The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

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morriswalters
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Wed May 13, 2015 7:50 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:Then people who think they hear the bullet that will get them are wasting their energy and tranquility, n'est-ce pas?
It's what we do as humans. We try and predict the future. The better we do it the more likely we will live to breed.
Tirian wrote:We survived the Ice Age, we survived the Dark Ages, we survived the Industrial Revolution, and we survived the Cold War. The argument that we won't survive the next crisis (be it unchecked automation or climate change or running out of fossil fuels) is compelling, but there is no historical or scientific evidence to support it.
Take your quote. The dinos lived until they didn't. Nothing in their history, assuming that they had the capacity, would have indicated that they would die when they did. We see what they couldn't. But it shouldn't be surprising that there are things out there that we won't see. Take the singularity. There is no way to know if in fact that it hasn't already occurred. There is no good and bad to that, it just is. And since there is no one mind in humankind, there is no choice involved, just the illusion of choice, about what direction humankind will move in. The whole purpose of wanting to know if the bullet is coming is to avoid it. The realization is that you can't, because you can't predict the future.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 15, 2015 3:25 am UTC

Isnt it a trivial truth to say that you will survive everything until you dont?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Fri May 15, 2015 9:46 am UTC

Yes. I was responding to to the idea that because we have always survived previous upheavals that we will survive the next.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 15, 2015 10:25 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tirian wrote:Then people who think they hear the bullet that will get them are wasting their energy and tranquility, n'est-ce pas?
It's what we do as humans. We try and predict the future. The better we do it the more likely we will live to breed.
Tirian wrote:We survived the Ice Age, we survived the Dark Ages, we survived the Industrial Revolution, and we survived the Cold War. The argument that we won't survive the next crisis (be it unchecked automation or climate change or running out of fossil fuels) is compelling, but there is no historical or scientific evidence to support it.
Take your quote. The dinos lived until they didn't. Nothing in their history, assuming that they had the capacity, would have indicated that they would die when they did. We see what they couldn't. But it shouldn't be surprising that there are things out there that we won't see. Take the singularity. There is no way to know if in fact that it hasn't already occurred. There is no good and bad to that, it just is. And since there is no one mind in humankind, there is no choice involved, just the illusion of choice, about what direction humankind will move in. The whole purpose of wanting to know if the bullet is coming is to avoid it. The realization is that you can't, because you can't predict the future.


IE, outside context problems are inherently unpredictable.

We're not guaranteed to survive anything, but paranoia about developing science won't keep us safe from unknown problems. And it WILL hinder our ability to deal with known problems.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Fri May 15, 2015 1:03 pm UTC

I'm not paranoid. I'm interested in a purely intellectual fashion. The trite reply to thinking about the future that technology drives us to, that we survived this or that, assumes that the next thing is precisely like the last. It isn't. The movement from buggies to cars says nothing about any other transition. And stopping innovation or science isn't going to happen. Why would you assume that it is even possible? Even if it turned out that we needed to, the basic makeup of humans means that someone, somewhere will use it anyway.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat May 16, 2015 1:40 pm UTC

https://medium.com/basic-income/self-dr ... 507d9c5961

Self-driving trucks are no longer the future. They are the present. They’re here.


Google shocked the world when it announced its self-driving car it’d already driven over 100,000 miles without accident. These cars have since driven over 1.7 million miles and have only been involved in 11 accidents, all caused by humans and not the computers.


Image
Map of the most common jobs in America, state-by-state. Article claims that USA's economy is not prepared for automated truck driving. I'm not entirely convinced by his argument but it seems like the evidence behind self-driving cars and self-driving trucks is solid. Self-driving cars are here, they're safer... and will change the economy as we know it.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tirian » Sat May 16, 2015 4:34 pm UTC

Yeah, I think the argument is overblown. The first page admits that half the people in the trucking industry aren't driving the trucks. They're probably the ones loading and emptying the trucks and maintaining the trucks, and their jobs aren't going anywhere. Then there are all of the trucks that can't be automated, because the drivers are the ones doing the unloading at the sites. (In fact, this page talks about that map of most common job and admits what your article does not -- that trucking and deliveries are lumped into the same category.) And the argument that the truck stop industry will get the second blow seems to ignore that these trucks will still need gas, and indeed will need new employees to pump that gas.

Still, automated vehicles are a real thing. I look forward to seeing how safe they are in weather, which California and Nevada do not have. A quick Google search tells me that the average accident rate in New York is 2-4 per million vehicle miles (depending on the road type), so Google's rate of under 1 is very compelling.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Mutex » Sat May 16, 2015 5:28 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:Yeah, I think the argument is overblown. The first page admits that half the people in the trucking industry aren't driving the trucks. They're probably the ones loading and emptying the trucks and maintaining the trucks, and their jobs aren't going anywhere. Then there are all of the trucks that can't be automated, because the drivers are the ones doing the unloading at the sites. (In fact, this page talks about that map of most common job and admits what your article does not -- that trucking and deliveries are lumped into the same category.) And the argument that the truck stop industry will get the second blow seems to ignore that these trucks will still need gas, and indeed will need new employees to pump that gas.


On top of that I don't see them letting automated trucks drive themselves all over the country without a human in the cab in case things go wrong for a long time. And those people will still need water and sleep, so all that infrastructure along the freeways will still be needed. By the time we trust these things to the point they need literally zero supervision the economy will have changed hugely anyway.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Zamfir » Sat May 16, 2015 5:43 pm UTC

The 2004 expansion of the EU was a good simulation of automated trucking, as impact on the Dutch economy (which has a large trucking sector). Firms could formally register themselves in eastern Europe and hire local drivers at local wages, significantly below Dutch minimum wage. At least for long-distance trucking, which also seems the obvious first target for automated trucks.

10 years later, there are very few Dutch long-distance truck drivers left - I don't expect that self-driving trucks will be implemented faster than that. Mercedes Benz talks about 2025 for the first commercially available trucks that drive themselves on highways, with a driver still present. They are less specific about unmanned trucks.

The economic results of the eastern European wave are not that clear. At the very least, it didn't end the economy as we know it. The logistics sector even warns about looming shortages and lack of young drivers to replace the approaching retirement wave. But the sector is known to be somewhat flexible with the truth. Unemployment figures for truck drivers are unclear. 40% of people trained as truck driver has another job, but that's not a new phenomenon. Long distance trucking always had people doing the work for some years, then moving on. Courier services and package delivery are on the rise, they might have absorbed some of the drivers that lost their jobs.

At a guess, that's how automated trucking will play out as well. Several decades where the technology spreads through various niches where it makes sense. Somewhat elevated unemployment, but also simply people moving to trucking niches that are less viable for automation. And to other jobs. Less young people moving into a less attractive field.

It's not like automated cars are the first labour saving device on the market. The whole 20th century was filled with such waves, where some sector or another moved to a less labour intensive technology.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 18, 2015 5:21 pm UTC

*shrug* Trains or ships are more efficient long-haul mechanism for bulk in general. I dare say that cargo has been moving to less drivers/cargo pound/miles for a good while anyway. It's a natural evolution of efficiency.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Wed May 20, 2015 5:50 pm UTC

Society can survive any one industry shedding jobs. The problem will only occur if all industries shed jobs near simultaneously - and society doesn't adopt more socialist policies to compensate.

It's like global warming: If the world warms at 0.05c per decade for the next 400 years, society will survive just fine - even if technology stayed unchanged. With global warming it's much more so the predicted rate of change that is the worry than any bottom-line figure.

And your guess is as good as mine on whether the next 50 years will produce that kind of breakneck revolution in employment. The fact it hasn't in the past is no guide to it not doing so in the future.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 20, 2015 7:23 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Society can survive any one industry shedding jobs. The problem will only occur if all industries shed jobs near simultaneously - and society doesn't adopt more socialist policies to compensate.


Yes, because socialist policies have ALWAYS fixed crappy economies...

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby eSOANEM » Thu May 21, 2015 7:26 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
elasto wrote:Society can survive any one industry shedding jobs. The problem will only occur if all industries shed jobs near simultaneously - and society doesn't adopt more socialist policies to compensate.


Yes, because socialist policies have ALWAYS fixed crappy economies...


Which is totally what elasto was suggesting. :roll:
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Diadem » Thu May 21, 2015 11:07 am UTC

It is an interesting problem though. The upper and middle classes have always benefited from having a large lower class around for cheap, unskilled labour. Soon, this will no longer be the case. This is true within countries, but also between countries. In a few decades all our clothes and electronics and whatever will be made domestically again, by machines, rather than in sweatshops in poor countries. But if that happens, what will be the point of having poor countries?

Luckily we're well on the way of solving that problem though. By lucky coincidence, climate change will start killing billions of poor people at just around the same time as when we no longer have any use for them.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 21, 2015 7:39 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:It is an interesting problem though. The upper and middle classes have always benefited from having a large lower class around for cheap, unskilled labour. Soon, this will no longer be the case. This is true within countries, but also between countries. In a few decades all our clothes and electronics and whatever will be made domestically again, by machines, rather than in sweatshops in poor countries. But if that happens, what will be the point of having poor countries?

