What Intelligent Machines Can Do, And What They Can't


Are killer machines coming to annihilate mankind? Are we headed for a dystopian future where robots are our overlords? Are the Cylons already among us? Are concerns voiced by industry icons such as Elon Musk, who has donated millions to The Future of Life Institute, warranted?

Oliver Schabenberger recently added a more measured voice to this debate in this commentary piece that he wrote for InformationWeek, pointing out that machines "are not surpassing us in thinking or learning." Schabenberger is the CTO of analytics software company SAS, and InformationWeek recently sat down with him to find out more about his thoughts on the opportunities presented by AI and more. Here's what he said.

Oliver Schabenberger, SAS CTO

Oliver Schabenberger, SAS CTO

First, in terms of definitions, Schabenberger notes that AI is really about using a computerized system to perform a human task. It's something that we could do ourselves but we decide to implement it through a computerized system. That definition is really different from creating a "thinking machine."

Rather, "the revolution is that we are now able to do those tasks with an accuracy that was previously not possible," Schabenberger told me in an interview. "We are interacting with our devices now with voice. Some years ago the accuracy was just not there for that to be a satisfying interaction, and now it is. And that changes our perception."

But these new functionalities are still very limited, according to Schabenberger. For instance, when it comes to understanding language, machines don't have context to understand conversation.

[Read the rest of this story at InformationWeek.com.]

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

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Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/25/2017 12:43:57 PM
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I expect there will be many unintended consequences. Things that cannot be seen now will alter much. I just hope the outcome isn't all doom.

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/21/2017 10:24:33 AM
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It does indeed leave the question of what happens to society and human psychology when robots take over what used to be manual tasks and eventually mental duties. Will that improve human evolution or change it in some yet to be seen direction that may be unintended?

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/17/2017 5:48:35 PM
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Seeing that robotic transverse the snow in the woods was awesome.  I can see the military using this as a means to enter highly dangerous areas. 

I would rather loose a robot than a soldier any day !

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/17/2017 5:45:44 PM
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@Lyndon_Henry    Thanks for the links.   All I can say is Wow !    The videos were simply amazing, I knew my view was a bit dated but I had no idea how dated it actually was in regards to the capabilities of free standing robotics!   I hope everyone see your links because it will change everything one thinks they understand about modern day robotics.

Seeing this video makes me realize robots are a lot closer to supplanting humans in basic warehouse roles at this point and I am sure there are many other areas that they are encroaching upon.

I am going to check out BostonDynamics, they are doing truly awesome work !

 

Thanks again Lyndon ! 

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/17/2017 7:59:54 AM
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Louis writes

When I think of Robots my mind often goes to contests where engineers are still struggling to keep them upright. Of course we have come much further since those early competitions but the point is progress for the most part is slow, laborious and expensive. 

Designers may be starting to solve the "upright" thing. When I watch these videos, the thought that comes to mind is that they need to start working on hands. 

BostonDynamics

Published on Nov 16, 2017

What have you been up to lately, Atlas?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRj34o4hN4I


BostonDynamics
Published on Feb 23, 2016

A new version of Atlas, designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings. It is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects. This version of Atlas is about 5' 9" tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 lbs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVlhMGQgDkY

 

 

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/16/2017 1:09:22 PM
NO RATINGS

Consider the consequences of no human doing any kind of dirty work. What sort of character can you build if you never have to do anything hard or dirty? Do we find ourselves living like the humans in Wall-E (or worse)?

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/16/2017 10:22:39 AM
NO RATINGS

Noting the old adage "Whatever the mind can conceive, it can acheive," makes me a bit worried for just what the future may hold as intelligent machines become commonplace and people seek more and more novel ways to have machines do the "dirty" work.

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/16/2017 9:23:19 AM
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I sure hope you are right.

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/14/2017 9:56:22 PM
NO RATINGS

Yeah, this discussion is going down a dark path. Defensive measures will important in an age where machines perform duties without human intervention. 

Re: intelligent machines
  • 11/14/2017 9:44:26 PM
NO RATINGS

Michelle writes

Thanks for sharing. I hadn't seen coverage of killer military robots.

 Also --- SCARY!! We live in a sci-fi universe of our own creation. 

I could envision these robotic aerial drone devices being used not just by the military but by other government agencies and even private individuals to knock off people they want to eliminate. Like, say, an ex-spouse ...

I could also foresee an industry developing to sell defensive devices that people who want to protect themselves could wear. Interesting possibilities. What kind of world are we coming to?

 

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