Share a specific passage that left an impression, good or bad, or was surprising?

Posted January 4, 2020 by ilee

Was there a specific passage that left an impression, good or bad, or was surprising?    Share the passage and its effect.


Submitted by sgibbs on Sat, 01/04/2020 - 18:20 · Permalink

page 11 (Hofstadter) "was terrified that intelligence, creativity, emotions, and maybe even consciousness itself would be too easy to produce -- that what he valued most in humanity would end up being nothing more than a 'bag of tricks' that a superficial set of brute-force algorithms could explain the human spirit."

This passage was very surprising to me - if anything worries me about AI, it is that we are developing something that will have many unintended and unforeseen consequences that we will not recognize quickly enough to prevent harm (like deep fake videos that can influence public opinion and voting).  I don't think the things I value about humanity are a "bag of tricks" that can be easily reproduced.  

Submitted by krisbeck on Sun, 01/05/2020 - 13:18 · Permalink

The passage that really resonated with me is the very last section of chapter one, Easy Things Are Hard. 

This is just super interesting to me because I think it is so true in so many different spheres. 

The complexity of what we do unconsciously is really amazing!

Submitted by ilee on Sun, 01/05/2020 - 14:08 · Permalink

The line I put a star next to as I read was (pg 30)

"a perceptron's weights and thresholds don't stand for particular concepts. It's not easy to translate these numbers into rules that are understandable by humans." 

Right, it's like the algorithm for weighting the links (say for image recognition) is just accumulating some estimate of the importance of a certain set of pixels (positions in the image).  It doesn't have any idea of what those pixels represent (whether they are part of a number "8" or even part of a closed loop).

Submitted by Miriam Niebla on Sun, 01/05/2020 - 15:36 · Permalink

I have 2 quotes that I wrote down, and I apologize that they may not be written verbatim, I have the audible book, and difficult to refer back to things at times.....

The first quote is part of the deep mind group mission statement: "...solve intelligence, and use it to solve everything else."  I found this interesting, since we still struggle to even define, much less solve,intelligence.  Although I think I understand what is meant at its core, this statement left me with mixed feelings.  I feel encouraged that our pursuit of AI like our understanding and pursuit of intelligence will be be a never ending process that will allow us to explore more deeply what it means to be human.  I am also terrified by the process, labeling, limits of language, potential misinterpretations, agendas, and human fallibility that will all play a part. What implications will if have for the value of life in general if everything can be reduced to sequences of 1s and 0s.  These thoughts and fears are well communicated in the next quote, which Sue hit on as well...."if such....minds... can be trivialized into a simple chip, it would destroy my sense of what humanity is about".  So we come to a historically familiar crossroads.... should we explore a potentially irreversibly detrimental path, or abandon ship for fear of what we might discover? 

Submitted by Kelly Powers on Sun, 01/05/2020 - 15:46 · Permalink

For my passage, I was blown away by the fact that this work in AI started early on . The ideas expressed in 1958 are those that we are beginning to see in reality today. To be able to have this foresight almost 62 years ago is mind blowing and quite surprising. 

“Reporting on a press conference Rosenblatt held in July 1958, The New York Times featured this recap: The Navy revealed the embryo of an electronic computer today that it expects will be able to walk, talk, see, write, reproduce itself, and be conscious of its existence. Later perceptrons will be able to recognize people and call out their names and instantly translate speech in one language to speech and writing in another language, it was predicted."