Luckily we're well on the way of solving that problem though. By lucky coincidence, climate change will start killing billions of poor people at just around the same time as when we no longer have any use for them.

Sometimes, the universe is cold and uncaring. More usually though, she is downright cruel.


Oh, we'll still have the working class. We'll just call them "robots". The fact that they are made of metal instead of flesh and blood will matter little.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Fri May 22, 2015 7:57 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Yes, because socialist policies have ALWAYS fixed crappy economies...

Huh? I'm not talking about applying socialist policies to the economy; I'm talking about social safety nets. It's totally orthogonal.

Do you agree that a disabled person incapable of work should receive state support for life? Or do you think they should be left to wither and die? In the future, we all might be 'disabled' compared to the efficiency and capability of AI. That's all.

I wouldn't rule out greater market intervention though. A capitalist free market is great for growing an economy at breakneck speed - better than any other system we know. But sometimes markets can get 'too efficient' - eg. when monopolies arise. When they do, governments intervene - sometimes to break up the monopoly - but always to limit how it is allowed to exercise its power.

The free market ultimately exists to serve society. It is not a good in and off itself. If it fails to do so, good and wise governments rightly intervene to make sure it continues to serve the greater good and not be merely self-serving. It isn't a left-wing/right-wing thing, it's a common-sense thing...

Oh, we'll still have the working class. We'll just call them "robots". The fact that they are made of metal instead of flesh and blood will matter little.


Sure. The utopia would be if the upper class expands to include us all. Think Star Trek.

The dystopia would be if the underclass expands to include us all (barring a handful of elites). Think The Time Machine.

The difference between Star Trek and The Time Machine isn't in its economics, it's in its social policy. Neither have an artificial market intervention to prevent machines taking over all the labour ("Jobs for Humans! Jobs for Humans!"). No, in the one instance machines serve all of mankind according to need; In the other, machines only serve the elite, according to ability to pay.

That's the only real difference.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Diadem » Fri May 22, 2015 9:28 am UTC

elasto wrote:Sure. The utopia would be if the upper class expands to include us all. Think Star Trek.

The dystopia would be if the underclass expands to include us all (barring a handful of elites). Think The Time Machine.

What I was trying to say in my previous post is, this second scenario is not realistic.

I do believe that machines and AI will continue to develop, to the point where they will replace even the most low-paid labour. And I do think that one possible risk in this scenario is all wealth and power being concentrated in a very small elite. But this won't lead to everybody else living in squalor. It will lead to everybody else being killed off. There'll be absolutely no reason to keep these people around, and a very large group of disgruntled people will always create a risk for a revolution (though perhaps with robot police and military controlled by the elite, this risk can be eliminated). And if the elite is unethical enough to let billions of people live in squalor, do you really think they'll be above genocide? I guess in the really dystopian futures they'll keep a small underclass around as personal slaves, because nothing boosts your status like having someone to look down upon.

All this is pretty bleak. I don't think it's an extremely likely scenario, but it is a risk. We'll have to keep a very close eye on AI development and make sure it is developed in the right direction.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jseah » Fri May 22, 2015 10:52 am UTC

Here's a pithy quip: businessmen know that market saturation is a thing, you can only sell so many widgets for a given minimum price. Would the labour market not have a saturation point as well, given the minimum price needed to keep a human alive?
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby DR6 » Fri May 22, 2015 12:15 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:And if the elite is unethical enough to let billions of people live in squalor, do you really think they'll be above genocide?


Yes. Letting people live in poverty is one thing: you don't have to actually do anything, and if you isolate yourself from the poor people, you can just forget it and live normally without thinking about the misery of the people outside the bubble. Genocide would mean consciously people in poverty: machines could separate the perpetrators from the victims, but it's still emotionally harder than just letting them die off by themselves. If the elite is way more technologically advanced than the 99%, maybe revolutions wouldn't actually be such a threat.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Yakk » Fri May 22, 2015 2:09 pm UTC

We already let millions of poor people die because we don't care enough.

Setting up rules to cause genocide, and only using direct violence to enforce the rules, feels much different than traditional mass murder based genocide.

Sterilization. Free access to recreational drugs that kill you, while making people live in misery. Slow reduction of food resources, while nominally saying they are their own responsibility. Uploading, but (after a short bit) not giving them significant resources to run (storing their process, never running it, until entropy eats the storage). Psychologically horrible conditions with violent enforcement of rules.

Neglect, control of resources, and not caring.

