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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 11 2012: "Can technology replace human intelligence?" - questions like this put an end to that result. Human experience is a lot more about family, love, and other random mushy stuff. So mechanically speaking a superficially sentimental human could be recreated. No matter how deep the machine gets it will never get deep enough to reach the core of what is beyond the artificial. Anyway, back to skynet (-;
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      Mar 11 2012: From what you know, what do you think the "core" is? When you say "artificial", what do you think it means? Artificial doesn't mean it's any lesser than the reference. Artificial simply means its source is not the same as the reference.

      Say we have the technology to grow hearts in-vitro, we would call it an artificial heart. If we use that heart in a person, is that heart any lesser than the original heart? Is that person then any lesser than he/she was before?

      You mention human experience; can we not replicate the systems that would enable machines to process the same experiences? In philosophy, this experience is called qualia. Can you state without a doubt that qualia is something only inherent in human beings? If it is only inherent in human beings, what processes does the human have that can process qualia and why is the process something we cannot reproduce?

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