Each year, the artificial intelligence community convenes to administer the famous -- and famously controversial -- Turing test, pitting sophisticated software programs against humans to determine if a computer can "think." The machine that most often fools the judges wins the Most Human Computer Award. But there is also a prize, strange and intriguing, for the "Most Human Human." Brian Christian, a young poet with degrees in computer science and philosophy, was chosen to participate in a recent competition. This playful, profound book is not only a testament to his efforts to be deemed more human than a computer, but also a rollicking exploration of what it means to be human in the first place.
Most researchers you speak to these days predict that after the boom of neural networks in machine learning, we will reach A.G.I. (artificial general intelligence), and then soon A.H.I. (artificial human intelligence), until the final step A.S.I. (artificial super intelligence). While this seems like the most logical path, and a solid theory based on logic, does this mean that we should rigidly follow this direction? There are a lot of downsides to especially the artificial human intelligence step, both in the implementation details (which can be overcome), as well as the implications it will have on the following step, artificial super intelligence.
To grow the kind of baby that we do, with this giant brain, who can't do anything for the first 3-5 years of life, you need a lot of input. As much as 1.5-1.7 million years ago, we start to see a shift in the fossils, which suggests that more than one or two individuals became closely involved in taking care of the young. Fast forward to the last couple hundred thousand years, and it is absolutely clear that the human success story is part and parcel of our incredible ability to "take a whole village" to raise a child, as the old saying goes. The nuclear family--Mom, Dad, a couple kids, and a dog--is not only very recent but is not even typical of the way most people live in the world. This whole notion of a family house with a white picket fence is a very a-typical way to be human.