Monday, December 21, 2015

Fear in Silicon Valley

OpenAI, the Savior of the World

Those of you who have an interest in artificial intelligence may have noticed a recent strange announcement from some of the big movers and shakers in Silicon Valley. We are told that humanity faces an imminent existential threat, the birth of true AI. It seems that the best way to defend ourselves against this potential evil is to make sure that any breakthrough in AI is quickly disseminated to the entire world. So they formed a nonprofit corporation called OpenAI to do just that. And they mean business. Silicon Valley luminaries like Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Peter Thiel and others have already committed one billion dollars to the company and they've brought in known experts from the machine learning research community.

Panic at the Top

In my opinion, the real purpose of OpenAI is not at all what its investors claim. Remember that these are people who are already heavily invested in various other for-profit companies that are hard at work on creating proprietary AI technologies. The conflict of interest is obvious. I think this is a sign of fear among the big dogs. I think OpenAI is just brain bait. Here is what I think happened. The lords of Silicon Valley have come to the realization that true AI may emerge from anywhere and not necessarily from the Googles, Baidus, Microsofts and FaceBooks of the world. It dawned on them that it is quite possible that some maverick genius working in a garage somewhere will figure it out before they do. After all, information is freely available on the net and fast cloud computing is getting cheaper everyday. OpenAI is essentially saying: "Look, we got truckloads of cash and we are the good guys. Come join forces with us."

It ain't gonna work. Why? Because whoever figures out AI will have no need of Silicon Valley's money, let alone their reptilian morality. If necessary, he or she will eat SV for breakfast before they realize what just happened to them. We live in interesting times.

PS. In a few days, I will delete a number of old AI articles from this blog because they are obsolete in certain areas. My understanding of intelligence and the brain has evolved tremendously in the last several years and months and those articles do not fully or accurately reflect my current thinking. I also know that a few among you read what I write to get ideas for your own AI projects. All I can say is that I am sorry if I misled you. When the time comes, all will be revealed.

See Also:

Why Deep Learning Is a Hindrance to Progress Toward True AI
In Spite of the Successes, Mainstream AI is Still Stuck in a Rut