back to article The sooner AI stops trying to mimic human intelligence, the better – as there isn't any

Never again. As Gods are my witnesses, you will never catch me [insert gerund here] in future. I have learnt my lesson. You won’t catch me because I’ll be more careful next time. Learning from one’s mistakes is a sign of intelligence, they say. This is why machine-learning is at the heart of artificial intelligence. Give a …

  1. jake Silver badge

    A friend of mine is playing with ...

    ... intentionally using the Butterfly Effect in AI training data as a means of surreptitiously manipulating the end result. He's doing it for fun, as a distraction from his Doctoral studies.

    Or rather it WAS fun ... until I asked him what would happen if "the bad guys" did it.

    1. Steve K

      Re: A friend of mine is playing with ...

      until I asked him what would happen if "the bad guys" did it.

      Probably not "if" - I am sure that this is already done in some cases, and would be impossible to detect (unless you had associated suspicions from system intrusion/access logs)

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    fool me once!

    "Volunteer my services, only to find everyone else is getting paid for theirs." Never again, not on your life bub! The first thing out of any self respecting contractor's mouth would be "What's in it for me?" Just once I tried to be nice, turned into the longest week of my life!

    1. Steve K

      Re: fool me once!

      "No good deed goes unpunished"

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: fool me once!

        Ah, yes, you were there!!

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Experience matters"

    Yeah, right up until a beancounter looks at his data and says "he costs that much !", and then your experience follows you out the door.

    Never forget : the cake is a lie.

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

      Re: "Experience matters"

      Aperture Labs and GladOs welcome your participation in the live human UAT phase of our Lethal AI security response programme.

      And yes, the cake is always a lie.

      1. Steve K

        Re: "Experience matters"

        "If life gives you lemons, ask to speak to life's manager!"

        -- Cave Johnson

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "Experience matters"

          "If life gives you lemons, put them up in salt!" —Grandma, c.1960

          1. ibmalone

            Re: "Experience matters"

            If life gives you lemons, peel them, taking care only to remove the outer skin with no pith. Seal the peel in a container with about 100ml of pure alcohol (95% will do if 100% not available) per lemon for a few weeks. Strain the liquid and mix it about 1:2 with simple syrup. Ideally lay this up for another week or two. The attractive yellow liquid you have prepared is limoncello.

            After peeling the lemons can be juiced to use as an ingredient in a cocktail such as a whisky sour, gin fizz or French 75. For the French 75 you will need gin, champagne and some additional sugar syrup, you may also wish to put aside a little of the zest.

            (Yes, ideally you would use Amalfi or Sicilian lemons for this, but if life is giving away lemons I prefer not to look them in the mouth. Also assuming that any lemons life has in stock will be organic.)

            1. TimMaher Silver badge

              Keep a teaspoon of the juice.

              Nice recipe for the 75 @ibm.

              The juice should be put in the jug that comes with your electric whisk.

              Then add a teaspoon of salt flakes, a teaspoon of Dijonais and a teaspoon of organic white wine vinegar that you have pre-prepared by soaking with some home grown tarragon in its bottle.

              Take an organic egg and put it one side, to get to room temperature, while you swirl the mix in the jug, by hand.

              Add about 10 rotations of a pepper mill, preferably using white peppercorns as they are more aesthetic than black in this case.

              Crack the egg into the jug and mix it with the electric whisk.

              Slowly pour in about 250ml of organic vegetable oil and move the whisk around whilst you do so.

              After a couple of minutes you should have a near perfect mayonnaise.

            2. Tail Up

              Re: "Experience matters"

              1. 1/4 of glass of Moonshine

              2. 3/4 of strong sweet tea

              3. Enjoy

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "Experience matters"

      "and then your experience follows you out the door."

      Until the beancounter finds out what the experience really contributed and how much it costs at freelance rates.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: "Experience matters"

        Until the beancounter finds out what the experience really contributed and how much it costs at freelance rates.

        Most never do as that is another budget and even if they do, it is always way too late, the competition pays better for that experience (and knowledge of the inner workings of their competition).

  4. Dr_N

    Smells like, "dog turds"?

    I believe the correct terminology used by the tasting-note bores is, "Nutty."

    1. Anonymous Custard

      Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

      Depends what you've been feeding the dog ...

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

        I'm reminded at this point of the closing line from (Grant Naylor) "The Strangerers".

        "Look! Dog eggs!

        1. Dr_N

          Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

          Viz stickers: "Caution: Dog Eggs In Transit"

          1. Keven E

            Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

            Tastes... yet... also smells (like) the dogs bollocks.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?


