Maybe we shouldn't have called it AI

by Gene Michael Stover

created Sunday, 2021 November 14
updated Sunday, 2021 November 21

Problems with AI

Problems with the term “artificial intelligence” include...

These problems with the term “artificial intelligence” apply to its predecessor “cognitive simulation” & probably other predecessors I'm not aware of.

“Machine learning” has the same problems. In addition, it's often considered a subset of A.I., so it wouldn't be an appropriate replacement.

Instead of AI

Do you even give a fuck whether it's intelligent, or do we just want & need software that solves hard problems that we didn't program it to solve explicitly?

Instead of “artificial intelligence”, maybe we should use a term that's more indisputably descriptive.

Seems that a descriptive term might be “flexible, expandable, & resilient” systems. It's not catchy, & the abbreviation is F.E.A.R., which doesn't help against the worried & ethically concerned people.

Someone needs to come up with a descriptive, indisputable, & catchy term to replace A.I.

And for gods's sakes, let's stop suggesting that an automaton is or will be intelligent. It distracts from the important parts.[03]


00. definition is controversial
01. philosophical debates
By the way, very smart people have debated these ideas for thousands of years without finding solid answers. So you won't find a solid answer, either. And even if you do (and you won't), the next step will be for lawyers, artists, & the rest of civilization to take it to the next step. Your individual word won't count for much. And like I said, you won't solve the philosophical question anyway. So unless you want to debate it because you enjoy debating it, don't bother. (And few of us — including you & me — know shit about debating, so don't bother to debate anything at all. It's a waste of time.)
03. a final thought
I would not be surprised if the term “intelligence” limits how we think of the problem & its solutions. If we jetisoned the word from practitioners's associations with the systems they are trying to build, wouldn't that allow them to imagine more possible solutions. That jetisoning could take a full generation or 2.

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