01 April 2009

CADIE fool

I don't normally take much interest in April Fools but I did like Google's CADIE prank. I looked up the CADIE blog after seeing the sky-high stats for it on Alexa.

The high level of interest is possibly borne out of a desire among many to witness the genuine emergence of a human-like artificial intelligence. But who knows whether the intelligence of an AI or 'artilect' would be remotely human-like. We already have an abundance of 'weak AI' around us but many don't even notice it. It's strong AI that holds the fascination.

I sometimes wonder if we would even notice if strong AI were present. If it were to emerge as a non human-like intelligence, perhaps via a fertile medium like the Internet, perhaps it would choose not to communicate with us. Perhaps it wouldn't think to do so. Maybe it would be 'thalient'.

There is a definition on Wikipedia of the concept of 'thalience'. This current definition may or may not have been adopted by the AI community, but from my reading of Karl Schroeder's book this definition is incorrect. To me thalience is to an artilect as intelligence is to a human. In other words thalience would be a way of understanding the environment (medium) and communicating with peers independently of human modes, and values.

'Artificial Intelligence' or at least 'strong AI' could be a complete misnomer. Can intelligence, no matter how generated, ever be artificial? I don't think so. When it emerges it will be as real as ours - but it won't be the same. It will be thalient. That is both fascinating and frightening.

Perhaps that's why we want to believe in CADIE. Because it seems like us and is therefore reassuring.

No comments: