April 1st, 2006

running lego man

Artificial Intelligence - why would you want it?

Obviously, lots of reasons.  But in the meantime, Bruce Sterling makes some very good points:

Computers are not "smart," in any useful sense of that term. They don't "think." They don't have "intelligence." Computers don't "know" things and they don't have any literal "memories." They're not artificially intelligent sci-fi beings like HAL 9000. Computers are boxes of circuitry, with strings, and slots for the strings. They are not alive and mentally active, they are just sitting there, ordinating. What is "ordinating," exactly? Well, if we'd invested our attention in figuring that out, instead of awkwardly struggling to make these devices think like a human brain does, then we would have successfully explored the very large set of interesting problems that computers turned out to be really good at

When I think about it: do I really WANT some classical Artificial Intelligence computer that can talk to me just like Alan Turing? Or do I prefer Google? Imagine two start-up companies. One of 'em has got Alan Turing's disembodied talking head inside a box, but no search engines. In the other company, they have no AI, but they get to use Google. Which company out-competes the other? One company asks: where do I find a cheap supplier? In response, they get a really genius math lecture by Alan Turing. Alan is really sincere about it, he's really thinking hard about the problem of supply, there inside his box. The other company has Google, so in about ten seconds they not only find a supplier but all kinds of massively popular links to other suppliers. Which company wins?

the rest is here.