If people are *useful*, then those that value them can exploit that use and become more powerful. This is why the end of work is scary: you go from being a resource that some system that is powerful can use to become more powerful, to not.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Fri May 22, 2015 3:29 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:We'll have to keep a very close eye on AI development and make sure it is developed in the right direction.
If AI gets smarter than us, what makes you think it will listen to our suggestions?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Fri May 22, 2015 4:03 pm UTC

I don't worry about AI being smarter than us. When somebody develops a machine with a mind of its own I will worry about it then. Things without minds are hazardous enough. The assumption behind this speculation is that machines have to be self aware for them to be a hazard to us. Talk to all the people missing body parts or that ended up dead in industrial accidents.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby PeteP » Fri May 22, 2015 4:41 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Diadem wrote:We'll have to keep a very close eye on AI development and make sure it is developed in the right direction.
If AI gets smarter than us, what makes you think it will listen to our suggestions?

Jose

Depending on the details of an AI: If we make it with some form of desires maybe because we made it so that it's only overwhelming desire is to serve us. Or on the other side of the coin because while it's smart it has no own goals no feelings it just looks at a problem it is given and offers solutions or fulfills orders it was given. Intelligence doesn't necessarily imply that the ai thinks about anything outside of it's tasks. Or maybe it's possible to place behaviour restrictions on the AI. Much depends on the details and no method is really fool proof if you want to make general purpose AIs with enough independence to do everything for us.

But my point is it will listen to us because we made it to listen to us and hopefully didn't screw up too much.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 22, 2015 6:58 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Yes, because socialist policies have ALWAYS fixed crappy economies...

Huh? I'm not talking about applying socialist policies to the economy; I'm talking about social safety nets. It's totally orthogonal.


Yes, yes, income distribution to the needy(and often with these proposals, via basic income, to everyone). Economically, such schemes do approach socialism.

Do you agree that a disabled person incapable of work should receive state support for life? Or do you think they should be left to wither and die? In the future, we all might be 'disabled' compared to the efficiency and capability of AI. That's all.


If that's the case, then both your opinion and mine is irrelevant. Only the AIs opinion will matter.

History suggests that we might have better luck hoping the AIs find us cute and/or adorable.

I wouldn't rule out greater market intervention though. A capitalist free market is great for growing an economy at breakneck speed - better than any other system we know. But sometimes markets can get 'too efficient' - eg. when monopolies arise. When they do, governments intervene - sometimes to break up the monopoly - but always to limit how it is allowed to exercise its power.


Monopolies and "too efficient" are a contradiction.

Oh, we'll still have the working class. We'll just call them "robots". The fact that they are made of metal instead of flesh and blood will matter little.


Sure. The utopia would be if the upper class expands to include us all. Think Star Trek.

The dystopia would be if the underclass expands to include us all (barring a handful of elites). Think The Time Machine.

The difference between Star Trek and The Time Machine isn't in its economics, it's in its social policy. Neither have an artificial market intervention to prevent machines taking over all the labour ("Jobs for Humans! Jobs for Humans!"). No, in the one instance machines serve all of mankind according to need; In the other, machines only serve the elite, according to ability to pay.

That's the only real difference.


Star Trek is a pretty terrible guide for anything. Not only is it fiction, it isn't even very consistent fiction, nor does it normally look at society as a whole. Things are just "better". Somehow. Never mind the how.

And you don't HAVE to buy machine made things. You could literally ignore the machines, and do things without them. Same way we do now. You'll be less efficient that the machines, sure. But the mere existence of machines does not mean people become LESS useful in absolute terms. People will embrace the cold mechanical system if it's an improvement.

Just like walmart.

jseah wrote:Here's a pithy quip: businessmen know that market saturation is a thing, you can only sell so many widgets for a given minimum price. Would the labour market not have a saturation point as well, given the minimum price needed to keep a human alive?


Yes. This exists nowadays. In terrible economies where labor efficiencies are poor, some people are not very productive, and are essentially ignored and left to die by the rest of the world. We need not wait for robots to do this. This has basically always been with us.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 22, 2015 7:32 pm UTC


And you don't HAVE to buy machine made things. You could literally ignore the machines, and do things without them. Same way we do now. You'll be less efficient that the machines, sure. But the mere existence of machines does not mean people become LESS useful in absolute terms. People will embrace the cold mechanical system if it's an improvement.

At some point, this will run into resource limits. The hypothetical AIs and AI owners will require some resources that are also required by other people doing their thing. And if the resources then go to the machines who can outbid you and outfight you, then the other people will not be as productive as they are nowadays.

