November 7th, 2012 New Media Research Methodology: Artificial Intelligence
Imagine we live in the year 2050. Technology has finally caught up with human intelligence. Living, breathing humans now walk amongst cold, metal, robots. Man-made people with artificial intelligence roam the earth. Although a robot infested reality seems distant, technology is becoming increasingly intelligent. Each new development supersedes it’s counterparts in speed, functionality, programming, and knowledge. Within New Media studies, artificial intelligence is very fascinating. However, with fascination comes controversy. Many people ponder the question; how far is too far? In essence, the study and practice of New Media poses the same question. Similar to the evolution of AI, the definition of New Media is always changing. New media has no limits, and encompasses each technological art form, from video art to Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence dates all the way back to Homer, referring to “mechanical ‘tripods’ waiting on the gods at dinner” (Buchanan 2). However, it has only been in the past century that AI innovators have been able to create machines that compare to Homer’s “robotic assistants”. Conversely, Innovators still continue to struggle to develop mechanisms of thought. Even philosophers have explored the possibility of machines to aid in self-realization as humans. Rene Descartes, a french philosopher and mathematician from the 1600’s; used the idea of a “mechanical man” as a metaphor; while Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a german philosopher and mathematician saw the legitimacy of machines and their reasoning devices. Leibniz later created an early version of the ‘calculator’, which at the time could be considered a development in New Media. However, Leibniz never believed that his creation could think independently. (Buchanan 3).
When we think of robots in our world today, we recall units like Wall-E, the terminator, and even the robots we play chess with on the computer. One of the most memorable chess games took place in May 1977, when an IBM Supercomputer named Deep Blue competed against the world champion Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue’s victory was considered a triumph in the AI world, however the founding pioneer, John McCarthy was doubtful of the accomplishment. He quotes "The fixation of most computer chess work on success in tournament play has come at scientific cost". McCarthy states that Deep Blue’s success was not based upon it’s understanding of the game itself, but merely it’s computing power. Meanwhile, IBM was also creating Watson, a program that was able to compete in the game show “Jeopardy!”. Once again, the computer prevailed, yet the AI community had the same argument. A philosopher by the name of John Searle argues that “IBM invented an ingenious program, not a computer that can think” (Vardi 4). As a New Media discipline, Artificial intelligence has been in the works for quite some time. Despite the controversial ideas of Artificial intelligence verses mechanical engineering, the development of new mechanical beings continue to advance much like the world of New Media. Although robots have always been associated with AI, earlier stages of the robot explored mechanical engineering rather than independent thought process. Today, much of the mechanical engineering has been developed, and scientists are concentrated on creating units that test intelligent behavior. Computers are used as experimental devices to understand the human nature, and how it can be digitally translated. Throughout the years Artificial Intelligence has been influenced by several areas of study, such as; engineering (e.g. cybernetics), biology (e.g. neural networks for simple organisms), psychology (e.g. communication theories), game theory, mathematics, statistics, logic, philosophy, and linguistics. (Buchanan 11). In the past decade many advances have been made in the field of AI. Considerable amounts of progress have been made when it comes to machines and their modes of reasoning, such as case-based reasoning, analogies, induction, reasoning under uncertainty, and default reasoning (Buchanan 26). By combining each method of reasoning, the system would be deemed successful. One of the most important methodologies regarding Artificial Intelligence is Argumentation. Argumentation is the process in which problems are proposed, discussed, and resolved through mathematical reasoning, This idea has long been one of the key ideas in the development and programming of AI. Much like the Jeopardy controversy, the computer must not rely on it’s computing power, but it’s power to draw conclusions without concrete information, much like a human being. Mathematical algorithms are used to create scenarios where the computer can analyze the validity of the problem, along with possible outcomes. Two main elements are utilized when analyzing the settings of Artificial Intelligence; logic, and deductive reasoning. The theories of Argumentation play a large role in creating an effective computational thought process, and continue to assist in programming AI. Exploring the ethics surrounding Artificial Intelligence reminds humans of how powerful the development of AI truly is. Although our knowledge regarding AI has greatly increased over the years, humans cannot predict the future, nor can we predict the outcome of creating artificial intelligence. There is an increased responsibility when dealing with technology that thinks on it’s own. The ethics of AI is a section in the ethics of technology that is specific to robots and any other type of artificially intelligent beings. The term “Roboethics” was created to illustrate the ethical issues regarding the moral behavior of humans as they design, construct, use and treat artificially intelligent beings, and the term “Machine Ethics” was created to illustrate the ethical issues regarding moral behavior of artificial moral agents (AMAs) (Anderson 16). “Roboethics” was coined by Gianmarco Verruggio, a roboticist, in 2002. This term contemplates the possibilities of robots being used to harm humans, and the possibilities of robots being used to help humans. The first section of Roboethics is “Robot Rights”. Robot Rights are the responsibilities of society towards machines. Robot rights are very similar to the rights of animals, and even the rights of humans. