Artificial Intelligence, Sanity Check

Cogito ergo sum (I think. Therefore I am) !Rene Descartes

The media streams nowadays are filled with various messages concerning Artificial Intelligence(AI) and the impact of it on our society, employment, education and way of work. The fact is that the technological advancements are transforming all of the above; however, before we can judge how these developments are influencing us, we first have to understand what Artificial Intelligence is. Also, before saying something is AI I want to elaborate on what so-called AI is but also connect it to something we don’t have a technological grasp on, our consciousness, but first, we have to answer a few questions.

1. What is intelligence, and can it be compared with human intelligence?

2. What is Artificial Intelligence?

3. What is consciousness and origin of it?

Intelligence has been defined in many ways, including the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence)

There are nine types of intelligence (by Mark Vital*):

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Since 1950s scientists have been trying to reproduce and develop machines which can mimic our brain functions which enable us to apply the named varieties of intelligence. However, the processing power nor storage capacity in last 60 years ware up for the challenge to come even close to the parallelism functions of our brain and application of the knowledge in different situations. Nowadays, the streams are filled with the impact of Artificial Intelligence. However, it is essential to understand what AI is before we dive deeper into understanding the difference between Human and Artificial Intelligence.

Before talking about Artificial Intelligence as the holy solution to every organisational challenge, we should dissect it. Artificial Intelligence is the sum of all its parts. Moreover, if, and there is a big if, in that, we ever could integrate the techniques into one solution, we would get a primitive copy of our brain-functions. However, still, it would be a system fed by people and not self-aware or conscious. Next time you read about Artificial Intelligence, please take some time to dive deeper into the proposed solution, and you will find out one or combination of few is referred to as AI.

Artificial Intelligence ‘under the hood.’

I want to oblige you to have a more critical view and do more research on the topic. Search for the signal and don’t be fooled by the noise of the AI hype.

So, scientists have been trying to mimic our brain functions for more than 50 years. So now we have made some progress, and we call it intelligence. However, can we compare the so-called AI with Human Intelligence? Let’s have a look at why it is wrong even to compare these two.

Computers are:

  1. Good at processing data
  2. No different from other computer software
  3. Can solve any problem (if you have right datasets)
  4. Great at fast calculations
  5. Great at finding patterns
  6. Complicated tasks
  7. Good at unmemorising
  8. Good at clarifying defined boundaries

Humans are:

  1. Bad at processing data
  2. Useful in making abstract decisions based on instinct
  3. Bad at unmemorising
  4. Able top apply everyday knowledge
  5. Feel, imagine, dream
  6. Unique
  7. Fulfilling complex tasks
  8. Good at making important decisions based on intuition and incomplete information
  9. Aware and have common sense
  10. Conscious

The answer to the previous question is: It is wrong to compare artificial intelligence to the human mind, because they are different things, even if their functions overlap at times. The future of human civilisation will depend on artificial intelligence, not perish from it. The solutions to cancer, security and safety all lie within this incredible domain of technology.

Artificial intelligence is excellent in processing vast amounts of data but bad at abstract thinking. Contrary to AI, humans are terrible at processing data in general but very good at making abstract decisions.

Let’s stop comparing AI with human intelligence

None of these statements points out that Artificial Intelligence if we should call it like that, is superior to the human brain or another way around. The point, they are different things, and that is beautiful.

Artificial Intelligence is excellent at repetitive tasks which are defined clearly, and in which data represent boundaries, but awful at general tasks that require intuition and decision making based on missing data or incomplete information.

Contrary to AI, Human intelligence excels at things where common sense and abstract decisions are necessary and are awful at processing at data.

When we analyse both, we can conclude that Artificial Intelligence is empowering human intelligence and supporting at tasks which are not within their field of excellence. They are complementary and improve each other and can perform functions which neither of them can do individually.

So, reading the differences, I would like to conclude not machines nor men alone will achieve progress. However, with joint efforts giving tasks to man or machine, depending on which of two has the best capacity and capability of completing the tasks with high efficiency and accuracy before making a decision or a judgement call. However, there is something else that comes to mind which challenges Artificial Intelligence even further, the lack of consciousness.

‘’Everything that can be de described will be automated!’

Everything described all processes, functions and with enough high-quality data will be automated. However, there is a catch within this phrase because most of the processes within companies are bound with tacit knowledge, human intelligence or better-said knowledge available in employee’s heads.

The data is not centralised, uniformised and of meagre quality. It is quite impossible to describe, let alone predict something while high-quality data is absent. Also, even when we put all the pieces together and develop smart software to define, visualise, predict and prescribe the future. A human being produces the solution, can we call it intelligent or is this nearly a simulation of the augmented intelligence extracted from the human mind?

Consciousness

However, for the machines to become intelligent, they have to become aware, and for them to grow awareness, they have to have consciousness. So before we touch AI, let’s discover our consciousness.

Is a worm conscious? How about a bumblebee? Does Siri or Alexa feel anything when you ask them to search or fulfil any given tasks for you?

The understanding of human consciousness has been a struggle for scientist all over the world since we have begun to write as species and even dough we are experiencing exponential growth in all fields due to the technology, we still can not grasp the meaning of consciousness nor where it comes from.

Is it then, possible to create a machine which is intelligent and self-aware? So to answer this question, we need the whole ecosystem of scientists, ranging from psychologists, cognitive scientists, philosophers, Information Technology engineers, Data Scientists et cetera. We want to know if a machine can really think as a person or is only acting like it without any awareness.

If we ware to build a perfect replication of our brain in software, it would never be conscious but designed and manufactured to mimic human brain functions. Also, if we simulate the brain function, the digital simulation would not be aware. Simulating something within a machine is not the real thing. Let’s say that the technological advancements enable us to simulate consciousness in a computer in upcoming decades. It will not experience anything. It will be electrical impulses jumping over circuits, and that is it.

Therefore, saying Artificial intelligence is a threat is build in human insecurities and bias, which is implemented in the algorithms which cannot be explained. Rather than writing about doom scenario’s, we should focus on how this new age of technology can be used to improve humanity in general. Improve health, mobility, education, food etcetera. Because at the end of the day, it will be man and machine, nothing less nothing more.

Amir Sabirovic

Digital Business Strategist, transforming companies through Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence while staying human | Public Speaker | Podcaster | Mentor