Monday, April 30, 2018

Intelligence => War?

Is war an inevitable product of intelligence?

Let's first define intelligence very simply.

I think of intelligence as a means of learning through experience and then applying that knowledge to reach a goal.

This implies that you are able to change your behavior with the potential of reaching that goal.

Dogs can learn through positive reinforcement, to repeat a behavior at will. Dogs can learn to not perform an action from punishment as well. We humans exploit their fewer featured intelligence in order to control their behavior.

Even insects have a form of intelligence. Their behavior seems instinctual, deterministic, and static. However, generation after generation through random DNA mutations, and natural selection, their evolution is a means of re-programming.

Looking at the latest in AI: AlphaGO. AlphaGo is amazing, because it isn't actually specifically programmed to be good at Go. That wouldn't really be AI. It would be deterministic and do the same sort of behavior every time. AlphaGo is capable of doing pattern recognition from experience and when given a goal, it can change its behavior and decision making based on achieving that goal. This dynamic ability change your decision making is essentially re-programming yourself.

Having the ability to re-program your behavior is one thing, but to be able to re-program your goals goes even further. Being able to set mini-goals to achieve a bigger one. This ability I would consider to be a more advanced feature of intelligence.

Going back to insects, their goal, whether they know it or not is to pass their DNA on to ensure the survival of its species. I would argue of all life at a macro-level share this goal, whether conscious or not. After generations and generations, random mutation set up a system within the ant species where there are worker ants and a queen ant and others, and they all have their own behaviors that their DNA pre-programs into them. Each one of these roles all added up to the result where that species survived. Those mini roles can be analogized to the mini-goals to achieve the bigger goal of surviving the species.

Dogs enjoy companionship (wild dogs hunt in a pack), fun (play fighting, chasing), all mini-goals programmed into them through evolution to make dogs better at surviving.

Humans however can change our goals, create mini goals, even reject the goal most life has to reproduce. Our brains are so advanced we can go against our own personal interests and macro interests. This is because we don't need evolution to re-program our goals or behavior.

Advanced AI, I argue, would be able to do the same. Let's look hypothetically at a simple AI.
Let's pretend it could change its behavior via generating new behavior algorithms. It could have host of algorithms that all wait for specific stimuli to activate its respective behavior, and delete or de-prioritize algorithms that aren't effective at achieving its pre-programmed goal.

This type of AI could only attain the level of intelligence of the dog.

Now let's look at AI with the ability to dynamically change its goals, and not just its behavior.
Let's say that this AI changes its goals randomly. After enough time, you could assume that this AI would inevitably generate the goal to survive. If there's one thing that intelligent beings are good at doing, it's improving on the behaviors that help attain their goal. If you are interested in being able to swim, you have a much better chance at getting skilled at swimming, through motivation. An AI that is interested in its own survival will likewise learn to improve at surviving.

This AI presumably computer based AI could hypothetically generate algorithms to reproduce and back itself up so that we humans could not just easily delete it. It could view humans as a threat and generate algorithms to isolate itself or even neutralize us as threats. Thinking Skynet yet? It could generate the most penetrating viruses and worms and shut down our entire way of living. Takeover fully automated factories to create its own UAVs and killer robots.

While very doom and gloom, these theories are plausible because an intelligence that has the ability to change its own goals may not share goals with other intelligent beings.

There is a little bit of chicken and egg with where the goal of surviving came from. Was that goal the product of a random mutation in DNA? If so, then how did we survive before? Since we don't necessarily get skilled at things we aren't interested in, then maybe our behavior was already good at surviving? Maybe the goal of surviving is made up, and it is only just an abstract idea, it is just the random collection of our behaviors got better at surviving because everything else wasn't and died off. The latter seems more likely. Regardless, the collection of behaviors tend to allow the species to survive, ruthless or not, becomes a sort of subconscious goal. Maybe AI doesn't need the ability to directly change its goal, but after billions of iterations, just becomes good at surviving through natural selection. You could still get an AI that generates an algorithm that takes action against humans through random chance, because that particular AI may be the AI that is good at surviving. This capacity has the potential to find a symbiotic relationship with other species, and also the potential for destruction. I think if we assume there's an infinite amount of time where an infinite amount of variations of AI and its goals are exercised, war certainly seems an inevitability.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The long 4 years ahead, will not be marked with remorse.

