Search

myreadactor

Where the reader becomes a redactor.

War on terror #4: “War is always a defeat for humanity.”

War, this process that allows individuals to leave out their humanity to do atrocities.
War, this pitiless fight among people who want to show their superiority.
War, this lack of communication leading to terrible extermination.

 

We could continue to give different loathsome and appalling definitions of this term all day long. In essence, each one of us perfectly knows war and its consequences. Some historians state we only had 250 years of peace in humanity. In this effect, we and our ancestors always lived more or less directly through many kinds of harmful conflicts all around the world. Hence, with all our knowledge, why are we not  learning from our mistakes and try to conceive a better world ? 

Before continuing, I would like to remind you the definition of mistake. An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness. In my conceit, the end of the definition completely dovetails to the worst part of human spirit. Beside all their qualities, individuals are and always will be flawed by their arrogance which continuously binds them to a cesspool of rashness and ignorance. Religious wars where believers wanted to oblige other folks to be devoted like them ( e.g. the troubles in Northern Ireland), ideologic wars in which some community wanted to show their superiority ( e.g. Hutus vs Tutsis in Rwanda ) or even wars based on personal interests ( USA vs Iran and Afghanistan) all seems to have different foolish reasons to fight for. But when you clearly analyze all the premises of those bloodsheds, you can perceive that it is always due to human natural buffoonery and vanity.

We could therefore assume that humans cannot overcome their own inability because they are the root of the problem. By saying this, we would give a very pessimistic insight for the subsequent years. But no, I prefer to say that war is like a plague, which can therefore be cured. But how can we recover from a disease that outlives everything and everyone ? Obviously, we firstly need to educate people so they can understand their situation and the suffering of their fellow men. Nevertheless, and unlike the common consensus, I don’t think that gaining knowledge is the only key to stop this scourge. Indeed, a lot of pretendedly educated people which were head of states had this desire to fight for totally unlawful desires or ideologies. And of course, no one could stop them. Consequently, I think that betting in education is essential but cannot attenuate human malice. We need to put everyone on an equal footing, help each other economically in order to tighten up the gap between the one who have a lust for power and the others who don’t have a word to say and often follow the movement . By doing this, the rest of the population will not just focus on their simple survival, but will be able to free themselves and overturn the wicked acts of some macabre leaders. 

Accordingly, individuals will not respect dreadful orders for the cause of some unconscious leaders. They will understand the frightfulness of their decisions and not follow their diktats like machines. As I said in the last article, machines are not humans. Now, it is time to prove the contrary. 

Advertisements

War on Terror #3 : Terrorism done wrong

My previous article about terror concerned the Paris attacks that occured last November. In it, I expressed my admiration for the global community and its ability to surpass chaos as people all over the world demonstrated their support through social networks.

In the light of the amplor of the Paris attacks, such a reaction was natural. Yet, I believe that we will only get rid of terror if we stop broadcasting it. Such an assertion may ostensibly seem to contradict my previous stance. However, I would like to clarify my thesis beforehand so as to avoid such ambiguity.

The terrorists’ acts are indeed atrocious. Families have suffered the loss of their members, friendships have been broken. We could write novels about the emotions that have followed terrorist attacks, yet what numbers can we associate with these events? I would like to share this extract from a Canadian journal, in which the presentator gives a brief overview of the threat that terrorists represent in statistical terms:

Here are some of the facts given by the journalist: since 2001, 50 people died from terrorist attacks motivated by Islamic reasons. In Canada, the chance that a given person will die during a terrorist attack is 1 over 116 millions. And it is not much higher in any of the other western countries. These numbers are dim, almost insignificant, yet the medias spread the word about every aborted terrorist attack as if the third world war was just avoided.

We are living in an era where information is everywhere, evolving in a bubble of information overload from which we continuously draw our conception of the world. The issue with terrorism is that the medias deliver an irrational amount of information concerning an issue whose scale does not equal that of a mosquito bite, making us scratch the tiny bite until it spread on our arm and becomes all we can see.

Not only are terrorists’ damage in their absolute value nearing nil, their actual military power is slim. Their armies are mostly composed of brainwashed individuals whose weak personality led them to believe in the terrorists’ ideology. These individuals, in turn, only abdicated to the terrorists’ control through the latter’s ubiquituousness in the medias. But what is even more flagrant is their blatant lack of ability. These people come from normal lives as corporate officers or industrial workers. What good will they be at handling machine guns and mastering the art of organized warfare? They will most certainly pale in comparison to the intensely trained US soldiers, or to any western military group. Further more, although they might have enough wealth to afford a few weapons and black costumes, they cannot afford the heavier arsenal, including tanks and powerful explosives.

