Can We Really Trust Artificial Intelligence?

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While calculation is not consciousness, my continuing interest in artificial intelligence leads me to wonder just what computer algorithms can do in terms of interpreting what is known today as “big data” – and where it might lead us.

My interest in the potential consequences of machines evaluating the information in other machines came to light a few weeks ago when I travelled out of state. While getting gas the pump malfunctioned and I moved to another pump to finish fuelling.

Then my credit card was turned down and I had to call the company. In addition, a possible “fraud alert” came in to my email. Since the pump malfunction had been odd I thought maybe I had been hacked, but when I called the company it turned out that there was no fraud at all – the “computers” had just decided that my anomaly was irregular enough to warrant inconveniencing me by shutting off my credit.

When I complained about this the fraud person said simply, “It’s our policy. If the software triggers an alert we have to act.” It reminded me of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s famous comment when asked why the banks needed an $800 billion bailout in 2007.

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He said, “The computers told us.”

The problem is that much of this “artificial intelligence” is unfounded, unproven, and just plain wrong. Just as there had been no fraud on my credit card, just a glitch at a gas pump – but how do you hold a computer program accountable?

Companies like MetaMind specialize in what is known as “Deep Learning” – using software algorithms to analyze the data that comes in.

Says Bloomberg Business News:

“The company has put free A.I. online for two reasons, [founder] Socher says: to attract clients for its customization business and to feed data to its servers so the software can keep learning. ‘As we explore and observe people using the platform, I think the platform will get smarter and smarter,’ he says.”

Here the program provides a score for how closely related two sentences are:

One of my early forays into this field of data analysis led me to the latest in “search” – and I discovered a startup called Twine – touting the future of the “Semantic Web” – so I was wondering what its CEO, Nova Spivak, is up to these days.

His new venture, Bottlenose, specializes in “Trend Intelligence” – or analyzing what is capturing the bulk of attention on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. From the site:

“[We can help] discover developing trends and get early-warnings about breaking news and emerging hot topics. Track what’s trending in your industry and among your customers to gain first-mover advantage.”

“One of the top US Cable TV networks used Bottlenose to detect and discover breaking news stories around celebrities and entertainment. Bottlenose showed them all the topics, people, photos and stories that are emerging and trending in real-time.”

One of the main applications of these kinds of algorithms is to monitor social media for references to a client’s product or service and uncover either very positive or negative references; this is part of reputation management.

Mako – the program behind the video at the top of the article – is a subscription based software package that promises that you can trash your keyboard – it lets you control your computer with your voice. This is certainly not entirely new; Naturally Speaking from Dragon has accomplished similar tasks, but the introduction of AI to voice recognition puts us into a new paradigm.

Harvard Business Review published a piece on AI for business in March. One of the insights was that “an early analytics insight at Osco Pharmacy uncovered that people who bought beer also bought diapers. But because this insight was counter-intuitive and discovered by a machine, they didn’t do anything with it. But now companies have needs for greater productivity than human quants can address or fathom. They have models with 50,000 variables. These systems are moving from augmenting humans to automating decisions.”

The HBR article mentions Watson, the IBM initiative that created the Jeopardy champion of champions using amazing search and analytic technology; the main application for Watson seems to be in medicine. Will the software carry malpractice insurance?

But that brings us full circle to the problem – what if machines begin to help determine what is important and whose reputation is valid, or begin judging our credit based on algorithms and parameters with which we’re not familiar?

Returning to the financial crisis of 2007, much of the problem centered on badly evaluated loan applications. In that situation banks were apparently approving loans based on misinformation and poor criteria. The question then becomes, would computers have fared any better?

And who is ultimately responsible or to be held accountable for these decisions?

The end user? The programmer? God? One thing is for sure – attorneys will make a fortune sorting it all out.

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17 comments
  1. I realize this is hard to fathom at this time, but if we have AI we had better have another paradigm besides greed-based money and competition as our foundations. Ideas like one upmanship such as “…customers to gain first-mover advantage” need to go or we’ll be the ones that will go. One thing that keeps getting ignored is the fascism that is rife in this country and the world. That means we will have the ones at the top who are hell-bent on destroying the world and controlling people. Just the attitude of Nova Spivak the CEO of Twine that you mentioned, should send chills down our back. With the power of computers and AI, we are in for some crazy times if we don’t change our consciousness to one of caring for life, every life. I don’t see that happening without a great rift from the present thinking.

  2. Artificial Intelligence does not “think”. It is just faster at taking data and seeing what slots it falls into in the program algorithms it has been given. Unfortunately, these algorithms are written by people who decide what these rules should be. The AI has no freedom to independently analyze the data and form its own conclusions on what actions to take.

