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大脑的逆向工程仅仅是方程式的一半

包括埃隆·马斯克、史蒂芬·霍金和雷蒙德·库兹韦尔在内的人工智能预言家预测,截至2030年,机器将通过应用人类智能拥有意识。这将引出一系列有益的、不好不坏的以及糟糕的结果。例如,马斯克、霍金和其他很多研究者于2015年1月签署一份请愿书,称人工智能驱动的机器可在不久的将来促使“根除疾病和贫穷”。这显然是个有益的结果。

第 1 段(可获 1.08 积分)

然后是不好不坏的结果:首位提出科技奇点这一概念的库兹韦尔认为,到2030年,人们将能够上传思想,实现人机融合。说到糟糕的一面,马斯克设想的未来是人类在我们的软件领主统治下基本上成为了家猫,同时库兹韦尔更进一步,认为人类基本上会被彻底清除以更有利于智能机器。

这些讲法本身并不荒谬。我们已经看到了过去几十年中科技突飞猛进;我们知道计算机越来越强大,每个月都变得理解力更强。早在2011年,沃森超级计算机就混合运用人工智能和至关重要的自然语言处理,在智力竞赛《危险边缘》的一场比赛中赢得了两位前冠军。未来就在这里,它可能很快超越我们。

第 2 段(可获 1.76 积分)

Kurzweil的技术奇异性的时间轴是基于加速返回定律的,这一定律中计算机越强大,它们的推进速度就越快。这是一个极端的指数增长时间表,我们正在进入快速增长通道,这会导致具有自我意识机器人的出现,最终他们统治地球。

这就是Kurzweil所相信的,也是麝香、霍金和许多其他人工智能科学家所相信的,不是只有人类才有“相信”某事的能力吗?然而,据研究人员说,到了2045岁,机器人也会有信仰。我们只需要创建最先进的人工智能,然后,忽然之间砰的一声——具有自我意识的机器人横空出世。

第 3 段(可获 1.45 积分)

This is where they lose me.

Baby on floor looking at toy robot

I agree that technology will continue to advance in unprecedented, accelerated ways; we're seeing this happen right now, and there's no reason to believe we are anywhere near a computational plateau. However, it is a huge leap from advanced technology to the artificial creation of consciousness. Essentially, the most extreme promises of AI are based on a flawed premise: that we understand human intelligence and consciousness.

AI experts are working with a specific definition of intelligence, namely the ability to learn, recognize patterns, display emotional behaviors and solve analytical problems. However, this is just one definition of intelligence in a sea of contested, vaguely formed ideas about the nature of cognition. Neuroscience and neuropsychology don't provide a definition of human intelligence -- rather, they have many. Different fields, even different researchers, identify intelligence in disparate terms.

第 4 段(可获 1.81 积分)

Broadly, scientists regard intelligence as the ability to adapt to an environment while realizing personal goals, or even as the ability to select the best response to a particular setting. However, this is based largely on the biological understanding of intelligence, as it relates to evolution and natural selection. In practice, neuroscientists and psychologists offer competing ideas of human intelligence within and outside of their respective fields.

Consider the following overview from psychologists Michael C. Ramsay and Cecil R. Reynolds:

"Theorists have proposed, and researchers have reported, that intelligence is a set of relatively stable abilities, which change only slowly over time. Although intelligence can be seen as a potential, it does not appear to be an inherent fixed or unalterable characteristic. ... Contemporary psychologists and other scientists hold that intelligence results from a complex interaction of environmental and genetic influences. Despite more than one hundred years of research, this interaction remains poorly understood and detailed. Finally, intelligence is neither purely biological nor purely social in its origins. Some authors have suggested that intelligence is whatever intelligence tests measure."

第 5 段(可获 2.23 积分)

Robot sitting on a bunch of books. Contains clipping path

This does not describe a field flush with consensus. And psychology is just one of a dozen industries concerned with the human brain, mind and intelligence.

Our understanding of technology may be advancing at an ever-accelerating rate, but our knowledge of these more vague concepts -- intelligence, consciousness, what the human mind even is -- remains in a ridiculously infantile stage. Technology may be poised to usher in an era of computer-based humanity, but neuroscience, psychology and philosophy are not. They're universes away from even landing on technology's planet, and these gaps in knowledge will surely drag down the projected AI timeline.

第 6 段(可获 1.3 积分)

Most experts who study the brain and mind generally agree on at least two things: We do not know, concretely and unanimously, what intelligence is. And we do not know what consciousness is.

