Page 1 of 1

Battle for the soul of reality: Humans v Computers!

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:17 am
by brian
Feb 15, 2011: NY Times A Fight to Win the Future: Computers vs. Humans
  • At the dawn of the modern computer era, two Pentagon-financed laboratories bracketed Stanford University. At one laboratory, a small group of scientists and engineers worked to replace the human mind, while at the other, a similar group worked to augment it.
    There has been a battle for the past four decades between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation — A.I. versus I.A. — it has been at the heart of progress in computing science as the field has produced a series of ever more powerful technologies that are transforming the world.
    The implications of progress in A.I. are being brought into sharp relief now by the broadcasting of a recorded competition pitting the I.B.M. computing system named Watson against the two best human Jeopardy players, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter
See the full article: A Fight to Win the Future: Computers vs. Humans

On a similar note, BE SURE to read from Wired magazine 2004 article by Bill Joy Why the future doesn't need us. which includes
THE NEW LUDDITE CHALLENGE (see the article for the author)
    • First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in developing intelligent machines that can do all things better than human beings can do them. In that case presumably all work will be done by vast, highly organized systems of machines and no human effort will be necessary. Either of two cases might occur. The machines might be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human oversight, or else human control over the machines might be retained.

      If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can't make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines' decisions.

      As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decisions for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better results than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.

      On the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car or his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite - just as it is today, but with two differences.
      Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless they may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the elite consists of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure his "problem."

      Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or make them "sublimate" their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they will most certainly not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.
See Why the future doesn't need us.

Re: Battle for the soul of reality: Humans v Computers!

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:29 pm
by PaulM
In related news, an IBM server matrix called 'Watson' just WHIPPED BUTT on Jeopardy, pretty much slaughtering two human ex-champions, both of whom had won MILLIONS of dollars previously on Jeopardy.

Had either human contestant brought a cup of coffee, and applied it in the right place at a critical moment, the future of mankind might have been very diffeernt ...

Re: Battle for the soul of reality: Humans v Computers!

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:14 pm
by brian
Feb 16, 2011: Watson triumphs in Jeopardy's man vs. machine challenge
IBM's supercomputer crushes human opponents on third night of the TV game show challenge
  • Like there was ever any question. One of the factors in chess, Jeopardy, Scrabble and other games is that there is more than simple 'who's smartest' going on. There is also an abundance of psychological gamesmanship going on. But when you play a computer, there is no head games. It's bits n bytes, on and off, AND instantaneous response. With the speed of modern computers the computer has made billions of logical decisions in milliseconds. It must have been humbling and humiliating for the 'humans' who actually had to think!
In the third night of man vs. machine on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer trounced its champion opponents.
  • After a slow start that saw the computer's human opponents Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter outpacing Watson, the supercomputer made a decisive comeback. At the end of the final game, Watson came away with the big win, racking up a total of $77,147, compared to $24,000 for Jennings and $21,600 for Rutter.
    In the show's IBM Challenge, the machine may have faltered in a few categories, but was faster to the buzzer and more knowledgeable than the game show's human champions.
What's so significant here? It's the computer's ability to deliver more than calculations and documents. It can answer verbal questions posed by humans. That, say IBM researchers and industry analysts, makes this machine more equipped than any before it to verbally converse with people.
"The big step here is in the machine being able to 'understand' the questions and the context," Olds said. "In simple terms, the hard part is to get the machine to be able to effectively judge the intent behind the questions -- to decipher the word tricks that humans intuitively understand."
See the full article: Watson triumphs in Jeopardy's man vs. machine challenge