The Reality Of AI

The Reality Of AI, by the Z-Blog.

Microsoft regularly runs ads [see video below] explaining that thanks to AI, the modern world will run just fine without white people. IBM goes further, claiming their artificial intelligence robots are already running large swaths of the world. The robot revolution is here and humans are being replaced with machines. …

The Boeing 737 Max airplane that is riddled with so many problems may be a glimpse of the future. According to the news, they outsourced the coding for the planes “intelligence” to programming sweatshops on the Indian subcontinent. India is a land that struggles to manage basic sanitation, yet they are relied upon to produce complex software for complex systems.

The reality of artificial intelligence is that it is not here and it is not coming. One reason is we really don’t understand human intelligence. We have some sense of it, as in person X is smarter than person Y. We have some tests that give us an insight into individual and group intelligence, but those tests are imperfect. In fact, the so-called Flynn Effect may be the result of the flaws in testing. We may be picking up increases in things that are not a great influence on general intelligence.

When it comes to the biology of intelligence, science has identified about 50 alleles that negatively or positively affect intelligence. Think of them like the old dip-switches from the early days of computing. Some will positively impact IQ if closed, while having no impact if open. Others will negatively impact IQ if closed. Steven Hsu is involved in a project that one days hopes to be able to help parents select embryos for the highest chance of maximum intelligence, based on these correlations.

The fact is though, we really don’t understand human intelligence or human decision making very well. Therefore, creating artificial versions of something we don’t understand is unlikely. What we are calling AI today is just the result of technological progress in more mundane areas like disk capacity and bandwidth. We have an over capacity for data storage and all the bandwidth we need to connect it. That allows for faster processing of the same old boring tasks we have been performing for years.

There’s something else that works against the robot revolution. The smart fraction of the human race is getting dumber, not smarter. This is increasingly obvious to those who follow politics and current events. You can just look around your daily life and see that the basics of society are grinding to a halt in the West. Ed Dutton’s book, At Our Wits’ End, goes into examples and explanations for why we are getting dumber. Smart people in the West have fewer children and over time the results are manifest.

Of course, those Western populations have been the smart fraction of humanity for about 500 years now. The Chinese are certainly smart and there are a lot of them, but they have other characteristic that make them a poor substitute. They had 1000 years to take up the role of being the world’s smart fraction. Instead they created an insular society …

Then we have the swelling populations of the dumb fraction. Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing a population boom, which promises to flood the West. When people from Congo, the most backward place on earth, are turning up on the American southern border, it is fair to assume the West will be overrun by Africans. How many 85-IQ Africans does it take to sink the West? Detroit and Baltimore suggest a population that exceeds 25% is about the point where everything turns negative.