Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Design, Evolution and Comedy

I have some friends who have launched a new podcast. I don’t want to talk about it — I feel it speaks for itself. I will say that I consider it to be quite funny here and there.

One thing I do want to do is to respond to it (and BTW: if you’re not well-versed in Frank Zappa, then now might be a good time to consider “Call Any Vegetable” 😉 ).

There are 2 things that have happened in the story so far — I mean: 2 things I wish to remark on. First, Ted and Brandon decided early on that making small changes among huge populations was something they weren’t going to consider — because they were afraid something like that wouldn’t work. The second thing they did was to mention Ray Kurzweil. Ray Kurzweil is considered by many to be an AI guru. In my opinion, his influence is rather limited… because his work is primarily about pattern recognition (and because the patterns that are supposed to be recognized are patterns that are defined by so-called “intelligent” beings). No AI I know of can recognize any pattern that has not been defined by such an intelligent being beforehand.

Evolution, however, is precisely such a process which “discovers” new patterns. It does this via trial and error — and crucially: small changes. In my opinion, Ted and Brandon may be making a huge mistake by ignoring the possibility that humans may be able to make some huge strides in very small steps. I also find it comical that two grown men would still believe that only people that seem to have immense power (like Superman) would be able to make momentous change happen.

 

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