Friday, February 26, 2010

Binary Intelligence

  On August 31st, 1955,  John McCarthy, Marvin L. Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester and Claude E. Shannon introduced a proposal for a summer research project on artificial intelligence.  This was the first time that a reference to the idea of artificial intelligence can be found in modern history.
  Ever since then computer scientists have been exploring the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI).  There are now many companies dedicated to just AI.  In fact, you may not be aware of just how often you already encounter it.  Games like Sim City (yes, the first one), Total War and Halo have made huge advancements in AI. All of these games have been very influential in the development of AI.
  Before I get into the ins and outs of intelligence and my views on creating thinking machines, there is some groundwork that I want to lay.  There are several divisions or categories of AI that are typically researched.  The main categories according to John McCarthy are logical, search, pattern recognition, inference, common sense knowledge and reasoning, learning from experience, planning, epistemology, ontology, heuristics and finally genetic programming.  It is my opinion that the most fundamental category of AI is often forgotten or left out, and that is creativity.  A creative artificial intelligence would be capable of making new intelligences, as well as advancing technology in ways previously unimaginable, even in science fiction.

  Noah Websters 1828 dictionary defines intelligence as, "Understanding; skill."   An intelligence can also refer to a being, as the same dictionary also points out, "4. A spiritual being; as a created intelligence. It is believed that the universe is peopled with innumerable superior intelligences."  Unfortunately, it appears that most of the energy in AI points toward the second definition rather than the first.  Even efforts to program creative AI still focus on the idea of replicating part of human intelligence.
  Most AI defies any sense of moral law, and in an attempt to ignore the presence of God, tries to replicate a consciousness.  The idea that man can create a being capable of thinking, learning and even creating on it's own defies God.  It is built around the idea of evolutionary theory, and assumes that humans can become godlike.  The game Black & White is a horribly perfect example of this.  As a result of such beliefs, the idea of working with AI in any way shape or form is a very tedious task, and requires very careful attention to detail. 

  We as humans can't be expected to understand everything a computer can, or to be capable of making any where near similar calculations.  This fact is easy for us to grasp.  You wouldn't remember every cell of a one hundred row by one hundred column spreadsheet, or be able to draw it from memory.  Grant it there are people with photographic memories, and they do have computer like abilities, but there are other calculations that computers make, such as GUI or OS related operations, that humans are very slow at.
  Once you get this fact, it becomes natural to understand that a computer is incapable of understanding things in the same way that humans are.  As far as we know, brain cells do not work in binary.   Until we know exactly how a brain works (something I don't think is possible) we will never be able to duplicate it electronically.
  So where am I going with this?  It's an article on Artificial intelligence, but I just claimed that it's not possible!  Or did I?
  The foundation of modern exploration on artificial intelligence focuses on human, or animal like intelligence.  The goal that has been set by the leaders in AI research is to achieve human like intelligence.  To me this is absurd.  What kind of intelligence is a computer capable of?  A computer understands things to be either truth or error, on or off, yes or no.  If someone could figure out how to give such a machine the ability to create, the possibilities become endless!
  It is my belief that computers are capable of much more in the way of intelligence than we give them credit for, and yet the drive of almost all AI development has been to duplicate a kind of intelligence that we know computers are incapable of.  We know computers are capable of some learning, some pattern recognition, and a type of logic.  Let us now pursue the ability to create, not based on the idea that man can become a god, but based on the idea that we now have a technology known as computers, and we have the responsibility given by God himself to be good stewards of these resources.
  If a group of individuals can make a program with creativity based on these concepts, there is a good chance that it will be capable of creating things that us humans could not even dream of.  So what are we waiting for?


MoonShaw said...

This post confused me... =S

Danit. said...

Great Post! Full of truth.
How's everything going Nate?
We miss you over here. Hope I can see you soon! :)