[deep learning] algorithms make decisions by training itself to recognize deeply buried patterns and correlations connecting scattered data
So how does deep learning do this? Fundamentally, these algorithms use massive amounts of data from a specific domain to make a decision that optimizes for a desired outcome. It does this by training itself to recognize deeply buried patterns and correlations connecting the many data points to the desired outcome. This pattern-finding process is easier when the data is labeled with that desired outcome—“cat” versus “no cat”; “clicked” versus “didn’t click”; “won game” versus “lost game.” It can then draw on its extensive knowledge of these correlations—many of which are invisible or irrelevant to human observers—to make better decisions than a human could. Doing this requires massive amounts of relevant data, a strong algorithm, a narrow domain, and a concrete goal. If you’re short any one of these, things fall apart. Too little data? The algorithm doesn’t have enough examples to uncover meaningful correlations. Too broad a goal? The algorithm lacks clear benchmarks to shoot for in optimization. Deep learning is what’s known as “narrow AI”—intelligence that takes data from one specific domain and applies it to optimizing one specific outcome. While impressive, it is still a far cry from “general AI,” the all-purpose technology that can do everything a human can. Deep learning’s most natural application is in fields like insurance and making loans. Relevant data on borrowers is abundant (credit score, income, recent credit-card usage), and the goal to optimize for is clear (minimize default rates). Taken one step further, deep learning will power self-driving cars by helping them to “see” the world around them—recognize patterns in the camera’s pixels (red octagons), figure out what they correlate to (stop signs), and use that information to make decisions (apply pressure to the brake to slowly stop) that optimize for your desired outcome (deliver me safely home in minimal time). People are so excited about deep learning precisely because its core power—its ability to recognize a pattern, optimize for a specific outcome, make a decision—can be applied to so many different kinds of everyday problems.
We are still the masters of our fate. Rational thinking, even assisted by any conceivable electronic computors, cannot predict the future. All it can do is to map out the probability space as it appears at the present and which will be different tomorrow when one of the infinity of possible states will have materialized. Technological and social inventions are broadening this probability space all the time; it is now incomparably larger than it was before the industrial revolution—for good or for evil.
The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.
It was man’s ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The mental processes of inventions are still mysterious. They are rational but not logical, that is to say, not deductive.
Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion’, and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.
Social media has given everyone a virtual megaphone to broadcast every thought, along with the means to filter out any contrary view [...] The result is a creeping sense of isolation and emptiness, which leads people to swipe, tap, and click all the more. Digital distraction keeps the mind occupied but does little to nurture it, much less cultivate depth of feeling, which requires the resonance of another’s voice within our very bones and psyches.
Moravec's paradox is the observation by artificial intelligence and robotics researchers that, contrary to traditional assumptions, reasoning (which is high-level in humans) requires very little ...