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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Real Problems with AI

Nicely put.  Precisely its algorithms translated into decisions regarding important processes.   The right decisions.  Unbiased,  but also better, faster, cheaper. 

The Real Problem With AI       By Bertrand Meyer in ACM

Some of the current debates around artificial intelligence (AI) are baffling. I am not sure what philosophers have to contribute, and the fears of  "machines taking over humans" sound like stuff for science-fiction novels or late-night party musings rather than anything that threatens us now. Especially since real threats do exist, more concrete and more scary. And more mundane.

The problem with AI is not the metaphysical risk that machines will deprive us of our free will. The problem with AI is the practical risk that even with our free will we start trusting our decisions to algorithms, and they make the wrong decisions.

Serious discussion is hard because we are often in the domain of magical thinking rather than reason. People seem to understand "AI" as an abracadabra that will miraculously get the right answers. Sorry to disappoint (in fact, not sorry at all -- that is our role): AI is algorithms. Or, to paraphrase a famous saying, "It's algorithms, stupid!", not to be confused with  "it is stupid algorithms." The algorithms can be very smart, but they are still just algorithms conceived and implemented by humans. Like always, the algorithms have limitations, and the implementations often have bugs. Also, they need data, which can be erroneous, too (as anyone knows who has ever used a GPS navigator and been told "turn left" into a closed street or worse). ..... "

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