    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

      Only if you feed your poor dog a vegan diet based on soybeans ...

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

        A number of years ago my neighbour was/is a vegetarian. So was her dog. The dog didn't seem to like me much until I started surreptitiously feeding it small pieces of my bacon sandwiches. Well my homemade bread was organic & vegetarian...

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

          Poor dog. Those scraps were probably the only thing keeping it alive. Stupids forcing their eating habits on their (carnivorous) pets should be done for animal cruelty.

    3. James Anderson

      Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

      But he lives in France. how could he possibly get a beer that smelt of anything but water?

      Real water that is, not French tap water or Evian.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

        Making a light beer is like making love in a canoe. They’re both f***ing close to water.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

          a) Your comment needs help, it's not coherent.

          b) It's actually much harder to make a decent lighter beer like a lager than a darker, heavier stout or ale because there is no place off flavo(u)rs to hide. Simple Ales are a lot easier to make than American industrial lager clones. If you don't believe me, try it.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

            Both end up f***ing close to water. Better?

            And yes. I have no problems personally with light beers though I do prefer a rich brown mild ale myself. There used to be a bottled beer called Forest Brown Ale. Lovely stuff. Not seen it for years.

        2. Charles 9

          Re: Smells like, "dog turds"?

          Ever thought both are DESIRED? Something that's close to water but isn't actually water is a boon to hot climes. As for sex in a boat...there have been stories.

  5. brotherelf

    Ah yes, Artificial Stereotyping.

    It might be good for writing romance novels and sci-fi pulp, though? (Or at least as good as the current crop of acute adjectivitis.)

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Ah yes, Artificial Stereotyping.

      Now then, you've hit on a nugget of real world truth there. The curriculum for teaching young kids to do creative writing is very much focussed on having lots of adjectives. (And other "parts of speech" but mostly adjectives/adverbs).

      The Powers-That-Be have decided that there is a formula for good writing that has a high bias toward using these "wow words"- especially in opening sentences.

      Imagine an AI trained by such people, or indeed the current crop of youngsters when they've grown up...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Ah yes, Artificial Stereotyping.

        Shit, we've been putting up with that kind of thing for years. Ever read any Verne or Wells? How about the Brontës? At least Shakespeare had the cajones to poke fun at it ...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah yes, Artificial Stereotyping.

        Don't forget the fronted adverbials. I haven't a clue what the f**k they are but the way the teachers all harp on about them they must be absolutely critical to writing anything meaningful.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Ah yes, Artificial Stereotyping.

          I had to check back on that one myself -despite a) having done a fair bit of classroom teaching since my retirement from being a literacy specialist and b) having an 'A' level and a large chunk of my degree in Eng Lit.

          Because it isn't something anyone should need to bother about with, if not for the fact that it's part of that same "Wow words" bollocks.


          "Suddenly, Francine shot the politician".

          "Suddenly" being an adverb. And it's fronted because it comes before the verb it describes.

          But the point to it is that in the Behaviourist inspired world of curriculum design UK style it's an element of their model of "impactful" (I think the word is actually in a curriculum document somewhere- certainly in training materials) writing.

          Being very much a Behaviourist model of literacy teaching, everything has to be taught from mechanical, testable components rather than the messy, intuitive, subjective, real life activity that is literacy. It's also easy and cheap to publish then sell training materials to hard pressed teachers at inflated prices. Teachers are under pressure for the kids to get ticks in boxes, so must use this stuff in the prescribed manner.

          It suits politicians because it is testable and measurable - whether it adds up to decent writing is another matter. IMHO it creates an army of clone Zombies - every kid churning out the same rubbish to get the marks. And by the way, the same goes for the focus on "Phonics". Totally Behaviourist in method. Easy to teach, easy to test, easy to design programmes, easy to sell, both financially and politically- because it seems logical - even if it doesn't match how we actually read.

          And, to briefly draw this back to "Artificial Intelligence", it seems to me that the approaches I've read about also seem quite Behaviourist in the underlying thinking- I may be wrong.

          1. James O'Shea

            Re: Ah yes, Artificial Stereotyping.

            Did Francine get a medal?

  6. Roger Kynaston

    same old story


    Love the idea of always applying updates straight away as being a stupid idea.

  7. Irony Deficient

    • Park in the same spot at the supermarket

    Why is this item on your “I will never do this again” list?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: • Park in the same spot at the supermarket

      I rank it alongside "always get the same haircut" as being a sure sign of turning into a sad old bastard who's given up on life.

