Re: [NTLK] Newton History

From: Larry Yaeger <>
Date: Sat Feb 21 2009 - 04:30:32 EST

At 9:39 PM -0800 2/20/09, Ryan Vetter wrote:
>The KN was a pretty ambitious device for its time, and it is still quite an ambitious device. Do you think that a company has the ability to produce something like this out of the box? Because there has never been anything like this.

Not currently. A number of the elements are eminently doable, but the perfect speech recognition is a bit of a problem, as you point out, and the effectively human-level AI implied by that perfect agent/assistant is an off-the-chart problem. I'm working on evolving AI these days and am still hoping to get past the computational c. elegans (miniscule worm) level. :} And even the best old-school symbolic AI systems are extremely brittle, with no grasp of deeper meanings or contexts. Gonna be a while.

Pretty much everything else is doable, or done, and I don't doubt that human-level AI will be with us someday, but A) it's a long ways away, and B) I can't help but wonder if anything will ever be both that intelligent and that pliable--genuinely smart, yet unquestionably devoted to giving you a better computer interface its entire artificial life. It's a strange, science-fictional thing to contemplate, but if a machine is as smart as a human, forcing it to do menial tasks is nothing more than slavery. But, then, who knows, maybe it will be possible to tailor intelligence into forms that aren't self-aware and don't demand their individual freedoms--I kind of doubt it, but we really don't know. However, if they are capable of and do demand their rights, it would be immoral to deny them.

I've wondered for some time if you might be able to implement an agent-based interface like that with a real human acting as the agent... But it would probably have to be a high-paid job to attract smart enough, responsible enough individuals--they'd be like upper echelon executive secretaries, which would mean hardly anyone could afford one. Maybe fully autonomous, self-aware AIs could hold paid positions like these, to make enough money to keep their processors powered, serviced, upgraded, etc., but be able to work cheaply enough to make them affordable. Sorry. Too much science fiction, not enough sleep.

- larryy

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Received on Sat Feb 21 04:30:37 2009

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