    A true AI would be capable of forming original thoughts and make decisions based upon it’s personal “beliefs”. As of yet we do not understand how human thought and intelligence really works. Our thought processes are not the result of some mechanistic series of biological reactions. Where exactly does an original thought come from? What initiates the starting nerve impulses that allow us to move as our consciousness desires?

    I see in TB’s “About the Author” section the phrase, “Intro to the reality of higher intelligence within our cells, its meaning and Biocentrism as a new relativity.” The concepts found in Biocentrism and similar perspectives are the initial stages of a new paradigm shift in our understanding of how reality works. Physical reality and consciousness are intertwined in ways we do not understand, yet. With this in mind, I do not see how a true AI will ever be possible. Machines will never reach the point where they are “conscious”.

    1. how are we–the human being–any different from a machine, of course aside from being biological and much more complex?

  3. The obvious answer as to whether or not we can trust AI should be a resounding “Hell no!”. At least it is from me.

    Anything to give our power away to other people and/or things….

    Again, as the Pleiadians have said:

    “The robots need our help for a while at the beginning; after that, they no longer need us”

  4. Where is this”AI”? Intelligence? How can intelligence be artificial ?

    I think people are being confused by computers that can (steal)store massive amounts of data and are programmed to provide that data is not AI.That is data, programming and data retrieval.

    The banksters last crash was done purposefully, the only way to create money in a banks economic debt slavery system is to make it up. They made it up then crashed the market.
    Now we have housing bubble again they created it.
    Your federal reserve economy is fiction.
    Recessions are created by the banksters(and privately owned fed reserve )in order to transfer wealth.
    The market( media driven) creates trends.

    Watson medical treatment ( at the level of about 1st year med student ) was an IBM computer program to try to save money( banksters own insurance and they love cost cutting algorithms which have permeated medicine ). Used on high medical costs patients -they were trying to eliminate the training of an experienced human DR.
    Drs use insurance developed algorithms and they do not question them.

    I submit there is no such thing as AI. There are just super computers with lots of data storage and programming. Chasing this”AI” to save us instead of addressing problems( bankster created) is stupidity.
    AI is a trend that they planted as they own the media -they plant the trends or they harness the natural trends in humanity wanting change an end to the status quo.

    1. even government itself is a giant fiction, and a pretentious fiction at that. government is literally make-believe. in reality so-called “government” is simply a group of pretentious individuals whom value the subjectivity of like-minded individuals and–more importantly–their own subjectivity above all else, at the expense of everybody and everything. they–politicians and advocates of government–are actually children who really have _not_ grown up, children that still pretend and thus create chaos and violence and wreak havoc upon the world relentlessly. it disturbs me intensely and i find it somewhat perplexing that to this very day the masses have yet to realize the fact that “government” is _not_ consensual. nobody has ever sought your consent as to whether or not you wish to be governed, and nobody will, because “government” is _not_ consensual but rather a group of pretentious individuals imposing their will upon other individuals. “government” is socially sanctioned (or at least some individuals approve of “government”) rape. “government” does not tolerate individuality. “government” will tax you until the day you die, despite whether or not one utilizes their “social services”, even if somehow “government” can allegedly no longer afford to provide those social services… for god’s sake, really think about it!

      1. “The corporation” ( govt) serves the banking cabal, which it borrows “money” ( numbers on a screen) with interest and keeps the people in debt slavery. ignorance and thinking they have to give their authority to the corporation or society will break down to chaos.But society is chaotic and insane , a robbing, raping, killing mess.

        BOT
        What is intelligence? How is it or how can it be “artificial”? If you look into this one the “AI ilk” can’t even reach a decision on what intelligence is(ironic)

  5. [ Smiles ] I think that we are better off trusting our own intelligence instead of artificial intelligence; because the constant reliance on artificial intelligence will cause our own intelligence to become atrophied.

    1. There is intelligence.
      Data is not intelligence.
      Mainstream media ” celebrity intellectuals” spewing propaganda are not intelligent.
      Humanities collective intelligence has already atrophied into a conditioned(programmed) belief system.

      1. exactly, mary! even most humans aren’t intelligent. most of us are conditioned in various manners from an early age. for instance, you (renard moreau) probably believe government is consensual and extremely beneficial when in fact your consent has been assumed from the get go and the cost of government far outweighs any benefit.

  6. How do I patent and take ownership of my biocentric algorithm or whatever you want to call it so that whoever or whatever can no longer identify and exploit its use for unknown reasons?

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