Good morning, my little cyborgs!
Welcome to the latest edition of the Sunday AI Review – the top news from the week in artificial intelligence.
In a bid to avoid talking about the weather, let’s move straight on to the nitty-gritty this week’s news. Before I get onto that, though, I just wanted to share my very favourite article this week, which actually comes not from the realms of AI so much as the world of Robotics. You may have come across it already, as it has been everywhere, but if not, then I highly recommend you do read it right now. It is a really insightful long-form piece from US author, Alex Mar, in which she shares her experiences of four months in Japan with famed roboticist/artist, Hiroshi Ishiguro. It is an uneasy and simultaneously beautiful, heartfelt piece that I cannot recommend highly enough.
Secondly, as I read an awful lot about AI, as you might imagine, I have a fair few recommended AI books you might like to check out. So, I’ve put together a list of the top artificial intelligence books for AI obsessives, based on what I’ve been reading over this year. I am also looking for more suggestions for titles to add to the list, as a kind of ongoing project and handy resource, so if you have any you think I should add, please drop me a line. Equally, if you’ve written one yourself and you’d like me to read and review it, I’d be glad to do so here on the TDMB site.
Check out the list here:
Next, I also wanted to let you know that I am starting to gather together some of my favourite bits of my own writing over on Medium, so if you’re interested in reading more of my stuff, you can find me over there by clicking below:
Okay, well, enough of all that. Time to get on with the juicy bit… it’s the AI news this week!
Woah… steady there, George Dvorsky! It may be exciting news, but don’t go raising the spectre of the singularity just yet.
This is the news that AlphaGo has had an upgrade. The new, improved world champion Go player now requires no human interaction in order to teach itself to win the notoriously difficult board game. It proved itself worthy of the hype this week by beating the previous version (the one that famously kicked Lee Sedol’s ass in 2016). The souped-up new AlphaGo Zero (as it has been named) didn’t just beat its predecessor in one game, though. Out of 100 games, it won every single one of them. And it did it without, as I said, any human teaching whatsoever.
Is this a sign of the coming singularity? Or is it another example of, as Anatol Holt once put it, “a machine that can make the perfect…move while the room is on fire?”
Basically, how we teach AI is by feeding it massive datasets. So, it’s an information processor. It can, admittedly, make some marvellous discoveries from those datasets that we could never manage, but does that make it truly intelligent, in the way that sentient beings are? Hofstadter, professor of cognitive science and comparative literature at Indiana University, thinks not. And this Q&A session explains his reasons. A bloody brilliant piece, this one.
This, my friends, is fantastic. The article goes back in time to argue that we have always related the human mind to the latest technology of the day. It’s an interesting trajectory, which lands us where we are now, a world where – if you read nearly as many AI articles online as me – you come across the phrase ‘the human brain is like a computer’ at least once a day. So, ok, the brain isn’t like a computer and we should stop drawing out the erroneous metaphor… but what does this inaccuracy mean for our understanding of how to develop good AI? Omg, this is so goooood.
4. Instead Of Destroying Jobs Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Creating New Jobs In 4 Out Of 5 Companies (Forbes)
Will we be out of work or will everything be awesome? Yes, the weekly pendulum swing is back on the positive side this week. Good news! Everything is definitely going to be awesome. Your company just needs to BUY AI STUFF NOW and the future will be brilliant for everyone.
“We are all centaurs now.”
A very poetic way of saying that we are, each of us, half human and half machine. But will our new centaur race be as creative as our two-legged ancestors? Or is that creativity just now expressed in different forms as a result of our merging with machinery? I’m not talking about us being cyborgs, per se, more that algorithms and AI systems are becoming an increasingly integral part of our very selves. This is a great piece exploring the pros and cons of this movement, and what it means for human creativity.
This is usually the part where I would share with you a few of my favourites from the week, but they are all above. I must say, I cheated a little on 2-5. Buzzsumo kicked up some serious rubbish in the top five this week, so I went rogue. Now, however, I’m fully confident that what you have is the absolute best AI articles from the week. What’s more, I think they are all fantastic. It has really been a great harvest, and I hope you enjoy reading them all as much as I have.
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Have a wonderful week, all of you.