Kissinger on AI

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Henry Kissinger speculates on how the Enlightenment ends, writing that "my experience as a historian and occasional practicing statesman gave me pause" in, among other things, AI learning to play Go:

The internet age in which we already live prefigures some of the questions and issues that AI will only make more acute. The Enlightenment sought to submit traditional verities to a liberated, analytic human reason. The internet's purpose is to ratify knowledge through the accumulation and manipulation of ever expanding data. Human cognition loses its personal character. Individuals turn into data, and data become regnant.

"Heretofore confined to specific fields of activity," Kissinger writes, "AI research now seeks to bring about a "generally intelligent" AI capable of executing tasks in multiple fields:"

A growing percentage of human activity will, within a measurable time period, be driven by AI algorithms. But these algorithms, being mathematical interpretations of observed data, do not explain the underlying reality that produces them.

Despite the "extraordinary benefits to medical science, clean-energy provision, environmental issues, and many other areas" that Kissinger envisions from AI, he also foresees problems:

But precisely because AI makes judgments regarding an evolving, as-yet-undetermined future, uncertainty and ambiguity are inherent in its results. There are three areas of special concern:

First, that AI may achieve unintended results. [...]

Second, that in achieving intended goals, AI may change human thought processes and human values. [...]

Third, that AI may reach intended goals, but be unable to explain the rationale for its conclusions. [...]

Those areas are little different from the same activities performed by humans, though--which Kissinger studiously ignores in favor of excessive hand-wringing.

Enlightenment started with essentially philosophical insights spread by a new technology. Our period is moving in the opposite direction. It has generated a potentially dominating technology in search of a guiding philosophy.

I guess we need more philosophers, then--contrary to what Marco Rubio might say.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on May 15, 2018 8:43 AM.

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