Yakk refers to something similar above. Historic genocides are often accomplished by farmers taking land, then righteously defending their property from thieving intruders. But it's not the fights that kill the most, it's the exclusion. North America is the modern example, but history is full of similar cases.

In dystopian AI future, the machine masters run the harbours and the mines, and they make the law. The harvest is for biofuel, and the radio spectrum is reserved for giberish. There's a lot of unbreakable fences, while your projects are subject to regular slum clearances for the greater good. History is a good guideline for dystopias...

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tirian » Fri May 22, 2015 9:17 pm UTC

I think we need to distinguish between the future that we're living in (i.e. the thread title) and futures that are beyond imagining.

We don't have AI with desires. I'm not sure we could even define what that means, let alone program it. A system that plays a champion-level game of poker doesn't improve because it wants to be able to pay for luxuries or because it enjoys the thrill of victory or because it is afraid of being deleted if it doesn't perform well. It improves because it was programmed to improve.

That's not to say that computerized systems won't kill us in the future. When we have automated cars that negotiate a traffic protocol between them, there will come a day when that enormously complex system will make a unintended judgement -- like the day that two ambulances with ultimate priority are racing into the same intersection and neither of them is designed to yield. But that is very very different from our cars "realizing" that traffic would be less complex if half of us were driven off of cliffs and then acting on that logic.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Sat May 23, 2015 4:44 am UTC

Tirian wrote:We don't have AI with desires. I'm not sure we could even define what that means, let alone program it. A system that plays a champion-level game of poker doesn't improve because it wants to be able to pay for luxuries or because it enjoys the thrill of victory or because it is afraid of being deleted if it doesn't perform well. It improves because it was programmed to improve.

It improves because it wants to improve.

Desire is not a "thing". It's an abbreviation for a complex set of decision mechanisms; this abbreviation lets us talk about that fuzzy set of decision mechanisms as a whole. Even a simple min-max algorithm has a primitive "desire", although it's usually not necessary to abstract simple algorithms that way. But at some point, it becomes a useful metaphor. And somewhere beyond that, it stops being just a metaphor. And as the "desires" that we programmed in interact with each other, that superset can become a "desire" that we didn't program in.

AI is not something we program in. It's something we realize has emerged from all the other stuff we programmed in. As expert systems become better than humans at doing things, they will be put in charge. As the stakes go up, their "inchargeness" will be enforced. First by us, then by them. Because we will no longer understand them, but we can't live without them, and don't want some dumb human to muck things up.

morriswalters wrote:When somebody develops a machine with a mind of its own I will worry about it then.
You do realize that by then, it will be too late.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat May 23, 2015 7:44 am UTC

AI is not something we program in. It's something we realize has emerged from all the other stuff we programmed in.


As someone who spent a couple of years teaching a computer to teach itself programmable logic that evolved through time... I say...

Bullshit.

AI is explicitly something you program into a computer. And some of the most interesting things (ie: Automated Logic) are closer to programming language design than anything else IMO. Meticulously "stating" a program so that an automated reasoner can solve it (which btw: it solves it better than humans) requires a keen mathematical mind to in fact describe it to the computer. At very least, a good understanding of first order logic, as well as an understanding of the path that the automated reasoner takes (depth first traversal, horn clauses, etc. etc.)

Computers just don't "become" good at something. They are programmed. By very good programmers who understand a program very deeply. In particular, Watson's primary advantage in Jeopardy was getting the "easy" questions first, because computer-timing allowed Watson to buzz in first on all easy questions. You can't beat a computer at buzzer timing, and it turns out that buzzer timing (on the easy questions that everyone knows) is the primary driver of points in Jeopardy.

Another case in point: Chess programmers think "ahead" by predicting future positions. Go AIs were doing terrible at that because that methodology is impossible. However, as soon as Go AIs began to predict endings from a given board position, their strength improved dramatically. It seems like the key to "thinking" about Go is not exhaustively looking at every possible path (like Chess AIs), but instead statistically looking at endings that randomly map to the current position. Relatively poor heuristics that look hundreds of moves ahead "poorly" is much better in Go than strongly "correct" heuristics that look only a couple of moves ahead. While Chess is more meticulous and more about an obscure "brilliant" move, so Chess AIs need to exhaustively consider the possibilities of "only" the next 10 moves or so.

