Monday, March 21, 2016


I’m fascinated by Artificial Intelligence.  While it is rudimentary now, I have no doubt that in less time than we like to think, AI will go far beyond humans in capacity and will, in fact, control the world.

It is no surprise, therefore, that I found the lead article in this week’s Wall Street Journal Review compelling.  It is called “Machines That Will Think and Feel,” by David Gelernter.  Its subtitle is “Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy – and that should scare us.”

Start with a simple proposition: An average person has an IQ of 100.  Suppose we had AI software with IQs of 150 – or 500 – or 5,000?  There is no way we could keep up.  The idea that just because we created the software we could stay in control is preposterous.  No way.  As Gelernter says, “We don’t have the vaguest idea what an IQ of 5,000 would mean.”

Gelernter’s main thesis is that to think just because we humans are endowed with rationality, reasoning, logic and emotion – all of which may be beyond AI at the moment – doesn’t mean they will stay out of reach of AI in the future.  Why?  Because we humans have a need to build and understand.  We can’t help it.  We can’t stop ourselves.  It is in our DNA.  Superhuman machines are in our future whether we like it or not.

Good luck to us all!


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