Much of what allays our fears about the ‘rise of the machine‘ depends on knowing that there are some functions that machines can’t replicate. In this piece from Salon, Sam Natapoff, President of Empire Global Ventures, looks at the magnificent commercial possibilities of AI, while also studying its limitations. Essentially, if humans can’t codify a feeling, thought or motive, machines can’t learn them. It is this knowledge with which we should guide AI’s development.
Artificial intelligence, the capacity of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior, now exists as a significant feature in our lives and is increasing rapidly in scale and scope. At its heart, AI poses the question of whether data can create significance and whether artificial intelligence can lead to wisdom and even consciousness. As a technological force, AI is inherently disruptive and creates an opportunity to rethink and restructure massive areas of human life, commerce, and culture.
The intelligence of AI is distinct from natural, human intelligence. Computers are alluring. Theirs is the ability to operate at fantastic speeds, completing tasks that would take humans hours in a fraction of the time. AI is capable of being precisely and tirelessly focused on a complex task with multiple inputs, with repetitive iteration, until it is completed, in a fashion of which humans are simply incapable.
Current AI development has created a conflict between science, business and ethics — what the technology is capable of, where it could go, or even whether its development should continue.