Artificial Stupidity

I’ve been involved in the fringes of artificial intelligence since the mid-1980s. Anyone else remember expert systems, and hardware like Symbolics, LMI and the famed Texas Instrument Explorer workstations? Of course it was over sold and then came the A.I. “nuclear winter”. But in the late 1980s the backpropagation algorithm was a big step forward. Not much has changed since then, except everything (hardware, data) got bigger.

While progress chugged along as it usually does, every decade or so the A.I. world gets picked up by the popular press and the popular imagination. I would say today’s image and chatBot work is impressive, but lack of accuracy will limit its use. This has always been the case with these sorts of technologies and the application areas they seek to address.

My prediction: A.I. will lead to very annoying new forms of spam as well as inferior forms of entertainment. It will also change the way we interact. Imagine the following office scenario:

Employee gathers a few bits of data, feeds them to an A.I. and produces a long, complex document. Employee sends out document to peers and management and perhaps a wider audience. Nobody reads it. Instead they send it to an A.I. summarizer which gives back a few simple sentences. A.I. will become the middle man that will simultaneously explode and condense our information flows. That is my prediction.

The Important Pundit’s Tales…of TERROR!

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