We have been doing AI for a long time even though many of us are losing control and are running around with our hair on fire about, well, about losing control!
For a moment let’s deliberately make the mistake of thinking AI is Artificial Insemination instead of Artificial Intelligence. The word origins are compatible. Foreign and unique stuff gets inserted into our persons to make things happen differently than they would have otherwise. The Latin word seminato meaning “to sow and propagate” kind of works for AI in either case.
For many generations back we let our human reasoning be thrilled, baffled, worried and entertained by AI systems all around us that intelligently processed non-human information to act with (or against) us. I am speaking of animals with their super-human senses, mysterious interpretations and inexplicable learning patterns.
The black bear carefully slid the latch aside and lifted the garbage can lid as his maternal sow had shown him.
In our daily activities, we get monitored and our lifestyle patterns are chronicled in data bases used by others. Typically, at minimal cost to us but in other instances, with lethal results.
The buck white-tailed deer travelled through the woodlot to reach the soil-stabilizing clover planted along the freeway. He had learned the route and timing of the noisy roadway cars. Then one night as he stepped across the yellow line, a silent electric car took him through the windshield.
Closer to home, in a continuous effort over 75 millennia or so, humans have deliberately chosen the largest and most useful individuals out of each litter of dogs. Often puppies were chosen for their pulling, herding, hunting or defensive attributes, yet, the overriding selection criterion was reduction of their wolf-aggression; therefore, those selected were the most compatible with humans.
Our dogs have intelligently turned the tables on us though. Now, we feed them, spend thousands of dollars on them annually, pet them and make all sorts of odd gibberish noises at them. If you doubt we are truly enslaved to them, check this out; we follow them around, on their schedule, to gather in their feces. We also make huge payments to the veterinarian’s Porsche and Pension plan. If a human expected us to do that for them, well, we would be called their slave.
One popular definition of AI is “Intelligence exhibited by an artificial (non-natural, man-made) entity.” I submit that domestic dogs fit that definition. They are completely man-made and non-natural.
If you ever doubt domestic dogs are truly artificial, just look at a Chihuahua or a Great Dane. Furthermore, everything about their relationship to us is highly contrived and artificial too, including our projection of complex emotional exchanges with them. We hold difficult questions of logic out to them “Does my favorite Wookie Dog want to go swimming or to the Dog park. . .Mwww Mwwwaaa Smoochie?” all with some suspicion that they actually understood us. Gary Larson may have been the first to actually see what dogs hear when we speak to them.
The gold standard for determining how closely AI approaches human intelligence is by measuring this difference with the Turing’s Test. This test compares answers anonymously provided by AI and a human. The answers are returned in typed format. If the questioner can’t tell the AI from the human’s answers, it passes the Turing AI test. If allowed an interpreter for language and a typist for an opposable thumb, I submit my dog would do well on the Turing’s Test
It might go something like this:
- Questioner: “What is your favorite thing to do”
Human: “Go out to eat”
Dog: “Room service brought to me”
2. Questioner: “How would you comfort a distressed friend”
Human: “Look deeply into their eyes and listen attentively”
Dog: “Look deeply into their eyes, listen attentively; maybe drool a little bit”
3. Questioner: What would arouse a romantic interest deep inside of you?
Human: “Flowers and a delicious meal.”
Dog: “A vigorous ball-licking”
4. Questioner: What worries you about the future?
Human: That Yellow-haired moron getting into the White House
Dog: Yeah, that yellow-haired cat getting into the House.
5. Questioner: What are the ingredients for a full and meaningful life?
Human: “Health and senses of purpose, belonging and material security”
Dog: “Adequate sleep, a crack at that yellow-haired cat, and a huge fucking bag of kibble”
Well, the dog was doing pretty well up until that last answer, but really now, no other AI has fully passed the Turing Test yet either.