No passion to be found playing small



Wait, are you sure your neighbour is human?

  • By: Gordon Guo

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In fact, what we really deserve to be vigilant in this era is not the technology itself, but rather the impetuous and exaggerated arguments, as well as our self-consciousness and binding force

With the rising popularity of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the emergence of an endless stream of smart products has brought surprises to the community again and again, and all walks of life are eagerly awaiting the possibilities of what artificial intelligence applications can bring.

According to a 36KE (a website), industry research report in 2017, currently AI is used mainly in the financial, medical, security and home fields. The use of three provisions, namely data volume, computing power and algorithm, as the driving force of the industry will greatly promote the development of artificial intelligence. It seems that in the near future, mankind will create a new future with their own hands to create new intelligence.

However, with the development of artificial intelligence in full swing, many notable celebrities have reminded the world of the potential difficulties of artificial intelligence.

In his speech at Cambridge University in 2016, Stephen Hawking said:

“The rise of powerful AI will be either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity. In short, success in creating AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation. But it could also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.”

Bill Gates also expressed concern about the development of AI in Reddit "Ask Me Anything":

“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern.”

Known as Silicon Valley’s Iron Man, Elon Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg:

“A fleet of artificial intelligence-enhanced robots can be capable of destroying mankind.”

Although these learned celebrities expressed their opinions very vaguely, we can still sense their worries from between the lines. In contrast, the literary and film works of the sci-fi genre displays vividly the expression of such fears.

In the third episode of the third quarter of the British drama “Black Mirror”, a small robot with an artificial intelligence instigated the “bee” to recognize facial features and silently complete the killing.

The TV hit drama Westworld so far has pushed the evolution, thinking and existence of AI to a new height.

When William, who is human, came to the Westworld, he asked host:

“Are you real?” in which it replied “Well, if you can’t tell, does it matter?”

As if to echo these concerns, at the I/O conference in 2018, Google Assistant passed the Turing test with its surprising performance. At the conference site, Google Assistant called the customer service personnel in different industries and used modal phrases such as “ums” and “ahhs”. The customer service at the other end of the phone did not noticed that they were talking to an AI.

This indicates that AI technology has taken a big step towards the direction of intelligent voice interaction. It also means that at the end of the conversation, one would find it difficult to tell the difference between humans and AI.

The French digital artist Niko Photographisme created a series of works entitled "The Robot Next Door".

He replaced a part of the human body with an entangled wire, a tube of metallic luster, and a densely packed circuit board, to present that:

“The world we observe may not be what you think.”

He put such a paragraph on the Behance homepage of the project:

“We live in a world of appearances. In the real life and the digital world, we play the roles, characters, but appearances are often false or deceptive.

Niko also used two videos to show the key steps in his creative process and emphasise it on the homepage: Old fashion way, no CGI!

He believes that presenting these digital arts in a traditional way can better represent the contradictions of human nature and the digital age. We have developed virtual roles, masks, and identities in this era of digital entanglement. Not only does the Photoshop become easy, fraud is also easy. Today, distinguishing between true and false is a very tricky business.

Of course, the existing artificial intelligence technology cannot bring us substantial threats. The current situation in many industries shows that we have a long way from “strong artificial intelligence”. The development of AI depends more on the multi-dimensional accumulation of data, the enhancement of computing power, and the standardisation of the industry, rather than relying on imagination and conspiracy theories.

In fact, what we really deserve to be vigilant in this era is not the technology itself, but rather the impetuous and exaggerated arguments, as well as our self-consciousness and binding force. Using the algorithm, someone “transplants” a celebrity’s face to a porn actor to reach a level of false realism. Someone uses a voice assistant to simulate the sounds of friends and relatives to scam... The development of this technology will inevitably bring about the expansion of people’s desires and maintain the social composure and reason, and the careful use of their abilities, are particularly urgent and important in this era.

If your neighbour is a knowledgeable and highly talkative person, maybe you can talk to him about this matter.

Wait, are you sure your neighbour is human?