Richard, does it make you feel better about yourself to put people down, rather than have…
Maria Woike

@maria woike:

Well, you seem to read very selectively and only pick up the negative things? First, the original author admitted to me he was not a visionairy and he said he never claimed to be.

And no, I did not have a bad day. But it is tiresome to see people making negative remarks about what AI can’t do all the time. By doing so, they implicitly also say that those active in the field don’t do their jobs well enough, while making no contributions themselves.

First it was: computers can’t play chess, they will never win from the best humans. Then computers could and all of a sudden there was no longer any need for intelligence anymore to play chess or the brute force approach was kind of cheating and not playing “real” chess. And it still is: OK, computers can play chess, but they do not “really understand” what they are doing. Now let that be true. What does that say about “human intelligence”, if we fail to beat them? It doesn’t seem to be such a superior quality anymore.

Next was Go: OK, so computers can play chess (reluctantly), but only by using brute force. However, there is no way they will ever beat humans at Go.

Now computers can play Go, but the AI is still not generic, cause it can’t tie your shoelaces…

And: the same AI can play many very different Atari games and even transfer learned knowledge from one game to the next, but it is still a narrow field (games).

Also: computers “don’t really understand” traffic, but they will cause much less casualties in the nearby future than human drivers gifted with “superior biological” intelligence. Still, autonomous cars can “only” drive, but not open a champagne bottle.


So this is why AI sometimes is defined as the science of what computers (still) can’t do. (I prefer: can’t do yet).

It is like telling NASA: so you did put men on the moon, but you can’t get them to Mars. And when they are on Mars (they will): pick any further planet, moon, solar system or galaxy. And when we have spread all there, there will still be people moaning that NASA, ESA and Elon Musk can’t get them to the next parallel universe…

That is not constructive also. However, you did not mention a word about that. If people are disappointed by the current state of AI, why don’t they contribute instead of moaning all the time?

I bet that when we have ASI, there will still be a few people who say: these are merely machines that can’t “really” think and understand.

The original article can also be read as a pathetic attempt to still put humans on a pedestal: the top of the evolutionary ladder, far superior than anything artificial can ever be. Or for Creationists: humans are gifted with a soul, while animals don’t have one. We are God’s favorites and we have been put in charge to manage the garden of Eden. (Look what a good job we are doing).

I have mixed feelings about mankind and don’t always think we are so superior. We still can learn a lot from other (biological) species. I already accepted in 1983, at my first encounter with computers, that they are going to outperform us in many ways.

I don’t need to put down computers, the field of AI and people working in the field to keep my self esteem. I can live with computers getting far more intelligent than all of us combined (unless we merge with them).

And yes, I have much more respect for those in the field who are working hard to make progress (however tiny) than for those who can only complain and whine about what AI can’t do. How constructive is that?

Of course, AI is far from perfect yet, but the proper way is to signal shortcomings and take this to make improvements. Else don’t put down others who at least try to do exactly that and just shut up.

How have you been empowering me by putting down my whole article because you did not like the first few sentences? You did not mention a single positive thing about the rest of my article.

Then forget about me, but you don’t seem to mind that those working in the field of AI are being put down continuously? What is empowering about that?

It is always easy to criticise others, but hard to see your own mistakes. I would like to invite you to start improving the world by starting with yourself. Also, do not quote me selectively while ignoring 80–90% of my posts. Please be consistent and judge everyone the same way? So you should tell moaners about AI the very same as you told me: that they are not empowering others and are not constructive.

I would like to invite moaners to first have a try at AI themselves, so they can see how hard it is. Then maybe they will become more respectful to those who try and they will get more appreciation for what has already been accomplished. It is always easy to tell others they can’t pee 10 meters far. But because that is so easy, you won’t earn much respect with that.

I want to end this with a positive note, so a big applause to those who actually try to make progress in the field. Successful or not, at least you are trying. Now that is what is getting us further. And look how much further we are compared to just 70 years ago. That is really an awesome accompishment!

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