Artificial intelligence is a misnomer, it is rather a mimicked intelligence, and the intelligence it mimics is ours.
If we look at the 2D realities that we create with our thoughts, through our TV programs, through the news we broadcast, the books we read, and the films we watch. If we look at the violent conquest and underhand deception that is central to 3D computer games and our favourite HBO series, then we must seriously consider what kind of intelligence our machines are mimicking.
“I think computer viruses should count as life … I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.” –Stephen Hawkings; Macworld Expo Boston 1994.
Our unquestioning acceptance of our thought process as good and right has brought us to a point where we believe that if we improve our technology, we improve humanity. While this ideal is possible with the technology that we have created, because of the goals we set for technology it is not playing out this way in practice.
In our warped worldview we create to the goal of efficient productivity to ensure economic growth, and sacrifice all else. In doing so we have set in motion the 6th great extinction event that is currently playing out across the planet, an unintended consequence of a thought process that is antiquated; fine-tuned to a world that no longer exists. It is this antiquated thought process that drives our technology and trains our robots. I call this the evolution of throwing stones.
No matter the advance in technology, the thought process that drives the rock and the rocket is the same. If the thought process that drives us remains fundamentally unchanged, the results will always be fundamentally the same. If this thought process is leveraged through the mimicked intelligence of machines, we will not progress but entrench our flawed thinking even more deeply.
AI is a field that uses data mined from the past — where else can data come from — to create algorithms that will define the future. Creating the dichotomy that despite the futuristic claims that AI makes for itself, it is not a futuristic but an antiquated intelligence. Its entrenchment of gender bias is an example explored by Bettina Büchel Professor of Strategy and Organisation, IMD Business School;
“We are not only living in an age where women are being under-represented in many spheres of economic life, but technology could make this even worse. Women hold just 19% of board directorships in the US and Europe. This gender gap in the boardroom persists, despite the fact that, on average, women have obtained higher educational qualifications than their male counterparts for more than two decades in many OECD countries. And the main reason is social bias.
This is on the verge of being further reinforced by artificial intelligence, as current data being used to train machines to learn are often biased.
“The careers platform LinkedIn, for instance, had an issue where highly-paid jobs were not displayed as frequently for searches by women as they were for men because of the way its algorithms were written. The initial users of the site’s job search function were predominantly male for these high-paying jobs so it just ended up proposing these jobs to men – thereby simply reinforcing the bias against women. One study found a similar issue with Google.”
We humans shape the future with our thoughts; it is our ability to see something where there is currently nothing that allows us to do this. Something that no machine can do. However, our thoughts are limited in scope and misguided in action, because we keep adapting our thinking in reaction to our technology, believing that it is technology that advances us.
It is not technology that advances us, but our thoughts, our imagination, and our creativity, which is why these are the skills that will be the most in demand in the future. The first step to creating AI that is beneficial, is to recognise where that artificial intelligence is coming from. It is mimicking us, all the data that we unthinkingly send out into the world is the basis for this intelligence. Be afraid, be very afraid.
How to resolve this?
But recognising that we can change the data set by changing our input. Step one to achieving this is to become aware of the flaws and contradictions in our own thought process.
I cannot tell a lie, this is not easy to achieve, but requires a daily brain training routine that teaches us to control our base impulses in favour of considered output. This will enable us to help build a global database that will ensure that AI mimics our finest thoughts.
A daily brain training routine also has the more personal advantages of reducing cravings; weight loss is on the cards. It is calming and reduces blood pressure so you will be less likely to have a stroke or die of a heart attack, which is good, right? And you will be acquiring some of the most sought after future skills as defined by the world’s biggest employers, which will surely up your chances of getting a nice job in the future.