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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

A Good Link on AI

Finally, finally, finally somebody wrote a non-dumb article on artificial intelligence. Please read. 

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10 thoughts on “A Good Link on AI

  1. Anon on said:

    He’s right of course, but actual scientists who work on AI have been talking about the threat of job loss from AI for a long time. For example, Andrew Ng who was the head of AI research at Baidu has been talking about this for more than a year.

    The real problem with the suggestions he makes is that there are no national governments with either the power or the will to regulate these powerful companies. The US might still have the power but has no political will whatsoever; I am not sure what is going on with China, but from what I hear from my Chinese colleagues, there is no will there either.

    Unless people wise up soon, we may be too late to stop something drastic from happening. Like a war.

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    • “The real problem with the suggestions he makes is that there are no national governments with either the power or the will to regulate these powerful companies. The US might still have the power but has no political will whatsoever”

      • Yes. Absolutely. Which is why I believe that this should be THE political issue for our times. I don’t know how to awaken people to the importance of the issue, however.

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      • Shakti on said:

        Most people don’t think in a global, gestalt defining way. I mean, I suppose if you reframe the future as a combination of a malevolent Skynet & a dystopian The Jetsons maybe people will get it. That is, if you can avoid being labeled as a crank.
        “The robots will take your jobs and kill you while you broil & freeze all year round.”
        What is the minimum amount of people capitalism requires to function effectively? Because that’s all people with political clout seem to care about.

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  2. One big reason countries without a developed “AI” sector will be unable to catch up (maybe the biggest reason?) is because they will be barred from even researching the field by existing patents, yet the subject of intellectual property isn’t even brought up. A glaring omission, as I see it.

    It’s interesting the author brings up Keynsian economics, but there’s more to John Maynard Keynes than deficit spending. Toward the end of his life Keynes was involved in a global trade proposal called “Havana Charter.” This was intended to provide a set of incentives for net importer nations to export more, and vice versa. Instead of Havana Charter, we got Bretton Woods. The key to an AI future that doesn’t throw citizens of most nations into poverty, I believe, is this aspect of Keynesianism.

    One thing I find positive is the implied reversal of at least one aspect of Reaganomics. Reagan, you may recall, coined the term “volunteerism” in a speech basically calling for an army of unpaid volunteers replacing the portion of the civil service involved in human services work.

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    • “One big reason countries without a developed “AI” sector will be unable to catch up (maybe the biggest reason?) is because they will be barred from even researching the field by existing patents, yet the subject of intellectual property isn’t even brought up”

      I don’t know how big that is of a factor. Let’s take Russia, which has every kind of potential to do a lot here (if it chooses to.) Why would Russians want to respect copyright law all of a sudden? And how can anybody even try to enforce it?

      “One thing I find positive is the implied reversal of at least one aspect of Reaganomics. Reagan, you may recall, coined the term “volunteerism” in a speech basically calling for an army of unpaid volunteers replacing the portion of the civil service involved in human services work.”

      Yes, absolutely, fake paid work is better than no work at all. It’s still horrible but it’s better.

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    • \ One thing I find positive is the implied reversal of at least one aspect of Reaganomics. Reagan, you may recall, coined the term “volunteerism” in a speech basically calling for an army of unpaid volunteers replacing the portion of the civil service involved in human services work.

      I do not see how “volunteering” in order to qualify for UBI is a reversal of anything.

      It’s not like those people will have careers the way today’s civil service workers do.

      They will be helpers like today’s minimum wage foreign workers who take care of the elderly without having any special, valued qualifications.

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      • It’s still better than sitting at home and staring at the wall. You are either a part of the social process or you are not. And when you are not, when you don’t have a task in life that brings you into contact with other members of the social process, that;s intolerable for the human psyche. Even the most unsociable people get depressed and suicidal.

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        • So yeah, even a shitty, dead-end job is better than no job at all, even if you have the exact same income from both. Or even a higher income from the no-job process.

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    • Stille on said:

      Software patents are, thankfully, a US only thing, so at least that pitfall isn’t very probable. A more probable one has already been mentioned in the original post – the fact that this sort of thing gets much easier the more data you feed in it, and the big data gatherers are mainly preestablished power players (the US and China part is a bit of a red herring imo, the relevant border is rather Google/Facebook/Amazon/their Chinese equivalents vs everyone else). Another problem is that this sort of stuff is not computationally cheap. So overall, this won’t be an easy field for plucky upstarts


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