Artificial Intelligence Revolution: Hype, Scam, or “Big Brother”

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Are there any threats to humans?

My opinion, at this stage, taking into account the available results, of course, there is no threat so far. All this is fantastic in the style of the Terminator and the fight against Skynet. However, if there is possible the biological synthesis (synthesis of the human mind and artificial intelligence), the danger of using the results obtained in malicious intent is possible. The danger is possible if AI is created on a biological basis, that is, not on modeling neural networks, but on growing DNA-based neural networks with simultaneous programming.

However, the suspense is always scary. Whenever humanity was on the verge of new discoveries, innovative developments, or technical revolutions, people were afraid: what would bring these radical changes? Therefore, it was in the era of the transition from horses to cars, and at the dawn of the development of electricity, and during the development of the World Wide Web. Some saw changes in perspective, others saw a threat. What are alarmists talking about today, which include well-known scientists and businessmen (Elon Musk, Hawking):

  1. Many people think that it will take a very short time before the AI ​​learns to improve and use the accumulated experience and knowledge, which will make it over-developed. The short-term effect of using AI depends on who controls it, and the long-term effect on whether it will be possible to control it in the future. Such devices will be able to independently analyze situations and make the necessary decisions, and perhaps these decisions will not be in the human’s favor.
  2. Many developments are being carried out almost uncontrollably today, which means that anyone can design a device that could potentially harm human or entire countries. The United Nations is already pushing for legislation to create AI-based laws that can be used in military conflicts.
  3. Scientists saw a threat to AI of a social nature. In their view, the widespread use of technology with AI will cause people to stop making decisions on their own and rely on the decision of the machine. As if having a chance to relieve oneself of responsibility. People will become too dependent on devices. Smart devices will be able to manipulate the opinions and decisions of their owners
  4. The threat of future Super Nova Mind. According to Nick Bostrom, the evolution of AI will take place with human evolution. From the blind evolution in which we are now, to the conscious. In the future, the master of the planet will be only the superintelligence, and today, we are inexorably moving in this direction, the only question is whether the superintelligence, built on the basis of the human, will the primacy go to the artificially created device or will it be the result of synthesis (human and artificial)
  5. In addition, of course, Hollywood’s “machine uprising” is the most common fear on this subject. So far, all these threats of a mythical nature, which most likely pose a reputation risk and risks at the legislative level, control the development processes of AI, as a science.

Nevertheless, the more real threat today is the practical implementation of the theory of “Big Brother” by the state and special services using AI technology. Moreover, here it is already worth fearing today!

AI at the service of “Big Brother”

The expression about Big Brother is well known, both to lovers of social dystopias and to fans of literature in general. The phrase “Big Brother is watching you” gained fame after the release of the novel by the famous British writer J. Orwell “1984”, which continued the theme of the “faithful” revolution, which began in his work “Animal Farm”, which was an allegory for the October Revolution of 1917. In modern society, the term “Big Brother” is used to denote totalitarianism, anti-democracy, and surveillance. The theory is that intelligence agencies of all developed countries organized a mechanism for total surveillance of citizens, including surveillance of Internet users. First of all, this concerns the work of American intelligence agencies, which are likely to process more data than leading technology companies.

In September 2017, Dawn Meyerriecks, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency for Technology Development, said her agency was working with 137 AI projects, many of which were related to Silicon Valley companies. This is an impressive figure. Apparently, the CIA is going to make AI technology the main tool for working with information, which means significant cash injections in this area. US intelligence agencies are already working with a gigantic amount of data, which, in fact, includes the entire Internet. The CIA is currently working on creating predictive algorithms with AI elements that could find non-obvious causal relationships in disparate data sets. Such systems should alert intelligence analysts to important events that slip out of sight of conventional tools. Decisions made on the basis of machine analysis will be used to make political and military (operational) decisions.

It should be noted that now the special services, delivering daily reports to the country’s leadership, are not able to assess the situation. Only tracking social networks requires gigantic resources, not to mention the analysis of satellite images, statements by local media and news messages in various social media and chat rooms. Therefore, special services will be forced to use developments in the field of AI. The beneficiaries have already become large technology companies that can be as data collectors, such as Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (FB), and vendors of flexible AI platforms to perform various operational tasks, such as IBM Watson from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM).

