Time To Re-examine Ourselves 


 With the rise of artificial intelligence and the possibilities projected by research, the question of humanity and what it is to be human, surfaces.  Because the original goal of scientists was to create a human-like robot within a few years, human life was oversimplified and underestimated.  This is still prevalent today when individuals refer to themselves as having mechanical, computer like qualities.  Individuals refer to remembering ideas as "storing files" and "retrieving" them later.  Students often want to erase information from their memory after exams because they want to save more space for other information.

As research advances and progress continues to proceed slowly, it appears that creating human intelligence is not as easy as planned.  This process of using our brains to create one leads to questions of uniqueness and identity.  As a part of human nature, individuals would like to believe that they are special and not a pattern for copying.  Therefore, in order to create a robot in the human vision, it too must display uniqueness and individuality.  In the process of trying to create consciousness and thought, one lesson being learned is that intelligence is complicated and multi-faceted. An appreciation for personality, talents, emotions and so on is strengthened through the process of re-examination.

The actual approaches taken by scientists, for example, bottom-up and top-down, are an attempt to explain the nature of intelligence in humans.  By striving to create human intelligent robots, researchers have been faced with examining their own processes as humans.  Whether or not it is reassuring that we are either bodies filled with millions of facts interpreting ideas from many domains (top-down) or bodies that have learned through experience (bottom-up) is not relevant.  It is the fact that we have to re-examine ourselves that is important.  It is through this process that we gain an appreciation and better understanding of ourselves.

When Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, was that an indication that machines are smarter than humans?  If Deep Blue was asked to describe how it "felt" when it won the match, would it be able to do so?  If it is unable to do so, does that mean it is not intelligent?  Question after question can be posed to the degree of interconnection between thought, emotion, and intelligence.  Quite possibly they have nothing to do with each other and it is the egocentrism of humanity that has placed them as interconnected entities.

Re-examination might leave individuals pondering the roots of intelligence and what intelligence really is.  One might conclude that computers are better at some things and humans are better at others.  This does not mean that computers are smarter than humans or vice versa.  It merely points out that the two are different.  Mentally struggling the concept of artificial intelligence is itself a positive search.  The re-examination may bring us closer to understanding what it means to be human.

  "The match is not about competition between people and machines.  It is a demonstration of what makes us human beings so different from computers."-ACM      


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This document was created April 19, 1998 and last modified on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 17:34:10.
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