This might be a slight oversimplification, but it strongly suggests that the concerns raised in my last post are not far off the mark.
First of a few posts with my own thoughts arising from the recent New Scientist ‘Instant Expert’ event.
Games and Game Theory appear to be the ruling paradigm for the current AI top dogs. Both Irina Higgins and Simon Lucas made clear cases for the choice of gaming environments as AI training grounds, and referenced Game Theory, too.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to argue with them – but I do think it is worth examining the assumptions that underlie gaming approaches and Game Theory, and considering these as they relate to the problem spaces which we dearly wish that AI could help us with. As you might guess, I am not sanguine… Continue reading “Games and Game-Theory – the trouble with paradigms…”
Pentti Haikonen is adjunct professor in the philosophy department at the University of Illinois at Springfield. An electronics engineer by training, he has constructed the experimental robot XCR-1, designed to exhibit conscious-like behaviour, and has written several books on approaches to developing conscious robots.
Kerstin Dautenhahn is Professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Hertfordshire. Her research interests include social learning, human-robot interaction and social robotics. She is the co-creator of KASPAR, a robot designed to help children with autism develop communication skills.
Making the third presentation at this event, Kerstin explained her background in biological cybernetics, and the ways that her work revolves around the interactions between humans and robots/AI, concerned particularly with systems that aim to help people.
She was concerned to be immediately clear: robots are not people.
Elaborating, she pointed out that each robot you encounter is a de novo creation, not only lacking a common biological heritage with humans – making them unavoidably alien, but without any necessary shared characteristics (either deep or apparent) with any other robot.
Further, now and for the foreseeable future (in her opinion), robots have no psychology – there is no ‘mind’ in there.
The term robot, then, is a moving target, without a firm definition (I was surprised that we weren’t reminded of the etymological origin of the word ‘robot’ in the Czech word for ‘slave’), so that any conversation about robots must be particularly clear as to terms. This, however, is difficult, because of two very strong human traits;
Irina Higgins is a senior research scientist at DeepMind, and has a background in neuroscience.
The second presentation at this event largely focused on telling a story about DeepMind’s development of AlphaGo – using this as a vehicle to explain DeepMind’s approach and give insights into its culture.
She told us that DeepMind now has 300 scientists, and was keen to emphasise the high-minded aspirations of the organisation – from its mission statement;
to its ‘intentionally designed culture’, which aims to mesh the best aspects of industry and academia; the intense focus and resources of the former with the curiosity driven open-ended approach of the latter.
DeepMind’s operating definition of general intelligence is apparently; Continue reading “New Scientist Artificial Intelligence day – Session One; the Mainstream – Irina Higgins”
We’re building a medical app. Of course, Therapy-Smarter isn’t collecting deeply intimate data – just basic contact information, some physiotherapist’s notes, exercise prescriptions and exercise performance data – but nevertheless, medical data is medical data- it’s inherently sensitive, and any company that cares about its reputation needs to take data privacy – and thus data security – very seriously indeed.
So, we’ve been thinking about it fairly hard – but not in a technical way; it’s a specialist domain and we assume that we will need to pay people who know what they are doing to advise us on best practice and then get them to assess our implementation.
No, we’ve been thinking hard about security in terms of business culture, because it seems painfully clear that this is where security weaknesses really come from. That’s right – I’m saying that security weaknesses have much more to do with business culture than they have to do with engineering.
This is in many ways a companion piece to my previous post – it started out as a version for LinkedIn, but rapidly evolved into something with a different emphasis.
The internet revolution has changed the landscape of our lives, and yet the disruption has only just started. Existing ways of doing business are largely unchanged from the way they were 20 years ago. Hilarious disconnects exist all over, when ultra-slick digital-only processes crash into messy physical transactions.
There is a reason for this. Coders like to code – they like the safe, ordered, complicated-but-not-truly-complex world of programming. And coders are the ones who feel empowered to invent digital businesses. So, of course, the early digital businesses are the ones that can be achieved with purely digital workflows, and don’t require the startup team ever to leave their own world.