Can Computers be Creative? How? How can [a creative idea] arise, then, if not by magic? And how can one impossible idea be more surprising, more creative, than another? How can creativity happen?
– from Margaret Boden. Creativity and Unpredictability. Stanford Electronic Humanities Review 4(2), 1995.
This essay first appeared in Recode in December 2017. "Sometimes a type of glory lights up the mind of a man," writes John Steinbeck in his novel East of Eden, which is set in a California valley -- Salinas, though, not Silicon. "It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. Okay, but what does that have to do with artificial intelligence?
While we hope it will not be lethal, the increasing use of artificial intelligenceArtificial Intelligence knows many different definitions, but in general it can be defined as a machine completing complex tasks intelligently, meaning that it mirrors human intelligence and evolves with time. in the legal services industry poses its own challenges. Law firms accustomed to using lawyers to perform certain tasks are now encountering technology, including artificial intelligence, that can perform tasks in seconds or minutes rather than the hours spent by a human counterpart. Although there are a growing number of firms using alternative fee arrangements, the majority of law firms continue to rely upon the billable hour as the source of their revenues. As technology and artificial intelligence continue to improve and threaten the traditional revenue model, law firms must assess how to use these technologies and consider other means of billing. What exactly is artificial intelligence?
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive intelligence is being used to transform cyber security and aid security analysts' identity threats more accurately. This is word from global firm IBM, which released results this week from an online survey of 150 federal IT managers familiar with their department's current cyber security capabilities and future strategies. Titled "The Federal Cyber AI IQ Test," the survey found that federal IT managers see cyber security as the single biggest opportunity for AI in the federal government. "Only 21% say they are'very comfortable' with the idea of using AI for cyber security today. Feds are roughly split regarding the ideal adoption pace for AI - 46% want to be first, 48% are afraid to take the risk.
Technologists across the world have frantically embarked on the quest to create a new species in our own image -- general artificial intelligence with superior computational brain power. But we are only just beginning to understand the foundations of human intelligence and consciousness that cannot be captured in an algorithmic formula divorced from the functions of the body and the long evolution of our species and its microbiome. As the celebrated neuroscientist Antonio Damasio argues in a WorldPost interview based on his new book, "The Strange Order of Things," it is the feelings and emotions, which originated and dwell in that biological terrain, that are constitutive of human intelligence, consciousness and the capacity for cultural creation. In short, a map of the computational mind is not the territory of what it means to be human. "Our minds operate in two registers," Damasio explains.
We explored that topic this week with Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, following the announcement of the MIT Intelligence Quest, an effort to "discover the foundations of human intelligence" to develop better technology, especially artificial intelligence. Reif has been MIT's president since 2012. An electrical engineer by training, he has been outspoken in his defense of funding for basic scientific research. He was in Seattle this week to talk with alumni about MIT's plans for the future of education, research, and innovation. We spoke about all of those topics, plus diversity in the tech industry and Boston's bid for Amazon HQ2, on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast. Listen to our full conversation in the player below, and continue reading for edited excerpts. Subscribe to the GeekWire Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.