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Understanding AI: a necessity for humanity

By 13 December 2019April 10th, 2024Lab32

The simultaneous appearance of exponential technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or robotics, IOT, 5G, blockchain, virtual reality is causing tension on the economy and questions for the future of humanity. At present, very few are those who can say they understand where we are heading. In fact no one can tell. Gaspard Koenig, philosopher and creator of the liberal think tank Génération Libre, interviewed 120 AI experts [1]  : Americans, Chinese, Europeans. As he becomes aware of the impacts of AI, the generational certainties of the old world falter to the point of finally titling his book “The End of the Individual”. The maintenance of free will, pillar of liberal democracy, is called into question by AI consumed without recoil.

As long as the Multitude [2]  does not become clearly aware of the issues that accompany the platform economy, data ownership, the transformation of the Internet into a closed space, the excessive consumption of content; then collective intelligence, which generally makes it possible to find a consensus, will not be able to apply. Understanding before consumption  : without this educational effort we, as individuals, will remain products (remember the adage:  “if it’s free, you are the product.” )

Remember that Artificial Intelligence is above all a scientific field that  appeared in the 1950s. AI will technically take more than 50 years to take off because this relatively simple mathematical field is greedy in data and in computing power. However, around 2005 we had sufficient miniaturization of electronic components and we began to do distributed calculations in the  cloud . This distribution leads to the exploitation of  big data  which becomes the fuel of a new economy. At the same time as this computing power, humans are creating an environment favorable to the emergence of a  data era . First by  digitizing all possible content: books, photos, films, music, transactions… then through the  networking of humanity  through mobile phones, the Internet, social networks, platforms and now objects.

The goal of AI is to reproduce cognitive functions: I know, I do, etc … Science fiction then seized on it to create fantastic universes. In doing so, she created an AI that is scary, capable of reasoning but devoid of emotion.  But Luc Julia explains: “Artificial intelligence does not exist [3]  “. We are developing weak AIs that perform tasks as complex as driving a vehicle better than a human, but which remain  mono-tasks. AI is also clumsy at dealing with deviance. Youtube – fatal crash of an autonomous car in China: Tesla’s AI had never been confronted in these millions of hours of training with a construction truck stopped on a 3rd lane of freeway open to traffic. Another equally controversial bias: in 2015, Google Photos’ AI classifies people with black skin in the “Animals” category due to training on portraits of a population of Caucasian origin [4] .

AI is made to relentlessly process huge volumes of cases by parallelizing them to infinity. Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal and VC guru of Silicon Valley, says of AI that it is a communist: it optimizes the happiness of the community at the expense of that of the individual. If Waze offers the best path to all of these users, they will probably end up in a traffic jam …

Artificial intelligence will inevitably impact our lives. It brings about a revolution, the outcome of which depends on the use, and therefore on the individual understanding that we will have of this technology.

[1]  The end of the individual, G. Koenig, Sept. 2019 – Editions de l’Observatoire

[2]  The Age of the Multitude: Undertaking and Governing After the Digital Revolution, N. Colin and H. Verdier, May 2012 – Editions Armand Colin

[3]  Artificial intelligence does not exist, L. Julia, Jan. 2019 – First Editions. Luc Julia is the boss of AI at Samsung and co-creator of Apple Siri.

[4]  07/02/2015 – Google confuses the portrait of African Americans with gorillas – gorilla-898885.html


Olivier Leroy


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