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Howard Yee

Software Engineer @ Rubenstein Technology Group,


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Can technology replace human intelligence?

This week in my Bioelectricity class we learned about extracellular fields. One facet of the study of extracellular field I find interesting is the determination of the field from a known source (AKA the Forward Problem) versus the determination of the source from a known field (AKA the Inverse Problem). Whereas the forward problem is simple and solutions may be obtained through calculations, the inverse problem poses a problem. The lack of uniqueness to the inverse problem means the solution requires interpretation, which may be subjective. We may also apply a mechanism for the interpretation; this mechanism is known as an AI. However, this facet of AI (document classification) is only the surface of the field.

Damon Horowitz gave a recent presentation at TEDxSoMa called “Why machines need people”. In it, he says that AI can never approach the intelligence of humans. He gives examples of AI systems, like classification and summarization. He explains that those systems are simply “pattern matching” without any intelligence behind them. If true, perhaps the subjective interpretation of inverse problems is welcomed over the dumb classification. Through experience, the interpreters may have more insight than one can impart on an algorithm.

However, what Damon failed to mention was that most of those AI systems built to do small tasks is known as weak AI. There is a whole other field of study for strong AI, whose methods of creating intelligence is much more than “pattern matching”. Proponents of strong AI believe that human intelligence can be replicated. Of course we are a long way off from seeing human-level AI. What makes human intelligence hard to replicate? Can it be simulated? What if we created a model of the human brain, would it be able to think?

Related Videos (not on Ted):
“Why Machines need People”


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    Mar 8 2012: I think you are forgetting one thing.The technology that you are talking about was made of human brain.so why are you comparing the builder and the building.It is clear that the builder is supreme.

    And the technology may have knowledge but it lacks wisdom.Anything is not worth which dosnt have wisdom.

    Our brain has both knowledge and wisdom.It is clear that our brain is stronger than all those circuts and the artificial intelligence.

    At last the answer is
    1.technology cannot think among situations
    2.it cannot replace human brain
    3.technology may be smart but that smartness was created by the smartest.OUR BRAIN
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      Mar 8 2012: What is wisdom? What is wisdom comprised of? Can we have an artificial system have what wisdom is comprised of? Why or why not?

      How is a brain stronger than a circuit or computer program? We can emulate neurons with a computer, and with enough processing power we can emulate all of the neurons in a human brain. Does that emulation have this "wisdom" you speak of. If you claim it's different, what makes it different?

      1. what is "think", what makes "thinking" a uniquely human thing? If we consider a human a black box function, can we not make an artificial system that can replace the human in that black box?
      2. What makes you say that it cannot replace the human brain? We understand how neurons work. We can emulate neurons successfully, what is preventing us from making that leap to a full human brain?
      3. We create tools, tools do work, we are not better than the tools because we cannot do the work without the tools. Just because we are the originators of the tool does not mean we encapsulate the power of the tool. An artist can draw, but he/she may not have the skills to create a pencil. We may have potential to do something, but simply having potential does not make it kinetic.
      • Mar 8 2012: I fully agree with you, in future it is quite possible that new inventions will appear , equipped with more strength and brain power. There is no reason why a robot cannot behave like a human . How do we characterize human .
        We have 5 major senses seeing, smell, hearing, touching and speech but robots with even better power can be designed ,they can be even powered by infra red senses, ultrasonics and low frequency hearing , far more sight vision and so on.
        By wisdom we mean our ability to judge the right and wrong , again even better artificial design programs can be made which can replace that intelligence.
        No doubt there might be errors in those programs , there might be malwares , just like we have villains in real life. It's here where the problem lies the words like pain, joy , compassion are purely human which makes human life unique in all species.
        Development of artificial intelligence without their ability to recognize and respect human values can be fatal to the human race.

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