A Compromise With AI and Me

Navigating within this field of artificial intelligence is still as exciting as it was since I started writing one new article about AI every day — more than a 160 days ago. However I have had a contentious relationship with those calling artificial intelligence for ‘it’ or asking for ‘more AI’. There are people I have encountered who argue on behalf of robot rights; speculate on singularity; dream of transhumanism etc. My relationship with this have been quite agnostic. Perhaps it relates to my relationship with religion, I hated going to church before, and now I have nothing against tagging along.

Anthropomorphism: is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology.

Indulging in people’s thoughts about AI can be interesting, and perhaps as an anthropologist I should be more respectful and interested on the meaning that people generate when they talk of AI. Talking about AI has become commonplace for me, like talking about the weather. Both because I do it everyday, but also because of this project in and of itself. “Hey, did you hear Alex has been writing a new article about AI every day for more than 100-something days, isn’t that crazy?” Then it quickly develops into a range of questions about artificial intelligence.

Being topical in communication seems to invite for topical discussions. Whichever way that a friend wondered about a specific AI application becomes a long rant from my side. Before when I talked about AI few listened, but now people listen more often, although I may not know a whole deal more about the topic than I did previously. Then again this could be a typical Norwegian cultural understatement, because I do know a lot more than I did.

Enacting the various AI discussion points:

  1. AI will kill us, we should worry about the robots.
  2. When AI becomes human, then what will become of humans?
  3. We need to give AI rights so that it will be benevolent when it gains superintelligence.
  4. I don’t believe in AI it’s just a hype thing. I am not interested.
  5. I know a guy that works with AI, should I put you two into contact?
  6. I saw something about AI on the news, check out this link.

All good and valuable discussion points, however it has to be considered that I take very few of these points at face value. Instead I try to de-mask them, attempting to explain why ‘this is not so’. However I should take all of these points to heart and consider the meanings that different between people.

Machine learning engineers know a great deal more about AI than I do in a technical sense. However skills are somewhat different from knowledge or interpretation. I have argued before that intelligence is different than understanding. Yet this does lead into an enacted role too of the AI engineer and the non-engineer.

I have had to come to terms with others not wanting to understand, I wonder if there is an equivalent to preaching to the quire in the AI community. Perhaps it could be extended to training data. Training on the same dataset and expecting different results?

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 164. I write one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau

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