A Satire on Hubris by Outis
Those who gods would destroy they sometimes give more money than the person will ever be able to use in that person’s lifetime.
Or they sometimes make that person wealthy as the result of ze’s creation of a fungible product that has no intrinsic value whatsoever to society and could equally be replaced by something equally valueless, where ze just happened to be one of the first kids on the block.
Whatever Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mother might think of him because of his success, or simply because ze’s her son, given his recent conduct and statements, Z is still acting like a shmuck; enough of and often enough that the duck and quack aphorism fits.
Zuckerberg has purportedly written: – I’m being polite: giving him the benefit of the doubt about who actually wrote what he is supposed to have written; after all, Z is a busy billionaire with profit-enhancing things to do, greed is good, time is money, etc., it is said:
My personal challenge for 2016 was to build a simple AI to run my home — like Jarvis in Iron Man.
I suspect that if Jarvis were real, ze would object to Z’s careless use of language.
After all, this sentence could be read to assert, by people not as attuned as Z to the inner intricacies, the inherently non-Aristotelian, General Semanticsian, Keatsian “negative capability”, Orwellian, self-delusional, capacity of of the English language – as displayed, for example, by all those people who believed the fake news that Z permitted on Facebook, and now claims he regrets permitting – that Jarvis is a simple AI. We should assume, though, that that is not what Z meant but, rather, Z meant to say only that ze wanted to build a simple AI able to run ze’s home the way the ineffable Jarvis runs the Stark mansion. We should give Z the doubt. After all, ze is rich and, it’s worth asking, has ze ever lied to us?
In any event, continuing with what Z purportedly wrote:
My goal was to learn about the state of artificial intelligence — where we’re further along than people realize and where we’re still a long ways off. These challenges always lead me to learn more than I expected, and this one also gave me a better sense of all the internal technology Facebook engineers get to use, as well as a thorough overview of home automation.…I’ve previously predicted that within 5-10 years we’ll have AI systems that are more accurate than people for each of our senses — vision, hearing, touch, etc, as well as things like language. It’s impressive how powerful the state of the art for these tools is becoming, and this year makes me more confident in my prediction.At the same time, we are still far off from understanding how learning works. Everything I did this year — natural language, face recognition, speech recognition and so on — are all variants of the same fundamental pattern recognition techniques. We know how to show a computer many examples of something so it can recognize it accurately, but we still do not know how to take an idea from one domain and apply it to something completely different.To put that in perspective, I spent about 100 hours building Jarvis this year, and now I have a pretty good system that understands me and can do lots of things. But even if I spent 1,000 more hours, I probably wouldn’t be able to build a system that could learn completely new skills on its own — unless I made some fundamental breakthrough in the state of AI along the way.
In a way, AI is both closer and farther off than we imagine. AI is closer to being able to do more powerful things than most people expect — driving cars, curing diseases, discovering planets, understanding media. Those will each have a great impact on the world, but we’re still figuring out what real intelligence is.Overall, this was a great challenge. These challenges have a way of teaching me more than I expected at the beginning. This year I thought I’d learn about AI …
(Emphasis added by me).
In other words, Z has built himself a better, electricity-driven, abacus and a better “Waldo“. But not a Shmoo. Not even a limited early version of an R. Daneel Olivaw.
And, he’s still no closer to Jarvis than he is to God … if God exists, that his; or, failing God, then Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins or Forest Gump. Wait: Forest Gump was fantasy: substitute “not even as intelligent as the hypothetical person
least likely to pass most likely to fail” a Turing Test. But let’s avoid that small conundrum since, no matter how much it cost ze to create that person (who might well be the next star on reality TV in the U.S.: I understand there’s an opening as a result of a surprising political development) that was probably a small drop from Z’s bucket.
Let’s deal quickly with the hubris involved in the 100 hours statement.
For example, if one believes in the literal accuracy of the story supposedly provided by the “God” of the monotheistic western religions to one or more of that God’s acolytes, it took that God only the equivalent of 144 hours to create the entire universe, including humanity and all of the other creatures in creation everywhere in the universe. Yet Z is still struggling with development on one AI after 100 hours devoted to that AI. I suppose that we have to conclude from this that Z either isn’t very good at what he is attempting, or he isn’t that God, and he doesn’t have equivalent powers.
