Mything the point: The AI renaissance is simply expensive hardware and PR thrown at an old idea

www.theregister.co.uk | 11/6/2018 | Staff
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Comment For the last few years the media has been awash with hyperbole about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies. It could be said that never, in the field of computer science, have so many ridiculous things been said by so many people in possession of so little relevant expertise. For anyone engaged in cutting-edge hardware in the 1980s, this is puzzling.

In this month's issue of The Atlantic, the high-profile intellectual and best-selling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, Yuval Harari, describes the impact that AI will have on democracy. What is perhaps most interesting about this article is Dr Harari's extraordinary faith in the capabilities of current AI technologies. He describes Google-stablemate DeepMind's chess software as being "creative", "imaginative", and even in possession of "genius instincts".

BBC - Joy - AI - Finds - Professor

Meanwhile, the BBC's The Joy of AI documentary finds Professor Jim Al-Khalili and DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis describing how an apparently artificially intelligent system has "made a genuine discovery", "can actually come up with a new idea", and has developed "strategies that it has intuited by itself".

With such a torrent of exaggerations and anthropomorphisms being used to describe what are, essentially, dumb and mechanistic systems, now could be a good time for some kind of back-to-basics hardware reality check.

Discussions - Computer - Technologies - Myths - Metaphors

Discussions about computer technologies tend to be conducted via myths, metaphors, and human interpretations of what is presented to us via the computer screen. Metaphors such as "intuition", "creativity", and novel "strategies" are part of an emerging mythology. AI pundits identify patterns in its game moves and call them "strategies", but the neural-network has no idea what a "strategy" is. If there really is any "creativity" here, it is the creativity of DeepMind researchers who devise and manage the processes that train the systems.

Today's AI systems are trained through a massive amount of automated trial...
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