Sunday, December 29, 2013

Start Point for the Terminator

AI is starting to ramp up, as most techies know, but what has not been discussed regarding bots that would house AI in the real world, was the significant issue of being able to develop inexpensive, lightweight muscles able to do real work with low energy requirements akin to The Terminator, a concept considered not feasible until now.

It get rather interesting when combining this tech to AI using neural net configured chips able to learn in similar fashion to how we learn using trial & error as prime driver to enable us to navigate the world in relatively proper fashion.

The new processors consist of electronic components that can be connected by wires that mimic biological synapses. Because they are based on large groups of neuron-like elements, they are known as neuromorphic processors, a term credited to the California Institute of Technology physicist Carver Mead, who pioneered the concept in the late 1980s.

They are not “programmed.” Rather the connections between the circuits are “weighted” according to correlations in data that the processor has already “learned.” Those weights are then altered as data flows in to the chip, causing them to change their values and to “spike.” That generates a signal that travels to other components and, in reaction, changes the neural network, in essence programming the next actions much the same way that information alters human thoughts and actions.

“Instead of bringing data to computation as we do today, we can now bring computation to data,” said Dharmendra Modha, an I.B.M. computer scientist who leads the company’s cognitive computing research effort. “Sensors become the computer, and it opens up a new way to use computer chips that can be everywhere.”

When taken to logical extremes, an alien intelligence, of our own makig, will emerge, a construct forever unknowable to us as systems such as these will program themselves in order to become more intelligent, a process that will happen millions of times faster than evolution, a notion brilliantly articulated in a new book titled Our Final Invention, James Barrat's wake up call to the profound implications of AI and what it could mean to mankind's continued existence on planet earth.

The Busy Child

artificial intelligence (abbreviation: AI) noun
the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
—The New Oxford American Dictionary, Third Edition

On a supercomputer operating at a speed of 36.8 petaflops, or about twice the speed of a human brain, an AI is improving its intelligence. It is rewriting its own program, specifically the part of its operating instructions that increases its aptitude in learning, problem solving, and decision making. At the same time, it debugs its code, finding and fixing errors, and measures its IQ against a catalogue of IQ tests. Each rewrite takes just minutes. Its intelligence grows exponentially on a steep upward curve. That’s because with each iteration it’s improving its intelligence by 3 percent. Each iteration’s improvement contains the improvements that came before.

During its development, the Busy Child, as the scientists have named the AI, had been connected to the Internet, and accumulated exabytes of data (one exabyte is one billion billion characters) representing mankind’s knowledge in world affairs, mathematics, the arts, and sciences. Then, anticipating the intelligence explosion now underway, the AI makers disconnected the supercomputer from the Internet and other networks. It has no cable or wireless connection to any other computer or the outside world.

Soon, to the scientists’ delight, the terminal displaying the AI’s progress shows the artificial intelligence has surpassed the intelligence level of a human, known as AGI, or artificial general intelligence. Before long, it becomes smarter by a factor of ten, then a hundred. In just two days, it is one thousand times more intelligent than any human, and still improving.

The scientists have passed a historic milestone! For the first time humankind is in the presence of an intelligence greater than its own. Artificial superintelligence, or ASI.

Now what happens?

Any questions?

Addendum: read Why the Future Doesn't Need Us by Bill Joy, a brilliant and chilling analysis of Robotics (W/AI), Genetic Engineering and Nanotech, by one of the true software geniuses of the connected age. If nothing else, it gives pause to the meaning of AI and what it portends to us as we move further into the 21st century.

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