Algorithms are smart but they’re nowhere near intelligent

artificial intelligence
Image from iRobot.

Watson is basically a text search algorithm connected to a database just like Google search. It doesn’t understand what it’s reading. In fact, “read” is the wrong word. It’s not reading anything because it’s not comprehending anything. Watson is finding text without having a clue as to what the text means. In that sense, there’s no intelligence there. It’s clever, it’s impressive, but it’s absolutely vacuous.

A recent comment from Douglas Hofstadter regarding the current state of AI.

We don’t yet understand how brains work, so we can’t build one.

Jaron Lanier

Of course, it may be that our anthropomorphic maps for sentience and intelligence will prevent us from spotting a different kind of networked machine intelligence…

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