and why can we not simulate a brain?  I have been
> pondering that question for over 2 decades and have still never found a
> good reason.  That puts me in Floridi-dismissed Church of the
> Singularitarian.

Yeah, his "True AI is not logically impossible, but it is utterly
implausible" doesn't seem to be based on reality.

I'm neither a Singularitarian nor an AItheist. I think human-level AI is
inevitable, if President Trump doesn't manage to wipe out the human race
first :-). But I don't buy the notion that super intelligence is akin to a
superpower, and don't think it's necessary for an AI to have consciousness,
human-like emotions, or the ability to set its own goals, and without those
there is no need to fear them.

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