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the right to life are some of the rights robots are allowed. Although the idea of putting these Robot Rights into effect may seem dubious, inventor Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist; believes that in 2029 humanoid robots will appear; and perhaps these Robot Rights will need to be advanced. The threat to privacy is another ethical issue surrounding humans and robots. Theoretically, robots have the capabilities with proper processors to record/listen to telephone conversations, read emails, and access files, this poses a great privacy risk to society. The last point of Roboethics is the threat to human dignity. In 1976 Joseph Weizenbaum stated that artificially intelligent beings should not replace positions in the work force that require human care and compassion (McCorduck 356). He believed that jobs like police officers, judges, nurses, therapists, and customer service representatives should be reserved for human beings, rather than robots. Above all, empathy is required to properly perform each of the duties. If an artificially intelligent being was used in this way, a threat to human dignity would present itself. “The possibility of machines in these positions suggests that we have experienced an ‘atrophy of the human spirit that comes from thinking of ourselves as computers’" (McCorduck 356). Comparatively, Machine Ethics pertains to the research concerned with designing Artificial Moral Agents (AMAs), artificially intelligent computers, or robots that behave morally. Machine Ethics deals with the hazards of “cockroach intelligence” (i.e. self-sufficient robots), and touches on The Singularity. As New Media Artists it is important to understand the ethics surrounding life-altering technologies like AI. Human intelligence is a very complicated, and fascinating topic. Abilities like understanding languages, reasoning, observations, understanding emotion, problem solving, and learning are only a few parts that make up the composition of the brain. On one hand, artificial intelligence has the same beautiful composition as human intelligence, but on the other hand, it is viewed as morally wrong. There are many advantages and disadvantages to the development of Artificial Intelligence. Artificially Intelligent robots have the ability to explore worlds that a human otherwise could not; for example, the universe. While the atmosphere in space would be toxic for humans, robots could further our knowledge in space exploration. Robots would be a great asset to the work force, they never need sleep, they never die, and they never become ill. Ultimately, they have the ability to get much more work done than a regular human can. Having infinite functions means that robots can almost do everything, except operate with human intelligence. Although there are several advantages to AI, there are also many disadvantages. Most importantly, artificially intelligent beings do not have the “human touch”. As much as we can try to create compassion, empathy, even love, artificial intelligence will never be human intelligence. There are also many moral and ethical issues surrounding AI. Some believe that intelligence is God’s gift, and should be treasured; while others think that self-sufficient AI beings will create mass destruction in our world. Due to the fact that artificially intelligent beings are infinite in their abilities, jobs will be taken from people, and feelings of inferiority between human and robot would arise.
In conclusion, the issues surrounding the development of Artificial Intelligence are bountiful. In theory, living amongst robots would make life easier, however it is predicted that AI innovators still have quite some time before The Singularity. Artificial Intelligence is an ever-changing technology, similar to New Media, and it is very important that New Media artists understand their moral obligations when dealing with technology as powerful as AI. The fantasies of artificially intelligent machine live on because we as New Media artists, are dreamers. We crave new technology, create amazing things; and need to be conscious about our decisions and how they may impact the future.
Works Cited Anderson, Michael; Anderson, Susan Leigh (Winter 2007). “Machine Ethics: Creating and Ethical Intelligent Agent”. AI Magazine (American Association for Artificial Intelligence
Bench-Capon, T. J. M., and Paul E. Dunne. "Argumentation in Artificial Intelligence." Artificial Intelligence 171.10 (2007): 619-41. Print Bruce G Buchanan. "A (very) Brief History of Artificial Intelligence." AI Magazine 26.4 (2005): 53. Print. Joseph Weizenbaum, quoted in McCorduck. (2004) pp. 356, 374–376 Kurzweil, Ray. (2005) The Singularity is Near. Penguin Books Levinson, Stephen E. "Ethical Implications of an Experiment in Artificial Intelligence." World Englishes 22.3 (2003): 217-26. Print. Michael Anderson, and Susan Leigh Anderson. "Machine Ethics." IEEE Intelligent Systems 21.4 (2006): 10. Print
Oak, Manali. "Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence." Buzzle. N.p., 22 2011. Web. 7 Nov 2012.
<http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-artificial-intelligence.html>. Pollock, John. "Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence." Philosophical Perspectives 4 (1990): 461-98. Print. Vardi, Moshe. "Artificial Intelligence: Past and Future." Communications of the ACM 55.1 (2012): 5-. Print.