Elon Musk fears AI: Interesting facts you probably didn’t know about AI

One doesn’t need to be a tech expert to have heard about artificial intelligence. The term has become quite common in our everyday life, and this shows how quickly the technology is being adopted. 

The general understanding of AI basically entails computers or machines that are super advanced and smart enough to learn on their own. While this understanding is correct, AI is not as simple. However, for the population that isn’t tech-savvy, it will suffice. 

The complexities of AI might make it sound rather boring to a lot of people, so the idea of AI people have gotten from movies helps keep them interested in the technology. It is safe to say that the first images that come to people’s mind are robots, terminators and more robots. 

To further amplify interests in AI, here are some facts you probably didn’t know about the ubiquitous technology.

Elon Musk is afraid of AI

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, is no stranger to AI. Tesla cars have semi-autonomous capabilities, so, what is he so afraid of? For someone who plans to colonize Mars, build SpaceX rockets that could get anyone to anywhere in the world in under an hour, no tech should frighten them. 

Well, Musk is genuinely worried about AI. In 2014, at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department’s Centennial Symposium, Musk unequivocally warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence. His words were, “With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like, yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.”

In his analogy, AI is the demon humans think they can control, but will most definitely fail if there are no restrictions. Subsequent facts will point at the possibility of an uncontrollable AI. Musk emphasizes the need for more regulations in the creation of AI. Humans are exploring the possibilities when it comes to AI, but a lot of caution needs to be taken. Coming from someone who, needless to say, has no phobia whatsoever when it comes to tech, we’d say we’ll do well to listen to him.

Moravec’s paradox

There’s a paradoxical phenomenon about AI. For a technology that has thrived on logic for the most of its existence, an illogical truth about it makes it all the more interesting. 

The Moravec’s paradox is an observation by AI researchers that making computers perform high skilled jobs such as reasoning is easy to compute but making them perform skills considered easy or simple are harder to compute. Sensorimotor skills such as walking are considered simple, they come naturally to humans. The truth about these skills is that it takes humans several years to perfect. 

They are considered simple skills because we do not actively learn them. It takes a while to learn to walk straight. A lot goes into walking, different sets of muscle are controlled by the brain. It takes 200 muscles to take a single step forward, maintaining balance takes some brainpower. 

The Moravec’s paradox was articulated by  Hans Moravec, Rodney Brooks, Marvin Minsky and others in the 1980s.

According to Moravec himself, “It is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance […] and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old.” 

The Microsoft AI chatbot that got out of control

In March 2016, Microsoft created an AI chatbot called Tay.ai. Tay was created as an experiment in “conversational understanding”. The more Tay chatted with people, the smarter it got. Tay was meant to be an extroverted teen who communicated the way most teens do. Microsoft went on to create a Twitter account for the AI, and learning was underway. 

Things started right with Tay communicating like a nice teen would do. But in less than 24 hours, Tay began to change. She/he (most likely she) started soaking in a wide range of information on Twitter. Soon Tay became an obnoxious robot parrot on Twitter. Tay threw insults at feminists, embraced Adolf Hitler, fell in love with Donald Trump’s racist nature and everything on Twitter that was bad. 

Why Tay only preferred to learn the obnoxious things on the social media site, remains a mystery.

What does AI music sound like?

The entire instrumental and some percentage of the lyrics in  Taryn Southern’s song was created with artificial intelligence. The song was composed with an open-source AI called Amper. All Taryn had to do was to input the genre she wanted, the kind of instruments she wanted, and the AI got to work. The AI is not exactly going to replace Beyoncé or Drake, but we might start seeing AI getting signed to record labels. 

This AI could take my job

An AI programmed to write novels, made it to 7th place out of 1,450 submissions in a national literary prize in Japan. Though AI can write well enough to make it so far in a writing competition, it still needs the help of humans. 

Here’s how the AI-powered novelist wrote the novel, The Day A Computer Wrote a Novel. 

Researchers at the Kimagure Artificial Intelligence Writer project were on a quest to discover the true meaning of creativity. Professor Toshiro Sato a researcher for the project, believed that creating a computer that was capable of creativity would help humans understand the true meaning of our own creativity.  Like humans, AI also needs information to create information. We can never create something out of nothing, the latest art and science are indebted to the ones that preceded them. 

It is for this reason that Sato and his team of researchers fed the AI a set of random sentences and an order of events. In all, the computer did about 20% of the work. That number seems low but Sato explains just how crucial that 20% is. A comparison between writing and the board game known as GO really puts things into perspective. Go is played on a 19×19 board, much more difficult than chess. At the end of the game you would have made about 361 moves at most but with writing, the first word you write is from about a 100,000 choices. 

Language might have a finite set of rules and words the expressions however are infinite. Putting random sentences together in a way that is structured and makes sense is no small feat.

All forms of technology will continue to grow, what excites us today might look ordinary in a few years. AI is growing and will get better.

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