<< back Page 2 of 2

AI—A Dangerous Tool or a Fool’s Errand?

The science of neural networks seeks to develop machine systemizations that mimic animal (and even human) thought through the creation of non-biological neural messaging. Automated vehicles, automated cleaning systems, and advanced sports metrics are three areas of technology that have seen incredible advancements in recent years. Yet none of these areas have tangibly exceeded the ability of the human brain to perceive and infer. 

Automated Cars and Trucks

Automated cars and trucks can be seen wandering the streets of the six sister cities of Silicon Valley (www.dbta.com/Editorial/News-Flashes/The-Six-Sister-Cities-of-Silicon-Valley-125972?.aspx) through the dark of night and even during the day, collecting data-building sets of information that the GPUs can crunch in nanoseconds to instantly calculate the best-possible option to take in every conceivable situation on the roads. Automated vehicles seldom make mistakes, but they also never infer, are never creative, and get stuck when the best answer is not the product of a calculation. 

Robotic Cleaning Systems That Learn

Robotic cleaning systems are fun to watch and tremendously useful. Sometimes, they know how to learn. After your automated cleaning system gets stuck a few times inside a particular chair, it can collect enough data to stop going through that chair’s legs, and it may even remember that same lesson when you move the chair. However, the whole system needs to be retaught when you buy a new carpet, or your dog decides that the robot is now a competitor for a particular corner of the house. Automated cleaning systems do not infer, do not exercise creativity, and simply stop when they run out of power. 

Sports and Life

Sports is the perfect allegory to life. Modern baseball has become the refuge of those who could never qualify for a sports team. The computer calculations can tell the general manager who to hire as a manager and which players to put at the correct positions on the field when a particular batter steps up to the plate at a critical point in the game. That is, until the innovative batter decides to apply a different approach to the crucial at bat. So, when the infield has shifted to the spot where that particular batter hits the ball 95% of the time, the batter can use his mind, his creativity, and his inspiration to hit the ball to the opposite side of the field. Score one for the human and zero for Sabermetrics. When creativity is combined with brilliance, genius emerges—and genius is the only power that changes the world. Genius is most often manifested in art, including the art of sports. 

No Substitute for the Human Mind

Returning to the original thesis of this article for a moment, we should remember that throughout history, mathematics has preceded science by 50–100 years. Mathematicians work on their abstractions, and then sometimes, decades later, a technologist uses that mathematics in some component of a product. Today, the reverse is true. The technology is far ahead of the algorithms necessary to give a computer the ability to infer or be creative. Until automated cars have the ability to infer, they won’t be able to master dotted lines on the highway that were drawn incorrectly, automated cleaners won’t be able to outmaneuver the curious beagle, and sports calculations certainly won’t understand that all at bats are situational. There is no substitute for genius, and despite the awesome power of the GPU and the majesty of the new manifestations of AI, there is no substitute for the human mind.  

<< back Page 2 of 2


Subscribe to Big Data Quarterly E-Edition