Words are cheap.

Especially Trump's.

"I'll judge him by his actions." is what his skeptical yet supporting voters say.

His actions are already affecting everyday Americans. His cabinet picks are sending waves of discomfort throughout the Nation, and while there are massive protests, it seems like that discomfort has not reached his supporters. Are they suffering from too much pride?

BMW and Mercedes Benz are high end luxury auto companies. They have this strategy of removing buyer's remorse, whereby they spend millions of dollars on advertising. Not to attract new buyers, but to make sure that their customers stay emotionally content with their purchase. This seems counter-intuitive, but for car companies, they want customers to pay off their original loans, and provide service, parts, and maintenance (which are actually where most of the money is made in the automotive industry).

If Trump is an expert at one thing, it's marketing. Voter remorse will be his number one priority to mitigate during his term. Just like with luxury automobile companies, he want his voters to stay loyal, and thereby get re-elected. Voters, just like buyers are afraid of having made a bad decision and looking foolish among their peers. Therefore they will avoid logically analyzing their decision. Marketing experts know this, and will proactively address all areas of potential remorse.

Here are a few things Trump will do to implement this:

  • Not say sorry. - This will put him in a perception of admitting wrong-doing.
  • Perpetuate emotional arguments rather than logical. - For example, perpetuating a "common enemy" among Americans, such as illegal immigrants. This is called fear-mongering, and just as it was done in the early 1900s with Antisemitism, it is being done today with minorities. The belief of a zero-sum economy where every refugee or immigrant added is at the dire expense of those in the majority.
  • Sharpen the Contradictions - to cast the majority under the light of a few, polarizing and amplifying differences between groups. Divisiveness is what got Trump elected. He rode the wave of Nationalism by demonizing Liberals.  America's loudest are also its most politically extreme, and for good reason. The squeaky wheel get the oil right? You can't make progress for your beliefs without action. Each side constantly demonizes the other with no empathy invested in the other, and in the short term they are incentivized to continue.
  • Argue for Apathy - straw manning or otherwise minimizing an argument to promote a apathetic perspective. Black Lives Matter? "NO... ALL LIVES MATTER!" That response can indeed make sense because on its own because "Black Lives Matter" sounds exclusionary. Yet that's not the intent. Dark skinned people are dis-proportionally subjected to all forms of violence, arrests, and other discrimination. It's a cry for help, pointing out a critically serious systematic form of oppression. Saying "All Lives Matter" minimizes and ignores the real issues and instead focuses on semantics. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thoughts on the recent violence and gun regulations

I believe that guns don't kill people. People kill people. I agree that second amendment rights should be protected, yet some types of firearms do seem excessive. But ultimately it isn't what type of weapon is available that is of concern to me. It's WHO has access to these weapons.

For example, people of all characteristics drive all sorts of vehicles. Some drive tiny electric cars, some drive your everyday sedans, while others drive giant SUVs. Then there are those who own flashy sports cars and those who command commercial 18-wheelers. And anyone who passes a driving test and has been deemed eligible to drive safely can purchase any said vehicle or at least get behind the wheel of such street-legal vehicles. What matters isn't what vehicle is being driven. You can toss me the keys to the fastest sports car and I will probably still drive like a paranoid new mom with her baby in the backseat (though sport cars don't even always have a backseat). But there are people who drive recklessly regardless of what car they drive. Those who drink before getting behind the wheel... those who speed or disobey traffic laws... those who have lost their ability to make sound judgments... those who have no regard for human life... so on so on.

Are some types of street legal super fast sports cars excessive? Sure. As may seem to be the case with the semiautomatic weapons...

But there are existing laws to keep formula 1 vehicles off the streets as there are regulations to keep some of the more military grade weapons/fully automatic weapons off the streets.

Guns aren't inherently bad. Yes, they can be dangerous. But so can the keys to your car if put in the hands of a young teenager looking for a joy ride, an elderly person with delayed responses or poor vision, or an intoxicated individual who thinks they are fine to drive.

The focus needs to be on better regulating and endorsing existing gun laws and also in tightening the regulations and strengthening the steps required for known and potential threats to purchase guns. Let's look at who is causing the violence and less at what their weapon on choice is.