Re: AI:This is how we do it

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 18:47:49 MST

>From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>

>Zero Powers wrote:
> >
> > The general consensus seems to be that AI
> > won't be AI until it is sentient. But, so long as it is capable of
> > autonomically meeting my needs, I don't want or need it to be sentient.
> > Personally I'd rather have an AI smart enough to do all the tasks I
> > to it yet dumb enough not to know its smarter than me.
>Ya ain't never gonna get it. What you just asked for requires general
>intelligence and self-awareness.

I admittedly don't have your credentials in the field. So if I were a
betting man, I'd bet on your prognostications over my own. But based on
what I've seen so far, I beg to differ.

Right *now* I have a computer that listens to me speak and turns my vocal
utterances into text. It's not perfect, but after a couple years of
"training" it's better than 95%. I also have systems that notify me by a
gentle vibration on my wrist whenever I receive a voicemail and/or email
message. I can read the header and the first few words of the body of the
email on my watch and, if I want, I can call from my cell phone and have a
computer read the entire message to me over the phone. I can then respond
to the email vocally over the phone and have a .wav of my spoken reply sent
by email. I can also, over the phone, request that my email messages be
forwarded to any nearby fax machine.

I have and use all of the foregoing services *today* with lousy 2002
technology. None of the services described above requires the input or
effort of any meat puppet other than myself. It is all performed by very,
very dumb computers listening and obeying my every command.

Admittedly none of the above services are as impressive as, say, reviving me
from a vitrified state or imposing world peace or eliminating the social,
economic and geo-political problems of the world. But then any system that
*could* do that would be in control, and you and I would be at its complete

Maybe that sounds good to you. Not to me. I am convinced that my needs can
and will be met by dumb "AI." No doubt people will continue to improve on a
good thing, to the point of testing the old adage that too much of a good
thing is a bad thing. My money says we'll find that old adage to hold true.
  Until that unhappy day, we will be fat, dumb and happy bossing around dumb
AI at our pleasure. After that, don't say I didn't warn you...


"I'm a seeker too. But my dreams aren't like yours. I can't help thinking
that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man.
Has to be." -- George Taylor _Planet of the Apes_ (1968)

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