Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Would you let this drive you around?

In the Christmas edition of The Economist we find an article, "How soon will computers replace The Economist’s writers?":
"In the spirit of going fast and breaking things, The Economist has therefore trained an AI program on articles from the Science and Technology section, and invited it to come up with a piece of its own. The results, presented unedited below, show both the power and the limitations of pattern-recognition machine learning, which is more or less what AI boils down to:
'... The material is composed of a single pixel, which is possible and thus causes the laser to be started to convert the resulting steam to the surface of the battery capable of producing power from the air and then turning it into a low-cost display. The solution is to encode the special control of a chip to be found in a car.

'The result is a shape of an alternative to electric cars, but the most famous problem is that the control system is then powered by a computer that is composed of a second part of the spectrum. The first solution is far from cheap. But if it is a bit like a solid sheet of contact with the spectrum, it can be read as the sound waves are available. The position of the system is made of a carbon containing a special component that can be used to connect the air to a conventional diesel engine. ...'
And so it goes on.

Reading the AI-generated text above is a curious psychological experience. Initially it's like skimming an article without paying too much attention. Individual sentences are absorbed without too much effort. But at a sentence-break .. there is cognitive dissonance. An underlying topic never properly coheres.

The state-of-the-art in machine comprehension of general cultural knowledge.

It's tempting to take cheap shots - would you trust a machine of this empty-headiness to drive you around?

In slight defence, autonomous-car R&D prioritises the encoding of a great deal of specialist domain knowledge into the controlling neural nets.

And if AlphaZero had been as idiotic as the above, we certainly would not be marvelling at it.

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