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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Singularitarians, AItheists, and Why the Problem with Artificial Intelligence is Humanity At Large

By Luciano Floridi
The American Philosophical Association Newsletter
Spring 2015, Volume 14, Number 2, pp 8-11.

Here is an excerpt:

The success of our technologies largely depends on the fact that, while we were speculating about the possibility of true AI, we increasingly enveloped the world in so many devices, applications, and data that it became an IT-friendly environment, where technologies can replace us without having any understanding or semantic skills. Memory (as in algorithms and immense datasets) outperforms intelligence when landing an aircraft, finding the fastest route from home to the office, or discovering the best price for your next fridge. The BBC has made a two-minutes short animation to introduce the idea of a fourth revolution that is worth watching.  Unfortunately, like John Searle, it made a mistake in the end, equating “better at accomplishing tasks” with “better at thinking.” I never argued that digital technologies think better than us, but that they can do more and more things better than us by processing increasing amounts of data. What’s the difference? The same as between you and the dishwasher when washing the dishes. What’s the consequence? That any apocalyptic vision of AI is just silly. The serious risk is not the appearance of some superintelligence, but that we may misuse our digital technologies, to the detriment of a large percentage of humanity and the whole planet. We are and shall remain for the foreseeable future the problem, not our technology. We should be worried about real human stupidity, not imaginary artificial intelligence. The problem is not HAL but H.A.L., Humanity At Large.

The entire article is here.