Also, I've also seen the limits of "advanced searches", such as Genetic Algorithms or Artifical Neural Networks (ANN in particular, tend to be slower than just simulated annealing). I guess its interesting that ANNs do in fact "learn" and "get better". But in the vast majority of cases, it takes a dedicated algorithm searching a narrow, and carefully tailored search tree for "Artificial Intelligence" to really bloom and become "better than a human".
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Sat May 23, 2015 12:12 pm UTC

ucim wrote:It improves because it wants to improve.
Well, I don't know. My problem with this is that I tend to see what humans do as an offshoot of wanting to continue to be alive. And that is built into the genome in some fashion. And it has nothing to do with intelligence. The simplest forms of life have it. So we get up in the morning to do what we do and invent the atom bomb. I'm not sure how you program that in(wanting to live). We are developing the component parts of the things that people think of when we say AI, image and voice recognition and so forth. And just those things have the capacity to destabilize society. But that doesn't give a device the power to improve itself. In and of itself improving is an ongoing experiment in what does or doesn't work. And you never know until after the fact.
ucim wrote:You do realize that by then, it will be too late.
Well, yeah. But at some point I will die anyway. On the pantheon of things I worry about, the continuing existence of the human race is well below my concern about pulling in the income needed to survive in a complex society. I suspect this innate selfishness is what will doom the human race if anything does.

edit

More on topic. Solid state, way cool.
Yesterday, DARPA announced the successful test of a single-chip laser detection and ranging system that makes it possible to build inexpensive, lightweight short-range "phased array" LADAR that could be mounted on small unmanned aircraft, robots, and vehicles. The technology could bring low-cost, solid-state, high-resolution 3D scanning to a host of devices in the near future.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Sat May 23, 2015 3:44 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:As someone who spent a couple of years teaching a computer to teach itself programmable logic that evolved through time... I say...

Bullshit.

AI is explicitly something you program into a computer. And some of the most interesting things (ie: Automated Logic) are closer to programming language design than anything else IMO...

But that's not what I'm calling AI. That's more akin to genes making proteins.

Yes, programming computers (and I do it too, to a lesser extent than you) requires skill and logic and all that. But you can understand all this logic while not being able to otherwise come up with the unusual solution that your computer program does, just because you yourself did not go through the process that you programmed the computer to do. And the further we remove ourselves from the original task (program a computer to change itself... program a computer to figure out how to change itself... program a computer to come up with a program that figures out how to change itself...) the more the AI abbreviation becomes useful to describe what the computer is doing.

Biology is not just applied physics.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat May 23, 2015 4:03 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:As someone who spent a couple of years teaching a computer to teach itself programmable logic that evolved through time... I say...

Bullshit.

AI is explicitly something you program into a computer. And some of the most interesting things (ie: Automated Logic) are closer to programming language design than anything else IMO...

But that's not what I'm calling AI. That's more akin to genes making proteins.

Yes, programming computers (and I do it too, to a lesser extent than you) requires skill and logic and all that. But you can understand all this logic while not being able to otherwise come up with the unusual solution that your computer program does, just because you yourself did not go through the process that you programmed the computer to do. And the further we remove ourselves from the original task (program a computer to change itself... program a computer to figure out how to change itself... program a computer to come up with a program that figures out how to change itself...) the more the AI abbreviation becomes useful to describe what the computer is doing.

Biology is not just applied physics.


Sure. But Programming is still programming. Using Computer Vision AIs require you to fully understand computer vision (optical flow, motion tracking, amongst other algorithms). In essence, you don't need to know how quicksort works, but you probably need to know what the "sorting problem" is before you can use quicksort libraries.

Here's another key point: Computers have been "programming themselves" ever since compiler technology was invented. No one programs in machine code anymore, and even "Assembly Language" has macros and other tidbits that help out the programmer. When you get all the way up to the advanced type-inference rules of say... Haskell... the compiler is clearly beginning to use techniques borrowed from the AI field.

Consider the typical programmer. The most common program today is probably written in Javascript, or even a higher-level language than that. Javascript runs on a Web Browser written in C++, which could have been compiled by CLang, which would then be interpreted by LLVM, which is then finally compiled into assembly, then machine code and then executed. But different parts of Javascript are also going to hardware acceleration (such as WebGL), which is going a separate path through the OS, compiled down into a different assembly language and then run on the GPU instead of the CPU.

No human is involved. The modern programmer takes advantage of "computers programming computers" from beginning to end. In fact, even chip layouts are created by computer programs today. Propositional Logic is better solved by... erm... computers. And chip layout and logic generation at the hardware level is better handled by AI search algorithms than manual labor.

---------------

When you get to the "soft AI" of say... Genetic Algorithms creating computer graphs of AI that automatically battle each other and then optimize themselves, reaching levels of Checkers intelligence that far surpassed the creators... these solutions become increasingly brittle and not very useful. Genetic Algorithms and Artificial Neural Networks (the "automatic" selfprogramming AI techniques) are very finicky, and are prone to problems like "overtraining". I'm personally seeing more advancements in Statistical Techniques or Logic Techniques... which are better described as "Humans and AIs working together".

