Of men and machines

- Posted in Artificial Intelligence by

enter image description hereThe book “La Guerre des Intelligences” by Dr Laurent Alexandre is a good opportunity to reflex on a sensitive issue. The book is about “how artificial intelligence will revolutionize education”.

It is true that AI has the potential to revolutionize education. The book discusses many possible applications of AI in the educational system. But beyond that, it discusses transhumanism i.e. the possibility to use chips and the latest advancements in biology to enhance the physical characteristics of the brain. We talk of course about possibilities that seem endless if not frightening.

According to the author we can enhance our intelligence with biology methods or with some chips installed in the body and especially in the brain. It seems too simplistic, though, to start from there and believe that these type of “more intelligent” creatures that we will create, will finally live a better life or even that they will act this way or another. This is more so true when we try to predict the kind of life in the societies that the “transhumans” will create.

Drawing conclusions from such possibilities is at least dangerous. Humans are not only intelligence and their societies are unpredictable complex systems even now. When converting to “transhumans” with supposedly enhanced brains, they will have increased the degree of complexity of their organization therefore their societies will be super-unpredictable. Most possibly such societies will also be super-sensitive to all kinds of changes within the system.

Thus, to expect education improvement by improving the human brain with technology or biology tricks is at least risky. Let us not forget a parallel issue: just because we invented Prozac it didn’t mean that we created a society of happy people; rather the contrary.

P.S. 1) The person shown in the photo does not exist. It is the creation of an algorithm. 2) The above ideas are always discussed in our ERASMUS KA1 courses

Reviewing 2016: Artificial Intelligence got down to business

- Posted in Artificial Intelligence by

enter image description hereAs 2016 is coming to its end I cannot but reflect on the advancements that this year brought us in a technological field that is around for decades without making a significant impact: Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Since the very beginning of the electronic era in the 40’s, the foundations of AI were set by great scientists as Turing (and others of course). We can say that the expectations for the advancement in the field of AI were then far more optimistic compared to what reality proved to be. During the last 2-3 years, though, we are watching a coming back of the legend, this time with real and tangible results: IBM’s Watson AI program is cooperating with researchers for cancer, Google translates with AI use, Facebook is making extensive use of AI for its users, Amazon for its clients, many games are already benefiting by AI use and even there are many startups in the field of education and especially adaptive learning. Let us not forget the creation of www.openai.com and www.partnershiponai.org , two organizations for studying the impact of AI on the human society- all the above during 2016.

Things are interesting to say the least; they are serious too. AI is what you can call a disruptive technology. It has the potential to bring everything upside down. How we work, how we learn, how we entertain, how we understand our world. It seems to me that technology is ready to change the world once more. Still struggling to adapt to computers, to the networks and to smartphones, all of a sudden we are called to go for a new round of new things. Can humanity really adapt to such an accelerated rhythm of change? It remains to be seen…

As an Institute that works with innovation, I believe that soon we will have the AI in our ERASMUS+ KA1 courses and projects.

An interesting article in Economist here https://goo.gl/L16Tgd and a magnificent lecture by Michel Serres here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCBB0QEmT5g