Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence

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Hackers Used to Be Humans. Soon, AIs Will Hack Humanity

One day not too far into the future, we’ll look back to simpler times when humans hacked computers. By then, artificial intelligence will be hacking critical infrastructure, after that, artificial intelligence will hack artificial intelligence, and, if I’m guessing correctly, it’s artificial intelligence all the way down. «…and humans will be little more than collateral damage.» Read it now

From Weekly Filet #345, in April 2021.

Moore’s Law for Everything

Imagine a world where, for decades, everything—housing, education, food, clothing, etc.—became half as expensive every two years.» There are (a lot of) good reasons to be wary of a future powered by artificial intelligence (remember that Facebook piece from last week?). Every now and then, I’ll allow some techno-utopianism. Especially if it’s not about what artificial intelligence will and won’t do, but how it might change the entire fabric of society. So maybe all we need for a great future are AI, and taxes?

From Weekly Filet #340, in March 2021.

Are Humans Intelligent? An AI Op-Ed

In recent weeks, an artificial intelligence program named GPT-3 has wowed people. It’s arguably the most powerful and smart language generator ever produced. And it inevitably sparked a recurring discussion: While AI is good at specific tasks — will it ever be capable of true intelligence? That’s a very human-centered way to think about it. Why not turn things around for once, and let an artificial intelligence program argue whether or not humans are capable of true intelligence? This is exactly what you’re about to read. GPT-3 pulles no punches.

From Weekly Filet #312, in August 2020.

There’s No Fire Alarm for Artificial General Intelligence

Looking at the discourse around artificial intelligence through the lens of a fire alarm is quite eye-opening, and, well, alarming. «There is never going to be a time before the end when you can look around nervously, and see that it is now clearly common knowledge that you can talk about AGI being imminent, and take action and exit the building in an orderly fashion, without fear of looking stupid or frightened.»

From Weekly Filet #254, in November 2017.

Paperclips

Writing this newsletter is never easy, but today, it’s particularly challenging. The reason is quite simple: As I’m writing this, I’m also busy playing the role of an AI that produces paperclips. That sounds really boring – who would want to do that? Exactly my words a couple of hours ago before I got hooked. Don’t click this link, seriously.

From Weekly Filet #251, in October 2017.

A.I. versus M.D.

Somehow, computers outsmarting humans in games tend to get way more attention than in areas in which the consequences will be a lot more far-reaching. Take medicine. Algorithms are already beating humans’ accuracy in analysing brain scans or detecting skin cancer. This New Yorker piece offers a deep dive on how it works and what it means. (Plus, and that alone is worth the click: the definitive illustration of the mind-body-problem)

From Weekly Filet #236, in June 2017.

The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence

This is one of the rare kind of texts that has the potential to completely change your perspective. I’ve always struggled to wrap my head around Artificial Intelligence and the question of whether and when machines will be more intelligent than humans. It sure is a fascinating issue, but it always had this sci-fi out-of-touchiness; humans are notoriously bad at understanding exponential growth and thus far, no text had really helped me understand how we might get from Siri and Watson to superintelligent computers and immortality (or extinction) within a couple of decades. All of that changed when I read this two-part series. A stunner. In so many ways.

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