Monday, July 29, 2019

The objectives of AI

In Henry Kissinger's analysis of artificial intelligence, he noted the following:
Automation deals with means; it achieves prescribed objectives by rationalizing or mechanizing instruments for reaching them. AI, by contrast, deals with ends; it establishes its own objectives. To the extent that its achievements are in part shaped by itself, AI is inherently unstable. AI systems, through their very operations, are in constant flux as they acquire and instantly analyze new data, then seek to improve themselves on the basis of that analysis.
Let us not forget that artificial intelligence is still fundamentally pattern matching. That is, no matter how much data it has, it's still just looking for and extrapolating from patterns it sees in the data it's given or processes. Therefore, even though it may be able to apply logic and make decisions, he does not substantiate his claim that it “establishes its own objectives.” No matter how many games of Go or Chess it plays, or how sophisticated its learning of each may be, it's still, respectively, just trying to take over the board or capture the king. Artificial intelligence does not contemplate the meaning of its own existence.

Both automation and AI are about means. As noted previously, our fundamental question about technology is, Do the means justify the ends? Just because technology can do something, does that mean it should?

Kissinger's question is not fundamentally about technology.
Through this process, artificial intelligence develops an ability previously thought to be reserved for human beings. It makes strategic judgments about the future, some based on data received as code (for example, the rules of a game), and some based on data it gathers itself (for example, by playing 1 million iterations of a game).
There is a hint of fear in this “reserved” description of human ability. The underlying question is, What does it uniquely mean to be human? Are we human because of something inherent in ourselves, such as by abilities we have, or are we human because of something outside ourselves, because we were made human?

If Kissinger is right in his claim that reason has triumphed over faith, then man has something to prove.

If man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 9:6), and we intrinsically find our worth in Him, then we have nothing to prove. We have only to trust in Him.

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