Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Machines and tools in our lives

I am not sure which machines and tools get the most use each each day These days, it might be the cellphone or the computer.  It might be the automobile.  Of course, it matters whether we measure the most time in use, the number of separate occasions of use or maybe the value of the result of the machine's work.  Some smarties can think of other ways to evaluate tools and machines for value, demand, level of appreciation and gratitude for their existence.


You may know that Stephen Hawking recently stated his worry that very smart machines are coming, machines so smart that they pose a danger to humans.  A simple pair of pliers makes a very big difference when I am trying to pull a cotter pin out.  A hammer makes short work of getting a nail in a board.  But most of our machines don't make other machines like themselves, that is, they don't reproduce.  Most of our machines and tools can be put aside or turned off or have their batteries removed or their plugs pulled.  Like living things, smarter machines might want to continue to operate, to "live".  Like living things, smarter machines might want to reproduce.

Normally, we don't think of machines telling us what to do.  We can examine an x-ray to decide on a medical procedure but a human makes the decision.  However, if we believe, as many people over the centuries have, that God guides dice or other decision tools, we might roll the dice or flip a coin to decide between Pete's diner and Al's restaurant.
There is some fear that regardless of machines taking over our lives, that they will take over our work.  If we get our food from our salary from a company that delivers goods across the country, what happens when that company gets self-driving trucks?  

A different kind of machine is being worked on in several places and in several countries, one that is artificially intelligent (AI).  Such a machine can practice "machine learning" (MI). Very smart machines are now able to steadily defeat the best human players of chess and of the Oriental game called Go.  Here is an article on "FiveThirtyEight", the statistics group that keeps it eye on societal developments, politics and sports on emerging machine intelligence:
Here are two items from O'Reilly's Artificial Intelligence newsletter:

1."The [UK's] Serious Fraud Office had a problem. Its investigation into corruption at Rolls-Royce was inching towards a conclusion, but four years of digging had produced a massive pile of documents: over 30 million, including everything from spreadsheets to emails about staff away days." You see it coming, right? Lawyers were sifting through an impressive 3,000 documents a day, but AI processed 600,000 documents a day, at a cost of £50,000—and with fewer errors."

2. Mind reading with machine learning and fMRI - Combining machine learning algorithms with fMRI brain imaging technology, Carnegie Mellon University researchers created a model that can finish your sentences for you with 87% accuracy.

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby