Carbon vs Silicon

The human brain has 80-100 billion brain neurons (even 2B+ in the stomach). The parallel way in which it handles sensory data and its ability to combine timed different inputs is amazing. The use of symbolic retrieval to speed up decisions, makes previously encountered situations instantly available. The link between body and maind is inherent and produces a usually synced organism. The decison making also involves history, logic emotions, hints and blind luck. It is also easily damaged, illogical and sometimes annoying.

Silicon vs Carbon

Synthetic physical entities are durable, can be produced in great numbers quickly and start with their abilities immediately after manufacture. They are limited by power requirements and require external input for deeper analytical power. The bit barns have a much greater ability to handle data and access to power. They are of course not mobile. Basically "AI" as it stands is 2D and has to build up layers to simulate the 3D of the real world. The present working "neuron" maximum at the present is around the 1B mark but design and engineering move faster than evolution.

So far

Google's Deepmind AlphaGo victory over traditional Go champions was a stunning exhibition of how far machine learning has come. It's use of unorthodox and persistent winning algorithms showed the advancement of mathmatical logic. What was downplayed was the massive use of background resources including computer, power and technical support to win this one form of board game. Mr. Fan Hui on the other hand had his own knowledge, a cup of coffee and various snacks to keep him ticking over. This shows the inefficent but dependable use of corporate brawn.

Surveillance and warfare

Progress is always a two edge sword. The benefits of technology can be used to improve or decrease its advantages to the environment and society. The increase in the scope of available soft and hard power impacts on privacy and destruction. The threat of an AGI killer robot is much more unlikely than the insidious drip drip of central control bleeding into politics and democracy. We should not create things because we can but because it has merit

Deep Learning and other algorithmic based solutions have received a lot of media attention which stretches from the helpful to the ridiculous. The development so far has been two dimensional and uses the speed of the chip and unlimited resources to back up an apparent front end of encroachment on human abilities. For those of us who have studied both machine learning and neuroscience it is apparent that humans and machines are very different entities. The brain is a collection of highly adapted cells which are modified to carry out specific tasks and integrated throughout the brain and body. The synthetic approach so far has been to use brute force to overcome the weaknesses of artificial design. The latest developments have sought to use a quasi neuronal type of inherent weighting to simulate the human brain. The question should be as always, is what are we trying to do here? If we are trying to out compete the human brain then we better get ready for a long wait. The idea of Artificial General Intelligence being the ultimate aim begs quite a few questions. There are billions of people on this Earth who already far exceed the abilities of A.I. and the money should be going to creating a better world for the present life forms and not trying to throw another one in the mix. The advantages of technology can be found everywhere and complements humanity and should be used for the good of all. Co-operation is the name of the game and if something gives an unfair advantage to a limited few or further enriches the elite then it is time to think again.

swarm

Swarm

One area being investigated is the use of robot swarms. This envisages small to large size communities of interlinked robots moving by various means in co-ordinated manoeuvres to obtain a goal. They may have an autonomous action controlled by a central or hive type capacity. Some also suggest they may replace declining bees as pollen spreaders. Although saving the bees could be a better alternative.

medicine

Medicine

The effect of "AI" in medicine cannot be overstated. Its use in predictive and analytic outlooks using the enormous available data is changing the landscape in genetics and therapy. Robotic surgery whether local or remote offers a more reliable and detailed ability to improve the outlook for patients. The ideal scenario would be the increased training and lower costs for these benefits to become universal.