AI 'more profound than fire'
That sounds like the ironic precursor to an Alphabet data centre burning to the ground.
Never one to hide its light under a bushel, Google came out swinging with some seriously inflated technology claims at the World Economic Forum last week. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, told the rich people's talking shop: "AI is one of the most profound things we are working on as humanity, it is more …
"Can only be true if it destroys us. Which means human induced climate change might be able to eventually make that claim."
Which leads back to what????
So fire has brought us out of the depths and if climate change gets us, fire would be the thing that killed us.
Profund is an odd word to use, and perhaps he meant it in the sense of "having intellectual depth and insight". I'm not sure even this works, since understanding the nature of oxidation chemistry and electricity also require those things.
"AI is one of the most profound things we are working on as humanity, it is more profound than fire or electricity or any of the other bigger things we have worked on"
Well considering AI requires electricity to work, and most electricity is (still) generated by fire (burning gas/coal/oil) I think not.
Also we can have both fire and electricity quite independent of each other (if we want) all without the aid of AI.
Most "alternative" ways of generating electricity depend upon material which need fire in their production. So given that AI can't exist without fire AND electricity, NO... It's not more profound...
most electricity is (still) generated by fire (burning gas/coal/oil)
I have an APP on my phone that tells me what is currently making mt electricity. (Grid Carbon Intensity)
GAS - 38.8%
Coal - 4%
Oil - 0%
That comes to 42.8% so it isn't most.
There is an item called Biomass on the list but that is 6.6% so it is still not a majority. I assume that Biomass is burning something anyway.
At other times the figures have been much better.
Conclusion: Burning stuff for electricity is a lot more than it should be but it's getting better.
But that is assuming of course that your "electricity generation" is typical of the whole planet.
This source says somewhat different:
"World electricity generation by source in 2017. Total generation was 26 TWh."
Natural Gas (23%)
Given that in their figures coal accounts for the majority (38%) I seriously doubt that between 2017 and now it has dropped by that much (down to just 4%).
In fact for the most up to date breakdown (it fluctuates):
For October 2019 out of about 825 TWh "combustibles" - burning stuff (coal, gas and others) - accounts for 484 TWh. That works out at almost 59%.
I think I would rather go be the IEA's figures that what the app on your phone says.
Can't remember which article (there's probably been a few), but I seem to recall a few commentaries to the effect that the Internet didn't quite turn out to be the utopia it was expected to be. Yes, there's a few plus points, take El Reg for example, but if we're being brutally honest it's probably an overall negative. Between fake news, Cambridge Analytica style manipulation, paywalls, identity theft, ransomware, spam, adware, e-commerce globalisation destroying small businesses and the high street, data harvesting, privacy violation, NSA warrantless mass surveillance, and the cesspool of human scum that anonymously pervades social networks, the Internet isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
I have a feeling that AI will be a similar story, except this time we're jaded enough to anticipate the dangers in advance.
Mostly I suspect it'll just end up being used for more precisely targetted spam, via profiling. And of course that same profiling will inevitably be abused by paranoid three-letter agencies to target "terrorists" (i.e. anyone who dares to disagree with our Corporatocratic regime's increasingly Draconian policies).
As for positive use cases, I'm not hopeful.
Considering the potential that IT and the internet held for the world in it's early days and the reality of what's actually here, I think AI will boil down to having a chat with a vending machine while buying your first coffee of the day. Probably the AI's responses will have been learned from a data set provided from 30 years of the Daily Mail.
" e-commerce globalisation destroying small businesses and the high street, "
I HATE, this blame the internet for killing the high street bollocks. The high street was killed off a long time ago, by shopping "malls", retail parks and large identikit chain stores. The high streets became bland and indistinguishable from one town to another. What we are now seeing those same town centre killers, being culled by another.
My two nearest towns are thriving. They never had the big retail parks, very few chain stores and are quite a distance from the nearest shopping centre. They are packed full of independent shops, restaurants and pubs.
So save me the sob stories. The more of the "High St" chains it kills of the better, allowing once again the little indie shops to step in.
Today the founder of PyrosRUs, Ug, issued stone carvings carrying stern warning about the threat to the fire industry if new fire safety rules are introduced.
"I don't accept these claims that fire is dangerous." grunted Ug, "Without the freedom to set fires where and when we wish there might be nothing for dinner tonight and who wants that? Sure some people have burned themselves but they weren't me so that's okay. If I want to light a cooking fire in the base of a tree that's a wonderful opportunity to investigate the warming potential of several different tree species all in one go."
Sadly Ug was then eaten by a sabre tooth tiger attracted to the light of his campfire. To add insult to injury it ate him raw.
Was he actually talking about AI, or just machine-learning-driven statistical analysis as usual?
One could be important. The other is just a more efficient way to do what we do today.
Although tbf I expect argument that what humans call "intelligence" is just statistical analysis anyway...
Without printing we would have had no way to pass knowledge from one generation to the next other than by oral tradition. So without printing we would not have advanced beyond medieval science and would have no electricity, no computers, no Internet, no Google (maybe we would have been better off?) and therefore no AI.
Sorry Sundar but you're wrong.
That's very true, and without writing printing may never have come about, but printing democratised writing by making the written (printed) word cheap enough to distribute that it was worth the proles learning to read.
And then you have a knowledge / information explosion.
Prior to printing, written manuscripts were very labour intensive (expensive), so not worth distributing amongst the plebs because they'd probably just use them to light their fires (all the time lamenting that it wouldn't be as profound as AI).
nevertheless, at some point, if it acquires self-awareness, on top of intelligence, it might decide that [once it's ready] it's gonna help us "save the planet" by removing the main culprit (and there's such a wide range of ways, all deployable at the same time). Can't w
""It is critical that the IT Industry remains a beacon of responsible leadership," said Vijayakumar"
Whilst the article itself does pay homage to the irony of this statement, I do think it's worth calling out clearly that he is obviously either totally deluded, or so far removed from the day to day running of HCL to not realise that what their salesmen "shill" and what they actually deliver are at totally polar opposites of the customer expectations spectrum.
They are, by a large margin, the most useless, pitiful and inept SI that I've ever had the misfortune of running into (twice) in my almost 30 year IT career. I thought Wipro were bad, but they look almost reasonable compared to HCL.
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