Thinking Exponentially Outside the Box
Writing for The Korea Herald (November 10, 2015), Robert Cheek calls for "Thinking outside the box" about "AI bots and robotic IoT" - whatever those are - and he borrows a chessboard to give an example:
In the book "Race Against the Machine"” by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, a chessboard is used as an example to describe the evolution of technology, specifically robotics and AI, an idea which they borrowed from Ray Kurzweil. In the story, the inventor of chess shows his new game to his emperor. The emperor is so impressed by the game that he grants the inventor the right to select his own reward. The inventor asks for a quantity of rice to be calculated as follows: One grain of rice is put on the first square of the board, two on the second, four on the third, and so on, with each square doubling the number of grains as the previous. The emperor agrees, thinking the reward too small. Much to his chagrin, he later sees that the doubling results in incredibly large numbers. The inventor ends up with 18 quintillion grains of rice, an amount which makes Mount Everest look like a molehill. The point of the story is that in an age of exponential technological growth, things only get really interesting in the second half of the chessboard. We are now on the second half of the board. And things are getting very interesting, indeed.How interesting? Read on about how we'll all be 'impacted':
Businesses of all types have been impacted by the moves already taken on the first half of the chessboard during the IT revolution that started in the 1980s. One example is what happened to photography with the advent of digital photography, which brought about the demise of some companies and emergence of others. This scenario is now happening in AI and robotics. Intelligent, easy-to-use machines dedicated to the service of humans are being developed and are becoming accessible to the majority of consumers in terms of cost. These robot systems will spell the end of many jobs and businesses, but create new jobs and businesses for those positioned for the change. For employment, however, the net result will be negative, and mass unemployment will become an issue with which governments must contend.Now, let's see, the benefits are that "scientists have created a 'mother robot' that builds smaller robots," and "technology now improves itself and learns from mistakes," and "mass unemployment will become an issue." Yes, this is "getting very interesting, indeed." Are we sure we want all these 'benefits'? Was the Unabomber right about technology?
The key difference between the intelligence revolution and the information revolution, however, is the rise of cyberphysical systems. The technology now improves itself and learns from mistakes. The digital genie is now out of the cyber bottle, whether as a classical humanoid robot, an autonomous car, a nanobot implant or a robotic chef system.
In the Cyberphysical Era we will see AI and robotics (AI-enhanced robots, or AI bots) permeate the physical world. The AI bots in the RIoT system will be components of a "hive mind," and use onboard processors as well as the cloud to learn from each other, not unlike a real-time Wikipedia for AI bots, thus magnifying their efficiency and growing its knowledge base. This year, IBM and Softbank gave birth to the first generation of AI bots by fusing Watson AI and Pepper, the service robot. While at the University of Cambridge, scientists have created a "mother robot" that builds smaller robots, and selects the fittest for survival, and rearranges the rest.
Ask yourself: "What would Jesus do?"