Are We Losing It?
If NO, then let's get back to the world that is full of happinness, wealth, camaraderie, each of them compacted together in a package called as illusion. If YES, then let's try to figure out & address one of the most far-reaching and underrated problems of the mankind. My problem, your problem, our problem, THE FINAL PROBLEM. (don't worry, Moriarty is dead)
Artificial Intelligence isn't a new, but still a buzzword for more than a decade now. With our knack & increasing dexterity, we have been able to fabricate & implement the idea of the millenia. To design computer systems that are able to perform certain tasks that require human intelligence.
And, here's the catch..!
By superimposing our intellectual abilities on the machines, aren't we getting superimposed by the basic traits of a naive machine? In layman terms, is it a sort of biggest exchange that the world has ever seen, where machines are becoming humans, and humans becoming machines?
With the advent of the digital age where we dwell, we are exposed to a plethora of information, generated from abundant sources. Coupled with our anxiety & haste about getting to know the stuff, we end up accepting the information, without processing them. For an instance, Shawna Pandya was believed to be the 3rd indian-origin woman to fly to space. The news was everywhere, making us happy & proud. Until a few days back, when Shawna took on her facebook account, and termed the news as a mere, rumour.
And we're well aware of those basic machines, that just take inputs. Our washing machine would start rotating its blades even if the bucket is empty, simply on our instruction. Our xerox machine is not going to raise any question if we instruct it to photocopy a plain page. Every other machine works on this simple principle. And maybe, every other human being is running on the same principle, too.
To our surprise, we have been feeding on the 3 basic requirements that any machine needs to run.
Power. Fuel. Maintenance.
Power. Unless we don't get it, we can't think of us becoming machines. But since we have been getting it, we have taken the first step on the road to the hell. As the machines rely on the electric supply for their power, we rely on our neural supply. Our biases. Our prejudices. Our dogmas. They are truly rich and completely renewable sources of power for us. We feed on them, they feed on us. We remain biased against persons, places, names & things, and we can't afford to hear any good about them. Because our power supply has been pressing on one thing. Their good, our bad. Their bad, our good, infact, great..!
Fuel. The quintessential entity for a machine to execute. Because without the fuel, a machine tends to depreciate its performance & efficiency. And we as machines, cannot bear to lose it. Afterall, we're here to protect & preserve our thoughts, biases. And what better than social media! Isn't it a sense of immense pleasure to see an over positive & optimistic post about our favourite leaders? Infact, more pleasure when we retweet a tweet, giving an ultra strong logic to defy & oppose the leader we don't like. But who cares, in the process, we're actually defying & belittling ourselves..!!
Maintenance. Not required every now & then, but on a periodic basis. Thanks to the conflicts in which we engage. Social abuse, defaming the one with opposing views, wow! With every such conflict, our beliefs just keep on getting stronger, & our intellect, weaker, weaker & maybe someday, gone!
Remember those profit & loss problems we used to solve in high school? That monotonous framing of the intimidating word-problems..! Ram & Shyam are two persons, investing their sums at so & so rate. Find out the one with more profit & calculate the profit-value.
Now while solving this problem, none of us feels inclined towards Ram or Shyam. We simply compute the profit with appropriate formula and come out with a genuine result. But this is what future machines are going to do. And future humans, well, depends on the context!!
If Ram & Shyam turn out to be 2 real persons, contesting elections from two rival political parties, then the context gets interesting. Now, who's better? How to decide? This time, not too much of maths! There won't be any neutral analysis anymore. Its pretty much simple this time. This is how it goes. I spport Ram because he's so nice, representing my biases, and most importantly, he just destroys that stupid Shyam, everytime he speaks in a rally.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyale did make a remarkable statement in one of his SHERLOCK books.
"People twist facts to suit theories, instead of twisting theories to suit facts."
Quite an apt statement! But the question of our age is, WHAT ARE FACTS?
We don't have facts anymore, we have its versions. My version of the fact is that Shawna is going to the space, making all of us proud again! And Shawna's version is that she is indeed a citizen scientist, but she isn't going anywhere. My version of the fact is that new currency note of Rs. 2000 has an inbuilt chip, which will destroy every bit of corruption in my country. RBI has its own version, calling the chip as a mere rumour, shattering my feelings so cruelly...!!
What to read? Whom to believe? Who is lying? Who is not? Where is the FACT?
We're fabricating a slow poison. And the danger is imminent. Fortunately, the solution stays quite simplified. Nothing wrong in imparting intelligence to the machines. We need to make sure that its not the other way round. We don't have to be like machines. And for that, we have to entertain a possibility. A possibility that says- I may be wrong. What if I am wrong?
Realising this possibility and accepting our mistakes with acquiescence doesn't really mean that we are compromising on our intelligence. But if we stay stubborn & hot-headed, it actually means that we're all set to sell our intelligence to our dogmas, biases & prejudices. Its high time that we acknowledge the fact- Authenticity of our opinions is temporary, but their diversity is permanent.
We would never cease to have opposing views, and we must not. But we need not to apply logics to defeat others' logics. We apply logic, just because we're logical beings, right? Hopefully, this would preserve the true essence of we, the humans. We have plenty of answers now, what we need is not any more answers, we need better questions.
Because, intelligence is our asset. And its an immovable asset.