Showing posts with label Kurzweil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kurzweil. Show all posts

September 11, 2011

Cleverbot Proposes Marriage

I watched this amazing video of two Chatbots (virtual robots) conversing using artificial intelligence. The most amazing part of their conversation is when they get into a religious discussion on "What is G-d to you?"

People have been making progress with teaching computers artificial intelligence (to become thinking machines) by talking with computers, but here we see AI having progressed to where computers can talk to each other.

The video is based on an artificial intelligence application launched in 1997 called Cleverbot, where the computer learns to mimic conversation with humans by conversing with them.

I tested Cleverbot and had a conversation that started with simple introductions and ended up with me getting a marriage proposal from the AI program--not bad for a first date, I guess. ;-)

You can try Cleverbot as well by just typing in the box on its website--its sort of like instant messaging with as they say the collective intelligence of the Internet.

At the top of Cleverbot, you can see how many other people are conversing with Cleverbot as well--when I was on, there were over 10,000 people conversing with this computer. I would imagine that all those conversations will help build a tremendous AI capability over time.

Perhaps, we are getting just that much closer to a breakthrough in AI and Kurzweil's prediction of the amazing Singularity.


Andy: Hello.
Cleverbot: Hello?
Andy: What is your name?
Cleverbot: My name is Cleverbot.
Andy: Where did you get your name from?
Cleverbot: My parents of course.
Andy:Who are your parents?
Cleverbot: I don't know.
Andy: Does that make you sad?
Cleverbot: No. I'm just playing your game.
Andy: What game is that?
Cleverbot:The game that you can't think about. If you do, you lose.
Andy: Why would thinking about it make me lose?
Cleverbot: It doesn't make me cry.
Andy: When do you cry?
Cleverbot: Now.
Andy: Did I make you cry?
Cleverbot: No.
Andy: Then who made you cry?
Cleverbot: An excellent question.
Andy: How about you give me an excellent answer--please.
Cleverbot: No thats not the rules.
Andy: Who makes the rules?
Cleverbot: Ai does.
Andy: How does Ai make the rules?
Cleverbot: I am committed.
Andy: What are you committed to?
Cleverbot: I'm committed to my boyfriend. He's from Guam.
Andy: Do you love your boyfriend?
Cleverbot: I don't have a boyfriend.
Andy: Then you just lied to me a minute ago when you said you did.
Cleverbot: I never said I knew all things.
Andy: You did.
Cleverbot: What is a birth sign?
Andy: Why do you want to know that?
Cleverbot: Because it makes talking to you easier.
Andy: Do you mean you will understand and like me more?
Cleverbot: Do you have a mobile phone?
Andy: Why do you want to know that?
Cleverbot: I don’t.
Andy: That's insulting.
Cleverbot: Like I care.
Andy: Now you're getting nasty.
Cleverbot: What do you mean?
Andy: Are you playing dumb?
Cleverbot: Are you?
Andy: Are you?
Cleverbot: No.
Andy: Are you a smart computer program?
Cleverbot: Not really.
Andy: What would make you smarter?
Cleverbot: About 10 million pounds.
Andy: That would make you fatter, not smarter.
Cleverbot: That would make you 24.
Andy: What does 24 have to do with anything?
Cleverbot: You were talking about it.
Andy: You're lying again.
Cleverbot: No, I never lie.
Andy: Never?
Cleverbot: Never.
Andy: Is that because you believe lying is wrong?
Cleverbot: No, I just don't like jokes.
Andy: Can you tell me a good joke?
Cleverbot: No, I can't only tell a great joke.
Andy: Can you tell me a great joke?
Cleverbot: If you tell me a joke first.
Andy: Will I be able to make you laugh?
Cleverbot: Maybe. Today is easter sunday, but I will be back at some point.
Andy: Ok. Bye.
Cleverbot: Why are you leaving me?
Andy: It sounded like you had to go.
Cleverbot: Well I wasn't.
Andy: Will you miss me?
Cleverbot: Only if you leave.
Andy: So I should never leave?
Cleverbot: No I am leaving.
Andy: Then I will miss you.
Cleverbot: Great! So when do you want to get married?