"To achieve the singularity, it isn't enough to just run today's software faster," Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen wrote in 2011. "We would also need to build smarter and more capable software programs. Creating this kind of advanced software requires a prior scientific understanding of the foundations of human cognition, and we are just scraping the surface of this."

第 7 段(可获 1.16 积分)

Defining human intelligence and consciousness is still more philosophy than neuroscience. So let's get philosophical.

Conscious creativity

Musk, Kurzweil and other proponents of the technological singularity suggest over and over again that ever-increasing computational power will automatically lead to human intelligence and machine consciousness. They imply that the more rapidly technology advances, the more rapidly other scientific fields will also advance.

"It is not my position that just having powerful enough computers, powerful enough hardware, will give us human-level intelligence," Kurzweil said in 2006. "We need to understand the principles of operation of the human intelligence, how the human brain performs these functions. What is the software, what is the algorithms, what is the content? And for that we look to another grand project, which I label reverse-engineering the human brain, understanding its methods. And we see the same exponential progress we see in other fields, like biology."

第 8 段(可获 1.86 积分)

The two halves of a medical model of a human brain. Metaphor for indecision or mental illness.

Kurzweil recognizes the need to understand human intelligence before accurately rebuilding it in a machine, but his solution, reverse-engineering a brain, leaps across the fields of neuroscience, psychology and philosophy. It assumes too much -- mainly that building a brain is the same thing as building a mind.

These two terms, "brain" and "mind," are not interchangeable. It's feasible that we can re-create the brain; it's an infinitely complex structure, but it's still a physical thing that can, eventually, be fully mapped, dissected and re-formed. Just this month, IBM announced it had created a working, artificial neuron capable of reliably recognizing patterns in a noisy data landscape while behaving unpredictably -- specifically what a natural neuron should do. Creating a neuron is light-years away from rebuilding an entire human brain, but it's a piece of the puzzle.

第 9 段(可获 1.76 积分)

However, it's still not a mind. Even if scientists develop the technology to create an artificial brain, there is no evidence that this process will automatically generate a mind. There's no guarantee that this machine will suddenly be conscious. How could there be, when we don't understand the nature of consciousness?

Even if scientists develop the technology to create an artificial brain, there is no evidence that this process will automatically generate a mind.

Consider just one aspect of the mind, consciousness and intelligence: creativity. On its own, creativity is a varied and murky thing for each individual. For one person, the creative process involves spending weeks isolated in a remote cabin; for another, it takes three glasses of whiskey; for still another, creativity manifests in unpredictable flashes of inspiration that last minutes or months at a time. Creativity means intense focus for some and long bouts of procrastination for others.

第 10 段(可获 1.93 积分)

So tell me: Will AI machines procrastinate?

Perhaps not. The singularity suggests that, eventually, AI will be billions of times more powerful than human intelligence. This means AI will divest itself of messy things like procrastination, mild alcoholism and introversion in order to complete tasks similar to those accomplished by their human counterparts. There's little doubt that software will one day be able to output beautiful, creative things with minimal (or zero) human input. Beautiful things, but not necessarily better. Creative, but not necessarily conscious.

第 11 段(可获 1.08 积分)

Singularities

Kurzweil, Musk and others aren't predicting the existence of Tay the Twitter bot; they're telling the world that we will, within the next 20 years, copy the human brain, trap it inside an artificial casing and therefore re-create the human mind. No, we'll create something even better: a mind -- whatever that is -- that doesn't need to procrastinate in order to be massively creative. A mind that may or may not be conscious -- whatever that means.

The technological singularity may be approaching, but our understanding of psychology, neuroscience and philosophy is far more nebulous, and all of these fields must work in harmony in order for the singularity's promises to be fulfilled. Scientists have made vast advances in technological fields in recent decades, and computers are growing stronger by the year, but a more powerful computer does not equate to a breakthrough in philosophical understanding. More accurately mapping the brain does not mean we understand the mind.

第 12 段(可获 2.06 积分)

The technological singularity has a longer tail than the law of accelerating returns suggests. Nothing on earth operates in a vacuum, and before we can create AI machines capable of supporting human intelligence, we need to understand what we're attempting to imitate. Not ethically or morally, but technically. Before we can even think of re-creating the human brain, we need to unlock the secrets of the human mind.

第 13 段(可获 0.86 积分)

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