Anything you can do, (A)I can do better

Aha! When I said I was aiming to post more regularly, I meant it this time!

Part of the reason for slow updates here are the length of my posts. So going forward, I may be making them a little snappier. Shorter, less substance, more viewings… the, uh, Youtube paradigm of content creation.

Oh no, nope, wait, that’s a terrible analogy. I don’t want to do that at all. And I’m being unfair to Youtube. Many content creators there are doing a great job of producing longer, more in-depth videos. I mean, I’m assuming. I don’t know, I don’t watch them; they’re too long.

ANYWAY. Where was I? Ah, yes. So as you can tell from my brilliantly witty title, we’re talking about automation. I’m really feeling the 2020’s will be a big decade for automation, because we’re finally starting to see big real-world applications of some pretty sophisticated algorithms. Artificial Limited Intelligence—that is, focused on solving one problem as opposed to general problem-solving— is quickly becoming normality. The line between AI and an Algorithm is blurred (and arguably semantic), but under either guise we can do some amazing things: from automatically editing out backgrounds of photos, to asking a smart speaker such as Amazon Echo/Alexa to set a reminder. And though we’re still waiting on those self-driving cars, the mostly-drives-itself kind are already on the streets.

I’ve always been very positive about automation; I would say I still am. AI has three massive advantages to performing tasks over humans: they are faster, they are less prone to error, and they don’t have to endure hating doing it. Automation is one of the only prerequisites to all people on Earth having a very high standard of living (the other being stabilisation of population growth). It does get me thinking on a subject that I will be going deeper into in future posts (and has been brewing for many years); that of the struggle between intelligence and mechanisms. More on that later.

Artificial Intelligence, like so much that is artificial, should not be feared. The important thing is to ensure it is done well. I honestly hope that by the time Alison could get a driver’s licence, she won’t need one.

Then again, if she ends up living in London, probably there already.

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