The Chinese Government, which has already done a lot to implement the policy of the theory of the “big brother”. So there are AI threats to humans, but again, these same threats come from the human and the state itself, as a form of organization of control of human society. Another more real threat than the Rise of the Machines may be the same human factor, or rather, a Human interest in the easy money associated with the hype around AI.

Hype and scammers!

Unfortunately, the hysteria around AI generates numerous pseudo-revolutionary startups that can only wash away an investor’s wallet and not create a revolutionary product. Under the cover of AI technology and its development, ordinary routine processes are hidden that have nothing to do with AI.

For example, former Engineer.ai employees told the Wall Street Journal that the company was tricking investors and users into claiming to use artificial intelligence to develop applications. In fact, this work is done by cheap programmers. In 2018, Engineer.ai raised $29.5 million. Among its investors: Deepcore Inc., a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, as well as Zurich venture company Lakestar (the first investor in Facebook and Airbnb) and Singaporean company Jungle Ventures.

A company becomes more attractive to investors when it claims to use AI in its work. Since the operation of this technology is difficult to track, experts cannot always determine whether it is really used in creating a product. However, the former and current employees of the company, as well as the documentation that came to the Wall Street Journal journalists, saying that Engineer.ai does not use AI to build application code – this is done by engineers from India. And there are many such cases around the world. The reason for all this is hype and money. According to PitchBook, venture capital firms almost doubled funding for AI startups in 2018 compared to 2017. To attract the attention of investors, it is enough to have only “ai” in the domain name of the company.

Earlier, a report by London-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures showed that technology companies, even in Europe, which call themselves AI, startups, do not actually use artificial intelligence in their products. In total, there are 2,830 such companies – about 40% of all startups. Some novice technology developers use the fancy phrase “artificial intelligence” to draw attention to themselves and their products in order to get more funding. According to MMC, companies claiming to work on AI solutions attract an average of 15–50% more investment. At the same time, startups themselves do not always declare the use of artificial intelligence. Therefore, the AI ​​sector is a potential bubble that, due to hype, can burst, harming real market participants, not fakes. Another threat is that AI could potentially be used to wreck the same person. Distinguishing truth from fake is becoming increasingly difficult. Artificial intelligence masters the natural languages ​​of human culture as fraud and propaganda.

In the summer of 2016, ZeroFOX, an information security company, discovered a new kind of Twitter bot called SNAP_R. It tricked users clicking on links, redirecting them to questionable sites. It served as an automated phishing system that analyzed the behavior patterns of users of a social network and found out their interests and needs. At that moment, when an unsuspecting user flips through the news feed, the bot throws him some kind of entry like “Archaeologists have discovered the grave of Alexander the Great in the United States – for details, click on the link”.

SNAP_R did not pursue any malicious purpose since it was only a working concept. But the very fact of its existence warns us once again how careful we should be in the world of fake information, which is already being played by AI. At the same time, two researchers, thanks to SNAP_R, built a neural network that can learn from the analysis of large amounts of data. For example, it learned to recognize images by analyzing thousands of other images. It was able to recognize spoken language by learning from a database of conversation records with technical support. And, of course, can already generate phishing messages by analyzing Twitter and Reddit posts and known cases of online attacks.

The mathematical powers of AI are used today everywhere in many areas – from speech recognition to text translation. The same power can perfectly work to deceive thousands of Internet users. I think it will be strange if the technology is not used for fraudulent purposes. Everything indicates it already possible today.

Many technology experts have serious questions about the AI that Deepfakes generates -fabricated visual content that is very similar to real. In addition, many other examples that have far from positive uses. Therefore, the dilemma of the relationship between AI and humanity depends on humanity itself and the goals for which AI will be used.

A big plus of a human in this matter is the fact that he can manage the whole process, yet. The main thing is to contribute to the creation of robots/algorithms that will bring only benefit to human existence, and not harm. An army of technology experts should start their work today and create all the necessary precautions. There are no serious studies on this issue; therefore, it is necessary to promote the emergence of special research institutes for the study of machine intelligence and life in the future. Is it possible to completely control all the processes of AI development, only time will tell.

Artificial Intelligence Revolution: What is behind AI? – Part 1

Source: Becoming Human

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