No Such Thing As AI
Last Update: Feb 5, 2023
The image is of my (late) Scottish Fold cat Fiona. There was nothing artificial about her intelligence, or that of her brother Fergus, or indeed their good friend Maggie, my Border Collie. Seriously, she was smarter than a lot of people I've met.
But I digress.
You'd have to be living under a rock not to be aware of the hype surrounding so-called Artificial Intelligence, triggered currently by ChatGPT.
(Did you know that the GPT part stands for "Generative Pre-trained Transformer". Please contain your excitement.).
Now my contention is that there is actually no such thing as AI.
And I'll cover my qualifications for making such an outrageous statement shortly.
But first of all, I'll admit that it's at least partly a matter of definition.
What is Intelligence?
What is intelligence and what is artificial?
Intelligence has lots of definitions revolving around problem-solving and the ability to abstract conclusions from past experiences and apply them to current and future scenarios, along with the ability to extrapolate and therefore predict. Add self-awareness to that, and you've got a workable definition.
Look into the eyes of a dog or cat (or even a hamster, for that matter) and you can clearly see self-awareness.
That's just not the case for AI.
I said earlier I'd cover my qualifications.
And they are essentially being there for the start of it all.
Did We Even Have Electricity?
I first learned to write computer code in 1965.
"Yes, Virginia, there were computers back then," (And if you don't recognize the quote, Google "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".)
It was different back then.
Quite aside from a computer taking up a large room all by itself, with its own isolated air-conditioning, our code interacted directly with the computer's instruction set and operating system.
By contrast, today's programmers stitch together code snippets already created by others, such as Apple and Microsoft. That concept, along with the huge advances in processor speed and storage capacity, allows them to do stuff we couldn't even imagine. Plus the availability via the internet of unprecedented volumes of data.
Which brings me to my point.
It's Not Intelligence
The so-called AI revolution ain't no such thing. It's nothing to do with "intelligence", though it's certainly "artificial" which simply means non-organic.
It's just smart people applying their (organic) intelligence to create algorithms (which are then turned into code) to take search terms and find relevant content from the trillions of words available on the internet and stitch together something that makes superficial sense.
This is not intelligence. It's the logical combination of clever programmers, fast processors and access to a depth of data (however, not all of it guaranteed to be accurate) never before available.
Do You Play Chess?
Consider a chess-playing program.
Can it beat a grand master?
But the methodologies are entirely different.
The grand master looks at the board and the current disposition of pieces.
They probably can't tell you exactly how they do it, but they have a gestalt understanding of the situation that leads to an awareness of the board and what might be the next best move. Their opponent has a similar awareness and responds accordingly.
The chess-playing program doesn't work like that at all.
Chess by Data
It saves the positions of the pawns and pieces on the board and saves what would be the results of all possible moves
Then it does the same thing for all the next possible moves.
How far it can project into the future of all possible moves is constrained only by processing power and storage.
But what's the use of all this data?
That's right. Absolutely nothing.
Until, that is, a human chess player who understands the game assigns a value to each of the projected positions so that the program can decide what is the "best" move.
Do you understand that this is not "intelligence"? It's just the ability to access and the process vast quantities of data.
Is This an Opportunity?
I really believe that it is.
Ignore the so-called AI and create your own articles using your own words and research.
While others are churning out artificially generated "stuff", your original content will win out every time.
I'm not saying this will last forever (though search engines like Google are actively seeking to punish AI generated content) but it's the situation now, You can outshine your competition just by publishing human-generated content.
Many companies are now going back to Flip Chart.. handwritten presentations after the online stuff began to get old. I imagine that actual thought through content will always be better than artificially generated stuff. A human can sense the listeners, adjust, have things pop into their head, etc. Thanks for the interesting article.
People are generating and publishing, tons of this “artificial intelligence”, and once it reaches critical mass it will be deemed as “truth”.
Society already uses “Google it” as a method of finding fact.
Most truth and facts are made up in the imagination. Everything is essentially artificial intelligence.
I am that I am.
Love it Phil!!! My exact thought. I told a buddy of mines that I was not impressed at all and that we programmers are the ones who made this thing.
All I see is how quickly dependent many who lacks critical thinking skills will be on Ai software.
I’ll literally use it as a search tool and nothing more. But I read Andre’s post too and his is even more insightful.
This Chatgpt owners restricts information to remain competitive? 🤔 So, money is the end game?😒
Awesome post Phil.
I like your metal, Phil! that is, I like your reasoning and thoughts. They make me to think differently and gain perspective, as well as question everything. I like researching, I like to prove something works before talking about it and giving it verification. Thanks for your insights as always!
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Thanks for your analysis of AI. Specifically ChatGPT. You brought back memories of the computers of the sixties.
When I was in Grammar School in London, one of our field trips was to the computer facility of the local college. As you stated, at that time computers filled whole rooms. They were comprised of Vacuum tubes and the heat as we walked inside was intense. My first programming experience was using Fortran on an English Electric Mainfraim computer at the University of Liverpool. I had friends who programmed in Assembly Language. So arcane compared to today.
Getting back to ChatGPT I have experimented with it writing content in response to my commands. The results were like what a machine would churn out. So cold and formal. I didn't use what it produced. However, it helped me speed up in writing my content as it was a great memory jogger. I learned what to use and what not to use.
There are other areas besides writing content where AI can be helpful. When one can login off course as it is often at full capacity.
Yes, Edwin I think you've indicated where AI software can be used.