      1. Red Ted

        Re: • Park in the same spot at the supermarket

        Yes, I agree, as I generally park in the same spot in the work car park.

        On the occasions I park in a different space, I inevitably can't find my car when I want to leave again!

    2. Pen-y-gors

      Re: • Park in the same spot at the supermarket

      It is very sensible. As one ages ones memory often becomes a little, thingy, you know. Particular problems come from trying to remember a specific instance of a regular event, like parking in the supermarket. The brain just drops the info as soon as it comes in. So wandering out with 3 large carrier-bags you're standing there like a plonker for ages trying to remember where you parked THIS time. Much better to stick to the same place, and stick a flag on your car radio aerial.

      I have a similar problem parking in town. Probably a dozen spots where I can sometimes find a slot, so drive from one to the next until I find a space. An hour later: where the heck did I park! I have to mentally replay my route until it clicks.

  8. Caver_Dave Silver badge

    Wrong day out for the significant other

    You take your beer tasting, whereas I ...

    I booked a table for the evening as my girlfriend said she needed to go out. How was I to know that she couldn't hit a snooker ball!

  9. Clinker

    A wonderful Friday article! Thank you Mr Dabbs!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "All you’ll get is a machine that’s learnt to be as unconsciously racially biased in its profiling as the arresting officers and judges delivering the sentences."


  11. Astrohead

    Artificial Stupidity

    I'm developing an artificial stupidity system. Progress has been phenomenal.

    I think that's primarily due to the vast data set I have to work with.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Artificial Stupidity

      There is no Artificial Stupidity ... Stupidity is the most common thing in the infinite Universe, therefore all examples of stupidity already exist naturally.

      "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." —Albert Einstein (supposedly)

      "Apart from hydrogen, the most common thing in the universe is stupidity." —Harlan Ellison

      "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." —Frank Zappa

  12. shortfatbaldhairyman

    Forget mimicking, they are fragile

    Reminds me of my research days. I was trying to figure out HOW to show that a particular neural net (not that that was the name used) did learn. A friend suggested that I look even more closely at some standard optimisation techniques I was using, and all seemed well.

    Until I realised that I was essentially showing how fragile the whole shit was.

    Repeat after me, neural nets are not generic.

    And a few years ago started reading about this deep learning and had smoke out of my ears. Called a friend who is still in academia and asked him about "old wine in new bottles". He laughed and said "It is not that bad".


  13. Muscleguy

    It’s the wetware

    As a sometime neuroscientist it’s in part because our brains work more like massively parallel analogue computers than digital ones so using digital computers to make intelligence like ours is doomed to fail.

    For those who like a challenge I recommend Peter Ulric Tse’s The Neural Basis of Free Will: Criterial Causation. A background in neurophysiology is recommended but there is also an argument in formal logic at the end.

    Basically when a thought goes once round the brain as the signal passes through neurons there are mechanisms which alter the set point of the neurons on the fly. So when the thought comes around again you can think about it differently, make connections from it etc. The range of mechanisms which do this is quite large and it is likely we have not detected all of them yet.

    It MAY be possible to make silicon emulate this but the computing power for a simple network modelling all the permutations will be enormous. The human brain is the most complex thing we know in the universe. Modern AI is just big data, it is NOT the route to machine intelligence.

    Oh and if we ever make a brain, it will be a baby and will need to be taught, and corrected just like a human being. Since we can make real human beings fairly easily and in a fun way, other than for interest’s sake why would you do this? So you can treat the conscious robot like a slave?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It’s the wetware

      "Since we can make real human beings fairly easily and in a fun way..."

      Unless one happens to not be set up that way...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It’s the wetware

      Since we can make real human beings fairly easily and in a fun way, other than for interest’s sake why would you do this?"

      The expectation is:

      1) such creations will live much longer than humans.

      2) their state at any time can be replicated in clones.

      As human knowledge gets distributed into manageable portions - then it creates silos whose knowledge is incomplete or built on misconceptions. People learn levels of abstraction as a "truth" - without an understanding of the constraints beneath them.

      The Enlightenment was three centuries ago. Looking at the news recently it appears that several generations have been raised without the benefits of such thinking.

    3. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: It’s the wetware

      > Since we can make real human beings fairly easily and in a fun way, other than for interest’s sake why would you do this?

      Because, first of all an AI doesn't get pay, and second, it doesn't mind working 24/7.

      That's about all the reasons you need. Who cares if they do substandard work, humans aren't always super-efficient either. The big difference is AI is CAPEX, while a human is OPEX.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It’s the wetware

      and you can certainly add a site as a vast array of information on this matter

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like