Saturday, December 31, 2016

Afraid Of AI? You Got It Backwards

I'm not afraid of artificial intelligence. I don't see it coming anytime soon, for one thing. You disagree? Take the most advanced computer translation program you can find, use it to translate a simple 5-word English sentence of your choice into Japanese, take that Japanese sentence and use the same program to translate it back into English, and then we'll talk. As Stephen Root said in the 4th-season episode of "News Radio" entitled "Super Karate Monkey Death Car":

"I had a small house of brokerage on Wall Street. Many days no business come to my hut, but Jimmy has fear? A thousand times no! I never doubted myself for a minute for I knew that my monkey-strong bowels were girded with strength like the loins of a dragon ribboned with fat and the opulence of buffalo dung. Glorious sunset of my heart was fading. Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Jimmy has fancy plans, and pants to match! The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey."

You can call that hilarious, you can call it great TV. One thing you can't call it, in my humble opinion, is evidence of the imminent arrival of artificial intelligence.

But even if I'm wrong, and AI is even now on the verge of happening -- it doesn't worry me. More intelligence? That would be great. That would be most helpful. The main threat to humanity is the very opposite, the same thing it's been for thousands of years: a lack of intelligence. Any threat posed by artificial intelligence is laughable compared to the constant threat posed to us by natural stupidity.

The most obvious current example? The moron who was just elected POTUS and all the millions of morons who voted for him. We were on the verge of cutting US dependency on petrochemicals in half, on the verge of getting a smart grid, on the verge of shoring up the social safety net, on the verge of making minimum wage a living wage -- but all of that and a whole lot of other very good stuff is just going to have to wait now, because of stupidity. Because of nothing other than stupidity. Artificial intelligence would be great right now. It could be a tremendous help with that question so many of us are asking: "What the Hell are we going to do now?!" It's not as if there's an overabundance of intelligence currently working on that one.

Another example of stupidity being the greatest danger to humanity? Hitler. Some say he was an evil genius -- to that I say, "Feel my skills, donkey donkey donkey donkey!" Hitler believed that the Soviet Union and international banking were united in a Jewish conspiracy to impurify the "German race." He actually believed that. He was a moron.

Artificial intelligence? Bring it on! Artificial intelligence, natural intelligence, hybrid intelligence, any kind of intelligence: we need it, we need more of it, we need much, much more of it, just as we have for thousands if not millions or billions of years.

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