Are Computers Really Better than People?
The prevalence and importance of artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing throughout the globe at an alarming rate. Virtually everywhere we go, we encounter it. We might interact with AI at home while using Google’s search engine to find information, while using Siri to set a destination in our car, or while asking a chatbot for help at a kiosk in a mall. Whether we like it or not, we are already heavily dependent on AI, and importantly, its growth only appears to be accelerating.
A great deal of people are concerned about AI and believe that it will somehow outsmart us all and conquer the human species or simply put us out of work by figuring out how to carry out tasks more intelligently and efficiently than us. Of course, this suggests that the vast majority of people actually believe that machine learning has the potential to be more effective than human learning; otherwise, people would not be worried about their future. But are machines or computers really better than people? In particular, I’m interested in exploring the question of whether machines can think.
To answer this question, we must first ask, What do we mean by “intelligence”? In my view, we should define “intelligence” with reference to human beings, for humanity is the world’s original source of intelligence. (We came before the machines, not vice versa.) Invariably, any definition of human intelligence will contain the concept of fallibility, for after all, our disposition toward mistakes, particularly in forming judgments, is part of what makes us human. So, if we apply this definition of “intelligence” to AI, we find that machine learning does not closely resemble human intelligence after all, because any kind of thinking or processing that is not prone to making mistakes cannot qualify as thinking at all insofar as we adhere to the definition of intelligence just established.
Therefore, maybe it is best if we do not classify AI as intelligence at all, since, as we just proved, it is so markedly different from our notion of intelligence. The other solution to this problem is to expand our understanding of intelligence so that it includes the infallibility of machines said to possess or use AI. If we built on our current conception of intelligence, we could potentially arrive at a much deeper and richer notion of the term, enabling us to differentiate ourselves from the machines. Hopefully, doing so would bring us to appreciate our uniqueness and inimitability as a species, ultimately alleviating our worries about whether we are soon going to be supplanted by our own greatest inventions.
Written by Jared Nussbaum & Edited by Alexander Fleiss