I haven't seen any evidence that an AI can work on a problem from beginning to end. And yes, I'm aware of the "self learning" AIs that beat video games by automatically training themselves. But these still required an AI Specialist who understood the limitations of ANNs to extract numbers out of the game for the AI to train upon. (ie: Training on the "score" in Tetris. Or in horizontal progress in Mario 1).

EDIT: I forgot how the Super Mario AI worked. Yeah, he wrote a program to automatically to pick out RAM locations that describe progress (based on a humanly generated training sequence). Still, its a "search" algorithm against a defined search tree. Which is what AI almost certainly is.

-------------

EDIT2: Here's another consideration. In Advanced Chess, it isn't the "best humans" nor the "best computers" that win a tournament. Its in fact a moderately skilled chess players using well-written custom software to search the possibilities. The best "team" is a human + a computer with fancy GUIs. Humans looking for "innovative plays" then plug in moves to make sure that blunders are avoided, and bam! The human/computer team duo accomplishes a level of skill beyond what is normal (ie: beyond what Chessmaster or Fritz Chess can do alone).

Apparently, the key to winning Advanced Chess is to recognize where the computer is bad: very long term strategic thought. Then, you recognize where humans are bad: exhaustively checking the next couple of moves to avoid blunders (checkmate in 4 moves) situations. Furthermore, the use of chess databases allow all endgames to be played perfectly.

Here's a talk that starts with a discussion of Advanced Chess: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f86VKjFSMJE

----------

In essence, we can continue to talk about the archaic fictions that were created in the early and mid 1900s. But the reality of the situation seems to be very different than what our stories say... the best "teams" at the moment are humans paired up with powerful AIs, with innovative GUIs that allowed deep integration between the human and computer.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Mon May 25, 2015 6:21 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Here's another key point: Computers have been "programming themselves" ever since compiler technology was invented. No one programs in machine code anymore, and even "Assembly Language" has macros and other tidbits that help out the programmer. When you get all the way up to the advanced type-inference rules of say... Haskell... the compiler is clearly beginning to use techniques borrowed from the AI field.

Consider the typical programmer. The most common program today is probably written in Javascript, or even a higher-level language than that. Javascript runs on a Web Browser written in C++, which could have been compiled by CLang, which would then be interpreted by LLVM, which is then finally compiled into assembly, then machine code and then executed. But different parts of Javascript are also going to hardware acceleration (such as WebGL), which is going a separate path through the OS, compiled down into a different assembly language and then run on the GPU instead of the CPU.

No human is involved. The modern programmer takes advantage of "computers programming computers" from beginning to end. In fact, even chip layouts are created by computer programs today. Propositional Logic is better solved by... erm... computers. And chip layout and logic generation at the hardware level is better handled by AI search algorithms than manual labor.

This is a very key point: As soon as computers start doing something clever, it's not seen as clever any more, it's seen as ordinary. This is one reason why AI is perpetually seen as decades away. Computers don't get the credit they deserve. When a computer does something magical, the response isn't usually 'wow', but 'oh, so the problem can't have been that hard after all'

Here's another consideration. In Advanced Chess, it isn't the "best humans" nor the "best computers" that win a tournament. Its in fact a moderately skilled chess players using well-written custom software to search the possibilities. The best "team" is a human + a computer with fancy GUIs. Humans looking for "innovative plays" then plug in moves to make sure that blunders are avoided, and bam! The human/computer team duo accomplishes a level of skill beyond what is normal (ie: beyond what Chessmaster or Fritz Chess can do alone).


Sure, this is absolutely true, but remember that computers only have to start being as good as the average human to have a serious impact (and some people are distinctly average workers...) They don't have to be better than the best human to be game-changing - though they obviously are when they are.

To put some actual academic research on all these opinions being thrown around, here's a report I came across today:

Report Suggests Nearly Half of U.S. Jobs Are Vulnerable to Computerization

Oxford researchers say that 45 percent of America’s occupations will be automated within the next 20 years.

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report (which is not online, but summarized here) from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology attempts to quantify the extent of that threat. It concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage. Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

The authors note that the rate of computerization depends on several other factors, including regulation of new technology and access to cheap labor.

These results were calculated with a common statistical modeling method. More than 700 jobs on O*Net, an online career network, were considered, as well as the skills and education required for each. These features were weighted according to how automatable they were, and according to the engineering obstacles currently preventing computerization.

“Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerization—i.e., tasks that required creative and social intelligence,” the authors write. “For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.”


Again, it's not the change itself that's the problem - probably most people work in a different career to their great-grandparents for example, it's the pace of change that will be so disruptive. People might have to completely retrain to a novel career once or perhaps even twice during their working lifetime.

Eventually computers will be taking over almost as soon as a new field opens up. There may be just too many people chasing too few jobs for a living wage to be sustainable in a standard capitalist job market. At that point we will have to decide if we want to stick with capitalism and condemn the majority to unemployment or worse, or if another system would be more palatable.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 25, 2015 6:34 pm UTC

So, they took a job database, pulled out iof their ass which jobs would be automated, then scientifically concluded that is was 45%. Seriously, how is that better than our random musings?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tirian » Mon May 25, 2015 6:50 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Computers don't get the credit they deserve. When a computer does something magical, the response isn't usually 'wow', but 'oh, so the problem can't have been that hard after all'


That's entirely appropriate. We used to think that we'd have to make a human brain out of silicon in order to beat chess grandmasters. It turns out to have only required some very clever algorithms and twenty generations of Moore's Law, so it was mildly disappointing that we beat chess without triggering the singularity. To use your language, computers do something magical because a team of humans figured out the trick, so the computers themselves don't "deserve" "credit".

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Mon May 25, 2015 7:56 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:But Programming is still programming. Using Computer Vision AIs require you to fully understand computer vision (optical flow, motion tracking, amongst other algorithms)...
... today. But the brain doesn't fully understand vision, optical flow, motion tracking.... yet the brain has no problem executing "vision". There are no cells that are especially "smart" (notwithstanding the fact that the dumb molecules we call genes do a remarkable job making proteins and folding them just right). It's the connections between these dumb cells that generate what we call "intelligence". Likewise, looking at individual computers and programs is probably the wrong place to look for AI. It's the connections between these machines (and also the people depending on them) that will emerge into an intelligent agent.

But we won't be it's "client". We'll be its components. And we'll have as much of an idea of what it's doing as a kidney cell has of reading a newspaper.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Mon May 25, 2015 10:45 pm UTC

ucim wrote:But we won't be it's "client". We'll be its components. And we'll have as much of an idea of what it's doing as a kidney cell has of reading a newspaper.
This is already true. In the biological system we call earth we could be classified as a particularly nasty cancer.
Tirian wrote: so it was mildly disappointing that we beat chess without triggering the singularity
I hear this a lot. How exactly would you know that the singularity had been triggered? Or hadn't.
KnightExemplar wrote:Still, its a "search" algorithm against a defined search tree. Which is what AI almost certainly is.
Isn't this exactly what human intelligence is? When a rabbit forages for food isn't this exactly what he does? The search is against experience with a goal of staying alive. Create a driving mechanism that requires the answer to the question, "How do I survive from this point in time to the next?, and you have human level AI. We don't have vision to make technology. We have vision to keep from running off a cliff. The difference between a man and a rabbit is the ability to see further into the future, to survive the next encounter. Technology is an offshoot of that.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tirian » Mon May 25, 2015 11:27 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I hear this a lot. How exactly would you know that the singularity had been triggered? Or hadn't.


Ray Kurzweil will upload his consciousness into a computer and publish a book called I Told You So, You Stinking Meatbags.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Tue May 26, 2015 12:17 am UTC

When you upload your consciousness into a computer, and verify that the program is running correctly, and the ('new you') program tells you (the 'old you') that it's time to kill yourself to "complete" the transfer, will you (the 'old you') do it?

And now speaking to the "new you", what will you do when the obsolete meatbag that claims to have created you resists letting you finish him (or her) off?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Thesh » Tue May 26, 2015 12:39 am UTC

Unless the process itself kills you, there is no reason to force you to commit suicide. Use the upload as a backup system, and when you do eventually die you can live on in the virtual world as a copy of yourself from the last backup.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Tue May 26, 2015 1:03 am UTC

Tirian wrote:
morriswalters wrote:I hear this a lot. How exactly would you know that the singularity had been triggered? Or hadn't.


Ray Kurzweil will upload his consciousness into a computer and publish a book called I Told You So, You Stinking Meatbags.
I know Kurzweil believes it.
Thesh wrote:Unless the process itself kills you, there is no reason to force you to commit suicide. Use the upload as a backup system, and when you do eventually die you can live on in the virtual world as a copy of yourself from the last backup.
I have a hard enough time keeping backups of my personal data current, imagine the bandwidth to save you in the cloud. And then imagine we hack your backup.


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