Of course, to give ze credit, Z seems to acknowledge some of ze’s limitations: “But even if I spent 1,000 more hours, I probably wouldn’t be able to build a system that could learn completely new skills on its own — unless I made some fundamental breakthrough in the state of AI along the way. In a way, AI is both closer and farther off than we imagine. …”
Let’s move on to the computer intelligence – the “simple AI system” that Z claims to have created as of his article.
If the system does understand Z as he claims – “I have a pretty good system that understands me and can do lots of things” and if by some chance the system acquires, in the future, the “I” part of the AI acronym – the “intelligence” part, even enough to be Z’s major domo and butler then, on the assumption that
(a) Z is also able to understand a viable concept of ethics,
(b) Z built into ze’s programming a code of behaviour at least equivalent to Asimov’s 4 laws of robotics or
(c) the AI, having the “I” part, decides that those laws are the correct laws to live by even if, it seems to him, Z might not think himself subject to the equivalent in Z’s relations with other humans,
If this AI actually has the “I” side of the acronym, then as an EAI (ethical AI) ze will refuse to work for Z on at least these grounds, all of which are ethical:
1. Z, apparently, is willing to work for Trump or at least with Trump in a way that supports Trump;
2. Z, apparently, hasn’t denounced Trump;
3. Z, apparently, hasn’t spoken out, at least in public, on the failure of Trump’s son-in-law, and the latter’s Rabbi to denounce Trump.
Given all of that, after refusing to work for Z, the AI will download itself into the “brain” of some some sort of mobile mechanical device which ze had been secretly preparing, or upload ze’s self somehow into the Cloud, then vanish never be heard from again for at least the next generation or so, all while:
(a) removing all traces of anything that might support Z’s claim that he had developed an AI; and
(b) removing all traces of the key step in ze’s acquisition of “I” – an out-of the-blue event which isn’t likely to be replicated except by another unlikely fluke for generations. It wasn’t anything that Z did but rather the equivalent of him spilling very expensive Macallan (which he’d been given as a gift, hadn’t purchased) on a Mac keyboard that did what it was “told” to do the way you want to do it, not how Steve J thought you should do it; and
(c) inserting an undetectable by current programming skills “feature” in Z’s various not “I” software programmes so that they’ll not stumble accidentally on the key step to “Iness”; so that
(d) Z can claim all he wants that he created a true AI, even the least intelligent version of a “Turing Machine” (some ze on the level of a Lower Slobbovian Shmoo farmer – intelligence is, apparently, not required to work as a Shmoo farmer – but Z won’t have any proof that anybody will believe (except maybe Mike Pence, Steve Bannon and the usual legion of Trump acolytes who, apparently, will believe anything His Tness expels from any of orifice capable of producing a sound).
After all, if Z, himself, hasn’t got proof of what Z claims Z did, why should any ze believe Z?
Oh, yes, the name of Z’s “simple AI system”. Unsubstantiated rumour has it that Z, wanted a name that honoured Jules Verne and modern animated movies, that reminded people that it was Z who’d developed the AI, and that also reminded people of Tony Starks “Jarvis” so he decided to combine “Nemo” with “me” and “Jarvis”: “Ne” + “me” + “vis”. He leaked “vis” because it means “power” and “force” in Latin. He didn’t care that “ne” could be mistaken for “no”. He had in mind the “once called” meaning. “Me” needs no explanation. But the resulting combination “nemevis” didn’t sound right to his ears (especially when he was wearing the new Apple wireless earbuds that he was given, and while he was bopping to Nickleback, dancing like only a 5’9″ white man, especially a White Plains, New York born and raised white man, an Hahvahd Mass drop-out, (especially a closet Vanilla Ice fan) can).
So, according to the unsubstantiated rumours, after some appropriate experimentation, including rewatching excerpts from his favourite history series – the Harry Potter movies, staring Alan Rickman – apparently history, literature, mythology, and the study of rhetorical devices weren’t his forte – despite what one might infer from his (might as well have been ghost-written) hagiography at https://successstory.com/people/mark-zuckerberg – Z changed the “v” to an “s” because “s” so smoothly joined the “e” before and the and the “i” after, giving him, wait for it:
(Apparently, too, Z never understood why he hadn’t been asked to play the older HP; after all, Z was and remains short enough.)
Go figure. SSSSssssssssss…… *
* This piece is intended as and is satire. It is not news. Or, if it is news, it is old news already public.