Monday, March 4, 2013

Leave the smarts, take the cannoli

Fredo Corleone [exasperated]: "I'm your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over!" Michael [calmly]: "That's the way Pop wanted it." Fredo [angry, out of control]: "It ain't the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says ... I'm smart ... and I want respect!" With that classic Godfather scene in mind, Daniel Dewy, a specialist in machine superintelligence, asks: "How do we know the human brain doesn’t represent the upper limit of intelligence? Human brains are really good at the kinds of cognition you need to run around the savannah throwing spears. But we’re terrible at anything that involves probability." You know, stuff like representative democracy, macroeconomics, supreme court decisions, war, and battling climate change. Me [angry, out of control]: "But, Daniel, we're smart ... not like everybody says!" And then I remember that we're no longer on the savannah chucking spears. Right. Humanity may be in deeper trouble than we realize. I know it was you, Fredo ...

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