AI is at maximum hype. But the techniques powering AI are like a Monkey’s Paw: they do exactly what you ask of them plus many other unintended consequences. Keeping the “why” in mind is paramount to the success of a project, notes Daniel Blackburn.
Q&A: The techniques powering AI are a Monkey’s Paw – be careful SPECIAL
LISTEN | PRINTBy Tim Sandle 2 hours ago in TechnologyAI is at maximum hype. But the techniques powering AI are like a Monkey’s Paw: they do exactly what you ask of them plus many other unintended consequences. Keeping the “why” in mind is paramount to the success of a project, notes Daniel Blackburn.
Human tendency is to ask “what” before “why” when solving for a problem or creating a solution. However, specific to machine cognition, the why is more important than the what in order to ensure that the reasoning and mission behind any efforts are rooted in intention and are not gone into blindly.According to Daniel Blackburn, data scientist at Globant, keeping the “why” in mind is paramount to the success of a project – guiding the team to build with intention and constraining unintended consequences that come from machines learning on their own. Blackburn explains ‘how’ in our special interview.
Digital Journal: How advanced is AI becoming?
Daniel Blackburn: Machines have been “smart” in a narrow sense for a long time. Pocket calculators have been around since the 1970’s, and to this day, are faster than us and perfectly accurate. In 1997, Deep Blue demonstrated that computers can beat us at our own games. However, in the last decade, advances in machine learning have made AI pervasive in everyday life.Take the example of autonomous cars. Today, smart vehicles can maintain their lanes on highways and be summoned in parking lots. Cars aren’t yet driving themselves from pickup to destination, but I wouldn’t bet against it becoming available on the market in the next decade, given the advancements we’re seeing. The question, now, is how might society change when a workforce of millions is no longer needed in our transportation system?
DJ: Is AI true ‘intelligence’?
Blackburn: There’s an underlying question of “what is intelligence?” Defining intelligence has become a moving goalpost, but at a high level, intelligence depends on what we consider an intelligent being and is based on anything that intelligent being can do. This “intelligent being” doesn’t need to “understand” in a deep sense, but does need to operate on that premise.