The Next Great Decoupling: AI Takes Control

Intelligence vs. Control

Certainly, when an app such as Waze tells us where to go, it must “think” about how many vehicles it sends on any particular route. It was created to reduce travel time for vehicles on the road. It does a very good job, which is why people use it. In practice, the more people use it, the better it gets. It “learns.” Harari’s thesis assumes the totality of Waze as a giant algorithm. While that is not accurate, let’s just go with it for the sake of argument.

Is Waze in control? It depends on your point of view. Waze is telling you how to go. But it is not telling you why. It is not forcing you to take the suggested route (although you or your autonomous vehicle might decide Waze knows best). It is suggesting a route that has the highest probability of getting you to your destination in the shortest period of time.

When you use Google to research a topic, is Google in control? It certainly controls what you see at the top of your search results page. But (at the moment) it does not tell you what to search for or why.

To my knowledge neither Waze, nor Google, nor any other AI is conscious – but I have no way to comprehend computer consciousness any more than the computer can comprehend human consciousness. I am not a computer, and computers are not human – at least not yet.

Will humans become as useless as Harari suggests when consciousness and intelligence are decoupled? Maybe. But there is something more sinister and disturbing that may occur before his predicted future arrives.

What Star Trek Made Me Think About

When will all the data (or a significant amount of data) from all the disparate, specialized, purpose-built artificial intelligence systems be hacked into a single, massive artificial control system? Or even worse, several competing massive artificial control systems? We could call it Meta-AI or Artificial Control – but whatever we call it, it won’t be good for us.

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Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, ...

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Trisha Sanders 9 months ago Member's comment

No, no spoilers please!

Gary Anderson 9 months ago Contributor's comment

I know there is a Utopean cult surrounding self driving cars. But they can't see in snow. They can't see where lanes are not strongly drawn. They cannot grasp cones. They cannot make high speed decisions. They cannot even operate at a 4 way stop. They cannot see so much. Humans can see.

Gary Anderson 9 months ago Contributor's comment

Wow, with all due respect, Hal is not on the way. Ford says self driving cars will never able to be fully autonomous. The hype is wearing off but people are still trying hard.

Adam Reynolds 9 months ago Member's comment

And Bill Gates once said we'll never need more than 640kb of memory. Never say "never." That's a strong word. Maybe we're 5 years away, maybe 20, but we WILL get there.

Gary Anderson 9 months ago Contributor's comment

Ford said never. Misallocated investment?

Craig Richards 9 months ago Member's comment

I agree with Adam. I think we're a long way off but only a fool says never. And if Ford said never... well then that was as short-sited as what Bill Gates said all those years ago.

Barry Hochhauser 9 months ago Member's comment

Pretty much everything that people once said computers could never do well, they can do. They said they could never beat a person in chess. Done. They said speech recognition could never be mastered, Done. And so on and son on.

Gary Anderson 9 months ago Contributor's comment

But those are narrow uses of AI. There won't be Hal driving on freeways.

David J. Tanner 9 months ago Member's comment

Hal was due out back in 2001. Still nothing anywhere near resembling that level of artificial intelligence. Which I think is a good thing!