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Smarter Than Us: The Rise of Machine Intelligence by [Armstrong, Stuart]
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Smarter Than Us: The Rise of Machine Intelligence Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 789 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Machine Intelligence Research Institute (February 1, 2014)
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IB4N4KU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,555 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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This very short work is another of many books now concerned with a potential threat from AI via a faulty, improperly specified value/ethics system, while the book simultaneously grants to mythical AIs enormous powers of intelligence - Armstrong's AIs are planning economies, running political campaigns, holding 20 million simultaneous conversations, and on. But it is an intelligence-grant based in a massive failure of analysis in regard to what intelligence really is, while missing that the "values" problem is precisely the same problem as creating true intelligence. This failure makes the work trivial, nay, illusory.

Armstong's very first premise is, "There are no convincing reasons to assume computers will remain unable to accomplish anything humans can." From this base begins the worried discussion on values and on the very difficult task of making precise specifications to an AI for values. This first premise is given after extremely sparse discussion. Major examples evoked for AI's ongoing encroachment into realms assigned to human intelligence are chess, Jeopardy (Watson), and language translation. But chess is acknowledged to be simply a highly constrained "micro-world" with a very finite set of rules - an "environment" highly amenable to AI. Watson is doing lightning scrapes of Wikipedia text; it is not interacting with the concrete, physical world and gaining its knowledge thereby. Meanwhile, Hofstadter, in his recent brilliant book (
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Format: Kindle Edition
Dr Stuart Armstrong of Oxford University, is one of the world's leading researchers on existential risk posed by Artificial General Intelligence.

So, I was delighted that he wrote this ebook, aimed at smart laypeople, in conjunction with the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. There is no better short, clear, comprehensive introduction to the topic.

The subject is not easy to explain, but Armstrong has done it. I will be recommending this to friends and contacts in academia and high-tech who tell me they want to learn more about the topic.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of the only few books on the market today that describes the field of artificial intelligence and technological singularity accurately. No rose glasses, no "we are all dooooomed", and simply no nonsense. Just facts, logical arguments, a few very reasonable leaps, and very interesting conclusions.
Stuart Armstrong draws upon a lot of research that has been done in the past few years by top researchers and philosophers in the field of AI safety, and breaks it down in a simple to understand terms. He dispels a lot of examples from fiction, explains what it means for something to be intelligent, and warns about the very heavy burden the task of creating friendly artificial intelligence places on humans.
There is a lot of opportunity and there is a lot of danger. If you want to be prepared and educated, this is one of the best books on the market to get you up to speed.
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This is not a 'book'. It is merely a pamphlet or a review article. It is priced at the level of a cappuccino, so that's OK! It is written at a very basic level, not for anyone with a decent background in technical fields. The list of references in the book is useful and interesting, otherwise it's just a quick snack - eaten, forgotten and not very nutritious.
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There are many reasons to pooh-pooh the idea that machines will crush humanity. But those arguments evaporate in the contents of this book.

The book is quite brief, but the fundamental issues don't require that much debate. Either machines are better at what they do than humans, or not. Either machines will continue to get more intelligent, or not. Either humans will rely more on machines for a competitive advantage, or not. Either individual humans will grasp whatever they can, or not. Either there will be continuing increases in the amount we rely on machines, or not.

If you can project this 30 or 80 or 150 or 300 or 1,000 years out, eventually machines will move beyond the control of humans and some intelligence greater than our own will have no interest or need to feed people.

Or, maybe not. But it is hard to see the other side of the argument after reading this compelling book.
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I’m not smart enough to thoroughly review this little book, not skilled enough in IT or AI or anything to do with digitized thinking. I can only share an initial response.

Armstrong begins by telling his readers that he is going to examine what happens when AI machines become so powerful they can dominate human beings. And he does that in 50pp that are sophisticated and thoughtful.

Yet, I wonder if his analysis will begin to seem quaint when the guiding ethos of our culture changes. The book reflects, cannot but reflect, the way we think and value life today. The very idea that “domination by machines” is the central theme of the book seems to me a peculiarly 20th – 21st century concern. A concern that has risen out of an era dominated by machines.

I like to think the machines that dominated technology in the 17th and 18th century had to do with making music; with pianos, horns, and the software that made them work. Then in the middle of the 19th century we began to be dominated by the technology of industry and its products from engines to guns.

Our infatuation with IT, AI, – I think that is what it is – is the product of the last 50 or 60 years. But there is another value coming. It is the ever increasing emphasis on “Green” and that could be a reaction to all the tech that has dominated our lives for so long.

It could be, for example, that the central guiding cultural ethos in 2100 will be to insure the success of life on the planet. We have to remember that it is the processes of industrial technology that now threatens life on the planet.

It could be that those who are thinking about morality and human needs will be very different kinds of thinkers than those reflected in Armstrong’s book.
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