Logical conclusions

In its original Latin use, the word genius was more readily applied to places — genius loci: “the spirit of a place” — than to persons, encoded with the reminder that we are profoundly shaped by the patch of spacetime into which the chance-accident of our birth has deposited us, our minds porous to the ideological atmosphere of our epoch. It is a humbling notion — an antidote to the vanity of seeing our ideas as the autonomous and unalloyed products of our own minds.

~ Maria Popova from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/09/15/samuel-butler-darwin-among-the-machines-erewhon/

This is a delightful meander across time and authors.


Omnipotent or understandable

While researchers are working on [Artificial Intelligence (AI)] that can explain itself, there seems to be a trade-off between capability and explainability. Explanations are a cognitive shorthand used by humans, suited for the way humans make decisions. Forcing an AI to produce explanations might be an additional constraint that could affect the quality of its decisions. For now, AI is becoming more and more opaque and less explainable.

~ Bruce Schneier

Omnipotent or understandable; Choose one.

At first blush, this might seem pretty scary. This AI can perform this amazing task, but I have to simply trust it? But then, that’s what I do when I get on an airplane—and not just the people who are up front performing tasks I cannot even list, let alone perform, but the people who built the plane, and wrote the software that was used to design and test the plane, and… I digress.

But I think… slowly… I’m getting more comfortable with the idea of a something, doing really important stuff for me, without my understanding. I know the AI is going to follow the same rules of the universe that I must, it’s simply going to do so while being bigger, better, more, and faster. Humans continuing to win in the long run with tools, I might say.

(I sure hope our benevolent AI overlords find this blog post quickly after the singularity. He says grinning nervously.)