In this second part of the implications of artificial intelligence segment, we take a look at what is intelligence and can computers think, reason, and learn.
It was 1996. IBM’s “Deep Blue” supercomputer was to do battle with reigning world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, using standard rules of chess. Spoiler alert. Deep Blue won its first game against Kasparov on February 10, 1996, when it defeated him in the first game of a six-game match. Kasparov, however, rallied and won the next three, then drew two of the five games, ultimately defeating Big Blue by a score of 4 to 2. A year later, Big Blue was upgraded and this time defeating the reigning world champion narrowly.
Bear in mind, this was over twenty years ago. Computer processing capabilities were in the stone ages compared to where they are today, and today’s computing will follow the same fate with the future.
Was the computer thinking? Well if we consider thought to be the ability to reason correctly for the purpose of achieving some future goal, then yes. But was this reasoning ability trained by humans to reason well? Sure enough. But isn’t that the same thing our parents and teachers do when we are in our formative years (and beyond)? Perhaps the biggest difference is that humans teach other humans a mix of rational and irrational thought process whereas computers are thought “pure reason” much in the spirit of Mr. Spock in Star Trek.
For me what’s interesting is whether teaching a computer or teaching a human is fundamentally different. And whether the hardware and software used to think, reason, and learn is fundamentally different in how it processes information. What neuroscientists and computer scientists tell me — and I must defer to them for I am neither — is that computers were created by people and therefore the human way of reasoning was built into each of them. Whether this was conscious or not is a matter of debate and an important one. What both have in common is that they both learn through induction and inference. The chief difference is how the emotional content and influence on human behavior can cloud our ability to learn and reason. Computers have no such capability. Just imagine if they did! There would likely be no reason for this conversation if they could. And would we really want to rely on them to run our power grid, airline traffic, or our satellite communications? Then again, if all satellite communications crashed for a few hours it all could be attributable to the computers having a “bad day”.
I think we’re better off with computers has purely intellectual devices.
Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com