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A final thought from Paul Allen...

Author: Zaheer Ali - Chief Science Officer at AIXIA Global

Artificial Intelligence, in particular "the singularity," a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities, has captured human imagination for millennia. But is is possible? An Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) that is more capable than humans is an object of both great fear and great hope. Where the reality will lie is likely somewhere in between. So when will the singularity be reached? Ray Kurzweil and Verner Vinge have suggested that it will happen soon, in fact in 2001 Kurzweil wrote that this critical even would happen within a few decades. There are however, dissenting views. One such, linked below, is by the late Paul. G Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the great influences on the latter half of the 20th century. His death yesterday was as a great light going out; technology has lost a great visionary and individual.

Allen wrote that the fundamental challenge in approaching this singularity is our lack of fully understanding human cognition. AI researchers have built immensely powerful systems with a deep but extremely narrow knowledge base. Humans, over the course of years, build diverse knowledge bases and in rich networks of neurons, the like of which have not yet been developed. Moore's law has driven speed but that is not fundamental metric. Certainly, it is necessary, but so to is a different approach to building AI. With recent progress in both computing and software neural network architecture a 3rd wave of Ai is emerging. Perhaps it is time for us to reexamine Allen's discussion.  

Even if we can begin to use neural networks to simulate some human cognitive capabilities the "the unpredictable nature of human ingenuity and discovery" may never be recreated. However, we can amplify that ingenuity and ability to discover by filling the missing middle between a dominating AI and one that is not too different from a hammer. In this 3rd wave, we will fill the middle with systems that make humans more human than we eve have been before.

I think Paul Allen would have approved.

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