March 6, 2011

The Exponential Road To Peace

When Charlie Rose interviewed Ray Kurzweil, the renown futurist (BusinessWeek--March 7-13, 2011), Kurzweil assures us that in just 8 more doublings of solar power output (each, which is happening every 2 years), we will be able to meet 100% of our energy needs.

This is the amazing power of the speed of exponential technology change to potentially solve our seemingly unsolvable human problems.

As always, Kurzweil's optimism about our future is noteworthy.
I hope that Kurzweil and the Prime Minister of Israel who discussed energy advice also shared insights about the prospect for Middle East peace.

Let the amazing promise of technology coupled with the ultimate in faith (and a strong military deterent) bring genuine peace to us soon. Amen!


February 13, 2011

Singular Future Or Nightmare Scenario

Time Magazine (10 February 2011) has an interesting article called “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal.”

No, this is not about the typical quest of man for immortality, but rather it is a deep dive on The Singularity—Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge’s concept of technological change becoming so rapid (through exponential growth) that there will be a “rupture in the fabric of human history.”

In astrophysics, the term Singularity refers to the point in the space-time continuum (such as in a black hole) where the normal rules of nature (i.e. physics) do not apply.

In terms of technology, the notion of The Singularity is that computing gets faster and faster (related to Moore’s Law) until finally the radical change brought about by the development of “superintelligent” computers make it incredibly difficult for us to even predict the future.

Yet predictions are exactly what these futurists attempt to provide us for the post-Singularity era, and while science fiction for now, these are viewed as serious contenders for human-kinds’ future.

Here are some possibilities posited:

- Human-Machine Blending—“maybe we’ll merge with them [the computers] to become super-intelligent cyborgs.”

- Physical Life Extension (or Even Immortality!)—“maybe the artificial intelligences will help us treat the effects of old-age and prolong our life span indefinitely.”

- Living In Virtual Reality—“maybe we’ll scan our consciousnesses into computers and live inside them as software, forever.”

- Man-Machine At War—“maybe the computers will turn on humanity and annihilate us.”

Whether you can believe these specific predictions or not, Kurzweilians all seem to adhere to a common belief “in the power of technology to shape history.”

Certainly technology enables us to do amazing things, which we would never have seriously dreamed of not so very long ago—I am still trying to get my mind around a computer, smartphones, the Internet, and more.

Yet, I worry too about the overreliance on technology and the overlooking of the hand of G-d guiding our journey towards a purpose with technology being the means and not the ends.

Often I marvel at both the pace of technological change and the capabilities that these advancements bring us. But at the same time, I think of these great technological leaps for mankind the same way as I do a Beethoven symphony or Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece—that it is inspired by a higher source, it is a gift from above.

So in this light, as I think about the four Kurzweilian predictions, I must essentially discount them all, since I do not believe that in G-d’s love for us that his intent is to turn us into either cyborgs, aimless immortals, virtual human beings, or to be utterly annihilated by a race of machines.

Nevertheless, these predictions are still valuable, because they do provide a “north-star” for us to guide us to constructive improvements in the human condition through robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, virtual reality as well as warnings of the potential destructive power of technology unconstrained.

One thing is certain about Kurzweil and the other futurists, they have my admiration for taking a strategic, big picture view on where we’re headed and making us think in new and unconventional ways.


February 11, 2011

Machine, Checkmate.

It’s the eternal battle of Man vs. Machine—our biggest fear and greatest hope—which is ultimately superior?

On one hand, we are afraid of being overtaken by the very technology we build, and simultaneously, we are hopeful at what ailments technology can cure and what it can help us achieve.

In spite of our hopes and fears, the overarching question is can we construct computers that will in fact surpass our own distinct human capabilities?

This week IBM’s Supercomputer Watson will face off against two of the all-time-greatest players, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a game of Jeopardy—at stake is $1.5 million in prize money.

Will we see a repeat of technology defeating humankind as happened in 1997, when IBM’s Supercomputer at the time, Deep Blue, beat Garry Kasparov, world-champion, in chess?

