Artificial Intelligence is Neither Artificial Nor Intelligent

We invented it. Right?

So much for the artificial part.

And please don’t insult my intelligence by calling it intelligent.

But, here’s an example of how we might have thought it was both artificial and intelligent. Doctors these days are specialists. We have sooo much knowledge about the human body (slightly less about cats) that it’s impossible for one doctor to spend a lifetime to learn it all. So, there’s one guy who kind of knows about the various parts and the problems the body encounters (he’s called a GP which stands for Generic Problem-solver) and he looks at you and then looks into his phone to get the number of the guy who knows more about whatever you came in complaining about than he does. And then he sends you to him. The economics work because each time a doctor looks into his phone to get a number, he gets paid.

But the GP is at the bottom of the ladder and so he’s kind of looked down upon by doctors who have spent their lives studying everything about index fingers, for instance. You can do a whole post graduate study and research on index fingers to become an indexologist. So, if you’re just a normal person with a sore index finger, the GP will send you to the indexologist and they both get paid. Nice, right? And then up and up through the layers of doctors until you find the doctor who can finally diagnose the problem, that your fingernail needs clipping.

So, this is the pyramid of human intelligence. Everyone knows just their own little bit. And these pyramids have solved a lot of things. But when one person dies or gets Alzheimers his little part of it may disappear.

Think of the actual pyramids. Someone built them, individuals together knew each inch of how they were engineered, but all we have today is a nice pile of stones and a lot of questions. That particular pyramid of knowledge is all top and no bottom.

It’s the same with so-called artificial intelligence. Someone invented a language that would instruct computers to stand on the back of a heaving pachyderm, for instance. And when you give those words to a computer that understands it, they do indeed stand on Dumbo’s back. The computer is then labelled as “pretty smart” by the guy who invented the language and by other humans who think that the guy who invented the language is pretty smart, and Dumbo is well, Dumbo. This is how pachyderms lose their place in the pecking order. But that is not what I’m writing about today.

Now here’s the rub. Other humans learn the language that the guy invented but they use it slightly differently to program the computer to jump through flaming hoops, for instance, and then slightly differently again to stand with dogs in a line on their hind feet, and then slightly differently yet again to salt peanuts. In fact, they use the language to get the computer to do so many circus tricks, that they get the Nobel Peace Prize for Ringmasters.

But, and here’s the problem, they change the language the first guy invented just a little bit…a tiny little twist to fit their needs, so that when the first guy said jump and the computer jumped on Dumbo’s back, the second guy has changed it to “jup” and the computer will grab the hands of its partner and fling itself from one trapeze to another without a net. Cool right? Except the guy who got it to jump on Dumbo’s back, way back when, is dead or gone or forgot how he did it. He’s human after all, and he was using pick-up sticks to figure the right probability and they don’t make pick up sticks any more. Either way, the path is lost. But the computer remembers. Yes, we still have a computer that under certain conditions will jump on the backs of pachyderms.

Now, what if you bought one of those computers. And what if the company you bought it from feels that computer does so many things that it‘s starting to confuse people who for the most part are analog thinkers. So, they hire a bunch of people and put them in a call center and they try and teach them all to be GPs.

“I don’t know,” they say when you call and your laptop is stuck between the legs of a pachyderm. But they look into their iphone and transfer you to someone who might know more. So, the knowledge that one guy invented and got a prize for and others thought was cool, and then someone else made a business plan of and sold computers to other humans that did those intelligent things, is now fungible. It might exist or then again it might not.

At some point it was real. At some point it was intelligent. Someone made it jump, but it wasn’t you and the computer you bought to make it jump can’t do it anymore, or only under certain circumstances. But it CAN do operations on the hind legs of dogs to make them easier to train. It’s only artificial to you because you didn’t invent it and you don’t understand it or what it takes to accomplish its tasks, so it is artificial to you, and authentic only to the man who invented it, who has forgotten. It was intelligence, but let’s be real, it’s not YOUR intelligence and it’s not the phone operator/ help desk man’s intelligence even though he was trained to be nice when they told you this and it’s not even the computer company’s intelligence. So, it is labelled artificial intelligence.

Do you follow?

Humans need other humans to put together enough intelligence to do intelligent things. That’s the way it is. Let’s face it, left to our own devices we’ll stick marshmallow peeps up our noses. That’s true artificial intelligence.