How to Build Self-Conscious Artificial Intelligence

Hugh Howey – Wired

The title of this article is a bit of a false flag, since it could easily have continued ‘… and why that would be a really bad idea’. It is though an interesting – though considerably longer – complement to the argument that the idea of general artificial intelligence is based on a false analogy between human brains and computers. This article takes the related but distinct approach that self-consciousness exists as compensation for structural faults in human brains, particularly driven by the fact that having a sophisticated theory of mind is a useful evolutionary trait and that it would be pointless (rather than impossible) to replicate that – because perhaps the most notable thing about human introspection about consciousness is how riddled it is with error and self-contradiction. That being so, AI will continue to get more powerful and sophisticated. But it won’t become more human, because it makes no sense to make it so.

 

204 examples of artificial intelligence in action

Chris Yiu

This is a page of links which provides over two hundred examples of artificial intelligence in action – ranging from mowing the lawn, through managing hedge funds and sorting cucumbers all the way to writing AI software. Without clicking a single one of the links, it provides a powerful visual indicator of how pervasive AI has already become. There is inevitably a bit of a sense of never mind the quality, feel the width – but the width is itself impressive, and the quality is often racing up as well.

There is a linked twitter account which retweets AI-related material – though in a pleasing inversion, it shows every sign of being human-curated.

Mind the gap

Charlotte Augst – Kaleidoscope Health

One ever present risk in thinking strategically is to be too strategic. Or rather, to be too abstract, losing sight of the messiness of today in the excitement of the far tomorrows. Convincing strategies address recognisable problems (even if making the problems recognisable is part of the strategic process) and, perhaps most importantly, convincing strategies get to the future by starting in the present. There is no value in the most glorious of futures if you can’t get there from here.

This post is a brilliant example of why that is. How, it asks, with clearsighted perspective of very personal experience, can we hope to deliver a future strategy without understanding and addressing the gap between where we are and where we want to be?

Ethics and ethicists

Ellen Broad

This is a short tweet thread making the point that ethics in AI – and in technology generally – needs to be informed by ethical thinking developed in other contexts (and over several millenia). That should be so obvious as to be hardly worth saying, but it has often become one of those questions which people doing new things fall into the trap of believing themselves to be solving for the first time.