Tuesday, September 15, 2020

AI: Artificial Intelligence

A few thoughts on AI and the future

The Promise of AI
Make a list of the worst problems in the world.  Imagine what would happen if you brought some super intelligence to that problem.  It makes me think the future may really get better.  Fascinating.  For example:
  • Big Problems to solve
    • Poverty 
      • Poverty is a big hard problem that intersects human social behavior, population, and natural resources.  It is important to realize that poverty can never be solved 100 %.  Humans have free will.  The most that can be accomplished is to enable and encourage able and willing persons to help themselves.   Think along the lines of an available Personal Virtual Advisor for every person born.  Even though we can't save those who don't want help, getting good advice from a trusted personal advisor would be a dramatic improvement over the current situation in the world today.  Today countless children are born into homes with parents who are ill equipped to offer any sound advice about important life decisions.  A super smart personal advisor could make a giant difference in poverty and general quality of life for many currently disadvantaged persons.
    • Effective Government Policy
    • Diagnostic medicine
    • Others ?

Beyond solving problems a super intelligence could push forward new technologies

  • New technologies
    • Artificial human organs
      • Want to live to 200 years or more ?
    • Artificial super strength human limbs
      • Want to run 30 miles an hour ?
      • Want to pick up a 400 pound box ?
    • Computer to human brain interfaces
      • Just think 'hey Google' to access any information in the world.
    • Artificial super vision or hearing
      • Want a better look at that stranger 100 yards away ?
      • Want to hear that conversation 100 yards away ?
    • Artificial human wings
      • Please please please yes.
      • I really want to be able to fly like a bird with wings I can flap.
    • Energy technologies
    • Spaceship design and propulsion
    • Personalized education
    • Others ?
The Danger of AI 

As some blockbuster movies have shown and some public figures have agreed, the dangers of AI are real.  It is naive to think that we can contain an intelligence 1000 times smarter than any human.  Maybe when AIs are twice as smart as us they will still have empathy for us like we do for apes.  But when they get to be 1000 times as smart as us humans will be like insects to them.  Also be aware they will be able to learn in seconds what takes us years to learn via our biological brains.  So given sufficient memory and compute processors they could learn in minutes what mankind has taken thousands of years to learn.
  • AI is more dangerous than nuclear energy
    • As such we need to think very carefully about how to proceed, particularly as the computational power of new computers approaches the human brain.  Regulating the computational / memory capacity of new computers may in fact be the key to safe forward progress.  
  • Open Source AI
    • Given the importance and danger of AI, making the source code open is important.
      • https://openai.com/
    • It seems to me web browsers are pushing the envelope on AI technology.  Many people routinely type questions into Google now to get answers for all manner of questions.  It seems to me we need more / better open source web browsers.
      • https://gigablast.com/
Solution (My Opinion):

Here is my suggestion to solve this problem.
  1. Invest heavily in man machine neural interfaces
  2. Have government limit the computational power of any machine to something along the lines of what a human brain is until our neural interface technology allows humans to interface efficiently with computers and we can optionally evolve into machines rather than being taken over by them...

Sam Harris on AI

Elon Musk on AI

Sunday, September 13, 2020

I'm Retired

Effective August 28th 2020, I am officially retired from corporate life.  I worked for 35 plus years, mostly for various semiconductor companies in Austin Texas.  I split that time alternating between working on instruction set simulators, and core design verification, most recently at AMD.  While I'm grateful for the paycheck these last several years, I have to say I'm happy to have the politics of large corporate America now behind me.

Going forward I expect to spend my time doing three things:

  1. Rebuilding my retirement cabin.  This will be a near term focus as I don't have the energy I had when I was younger for such physical activity, so the sooner the better.  Also the sooner I get it done the sooner I can enjoy it. 
  2. Traveling.  After the pandemic is behind us, and the weather is pleasant (probably next spring) I plan to buy a new van and drive a big loop around the country.  I tend to get bored quickly when I travel but do enjoy some sightseeing particularly when I am doing the driving and can control the pace and schedule.  I've made a smaller loop to the West coast before in my current van and enjoyed it.  I've traveled some in the past, including internationally, but have yet to the see the northwest and northeast corners of the US.  So this seems like a good time to make that long drive.  Anybody have any suggestions ?  From a scenic point of view I especially like the Rocky mountains, but I have already seen them multiple times.  I've also seen the Grand Canyon.  I have yet to see Meteor Crater in Arizona, so that is on my list for this trip. 
  3. RISCV.  As I indicated in a previous post, I'm a fan of this architecture, both technically and politically.  I think this will do for computer architecture, what Linux did for Operating Systems.  So as a way of continuing to exercise my mind, and potentially supplement my retirement income, I hope to make a few contributions here to help push this technology forward...