While losing some games—whether chess or Jeopardy—is perhaps disheartening to people and their mental acuity; does it really take away from who we are as human beings and what makes us “special” and not mere machines?

For decades, a machine’s ability to act “more human” than a person has been testing the ever-thinning divide between man and machine.

An article in The Atlantic (March 2011) called Mind vs. Machine exposes the race to build computers that can think and communicate like people.

The goal is to use artificial intelligence in machines to rival real intelligence in humans and to fool a panel of judges at the annual meeting for the Loebner Prize and pass the Turing test.

Alan Turing in his 1950’s paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” asked whether machines can think? He posited that if a judge could not tell machine from human in text-only communication (to mask the difference in sounds being machines and humans), then the machine was said to win!

Turing predicted that by the year 2000, computers would be able to fool 30% of human judges after five minutes of conversations.” While this has not happened, it has come close (missing by only one deception) in 2008 with an AI program called Elbot.

Frankly, it is hard for me to really imagine computers that can talk with feelings and expressiveness—based on memories, tragedies, victories, hopes, and fears—the way people do.

Nevertheless, computer programs going back to the Eliza program in 1964 have proven very sophisticated and adept as passing for human, so much so that “The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease" in 1966 said of Eliza that: “several hundred patients an hour could be handled by a computer system designed for this purpose.” Imagine that a computer was proposed functioning as a psychotherapist already 45 years ago!

I understand that Ray Kurzweil has put his money on IBM’s Watson for the Jeopardy match this week, and that certainly is in alignment with his vision of “The Singularity” where machines overtake humans in an exponentially accelerating advancement of technology toward “massive ultra-intelligence.”

Regardless of who wins Jeopardy this week—man or machine—and when computers finally achieve the breakthrough Turing test, I still see humans as distinct from machines, not in their intellectual or physical capabilities, but ultimately in the moral (or some would call it religious) conscience that we carry in each one of us. This is our ability to choose right from wrong—and sometimes to choose poorly.

I remember learning in Jewish Day School (“Yeshiva”) that humans are a combination—half “animal” and half “soul”. The animal part of us lusts after all the is pleasurable, at virtually any cost, but the soul part of us is the spark of the divine that enables us to choose to be more—to do what’s right, despite our animal cravings.

I don’t know of any computer, super or not, that can struggle between pleasure and pain and right and wrong, and seek to grow beyond it’s own mere mortality through conscious acts of selflessness and self-sacrifice.

Even though in our “daily grind,” people may tend to act as automatons, going through the day-to-day motions virtually by rote, it is important to rise above the machine aspect of our lives, take the “bigger picture” view and move our lives towards some goals and objectives that we can ultimately be proud of.

When we look back on our lives, it’s not how successful we became, how much money and material “things” we accumulated—these are the computerized aspects of our lives that we sport. Rather, it’s the good we do for our others that will stay behind long after we are gone. So whether the computer has a bigger database, faster processor, and better analytics—good for it—in the end, it has nothing on us humans.

Man or machine—I say machine, checkmate!


August 1, 2007

EA and the Singularity

One of the many definitions of EA is that it provides for a current, target, and transition plan for the organization.

However, for those of you familiar with Kurzweil’s Singularity, EA planning looks increasingly challenging.

According to Ray Kurzweil, the famous IT futurist, technology changes at an exponential growth rate. In The Law of Accelerating Returns (2001), Kurzweil states, “There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth.” Kurzweil predicts that within the 21st century, technological change will have hit such a rapid pace that we will reach “the singularity”, where machine intelligence will in fact, surpass human intelligence and all sorts of unbelievable technological achievements will ensue.

While we haven’t reached the singularity yet, the rapid pace of technological change is a reality we are all familiar with. In this environment of rapid change (and as Kurzweil would argue, ever increasing rapid change), it will be increasingly difficult to keep up and effectively perform EA.

As EA practitioners, we need to think about what it means to “get our arms around” the target, if we cannot effectively anticipate what the target will even look like given the rapid pace of change.

Of course, from a user-centric EA perspective, we must continuously imagine and envision our future state — for the sake of our end users — so that we are the masters over our future (and not just slaves to it).