Thus, it appears that the terrorists have a weak impact and just as weak an arsenal. The threat they represent as a physical entity it thus insignificant, yet the “terror” they exert through the medias make them appear as overly dangerous. Thus, the best way to avoid the next terrorist attack is to stop talking about the previous one. Only through information filtering will we achieve the thwarting of their own propaganda campaign.

 

Written by Saad Slaoui, Published by Ali Rachidi

War on Terror #2 : Our monster

“War on terrorism” was a word used by Georges W. Bush Jr. after the WTC’s attacks on September 1st 2001. He wanted to go all by himself against any states related to terrorism. Before that speech, it appeared that Bush wanted to say “crusade” but it then was considered as too religious. Terrorism was turning into Enemy Public n°1. After that speech, attacks on Arabs countries had increased. The Bush’s administration had declared war to the Axis of Evil with countries such as Irak, North Korea, Iran. The war against the “rogue states” (all copyrights to Ronald Reagan). One of the best examples is the war against Saddam Hussein in Irak. They won, but after that, they had to face a anti-American reaction. And, seriously, where is Irak now? Mostly dominated by ISIS. From 1979 to 1989, the U.S provided many revolutionists like Osama Bin Laden to go against the communists. They provided Osama Bin Laden with money, guns, soldiers, knowledge and power to win against the USSR. They’ve created their worst nightmare. They helped extremists to grow into terrorists. Let’s remember that one day, the democratic countries helped terrorism to grow.

Apart of economics, what makes terrorists more and more important? Propaganda. Where does propaganda come from? Medias but essentially this will led us to bias. This propaganda, that bias makes us more suspicious, less confident in one-another. We may think and say that it is this propaganda, the power the terrorists have that makes us fear. But, deeply inside each of us we know that this fear is essentially orchestrated by us. But I know what you’ll ask me : if I not fear it, will it go ? The answer is no. But fear is holding us back from doing something really useful. We cannot just lay on others like we do with politicians. Sometimes to chase the devil, it takes more than politic and speeches. Sometimes we need to fight back, to claim what is ours. Do not forget that we are all humans, and each of us count. Bombings in Madrid, Garissa, Ouagadougou, Paris are all the same. They’re attacks on our freedom, our liberty and our humanity.

Terrorism is frightening, terrorism is to take seriously but yet do not forget that they exist because of us, because of our ideals. As many of us are afraid of it, we want to get rid to if. We need to wake up and realize, we need to fight back and demand more of our politician or we will need to take matters into our own hand.

War on Terror #1 : Will it ever end?

In Ouagadougou last week, a terrorist attack has killed dozens of people, including Leila Alaoui, one of Morocco’s ambassadors of photography. We wanted to discuss this topic in tribute to the victims of Terrorism all over the world.Let’s fight against Terrorism !

All our prayers.

 

Confronting the future was what we entirely did by discussing Artificial Intelligence. Today, we will firstly fulfil a similar function to historians. A duty of remembrance towards precedent events is compulsory. We need to know when did the war on terror started and follow its path to discuss its plausible denouement.

happyending.jpeg
Happy.

The war on Terror, as depicted by George W.Bush, was a reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Some of you may remember him holding a speech on ABC channel the 20th September 2001, but the oldest will recall Reagan using this same terms with international terrorism’s growth in the 80’s. War on Terror has taught us a lot since then, and the most momentous is the fear of the unknown. These fears that Ben Laden used to set out to bankrupt the American people. As the Western world now rushes to crack down on the money that supplies jihadists in their merciless mission, we need to find better ways to see clearly through the haze and through our fears.

Obviously, economy rules our world, and we won’t be able to destroy Terrorism if not through dollar. To know it is good, but the solutions still remain unknown. Sadly, Terrorism is expanding, compared to inaction or other policies. We should expect to to see it continue for a long time, as long as lethal technology and mass communication remain accessible to evil people. We live in an environment now that’s very conducive to that type of propaganda and recruitment efforts, as well as the ability to get materials that are going to kill people.

But – since there is always a but – movies scripts always conduct to a victory of good people. The War on Terror 2.0 is global, literally. Everyone is taking part in this fight. The biggest partake resides in the deconstruction of stereotypes against Muslim populations that is having an exponential growth. We are slowly standing up against the fears that represented a huge penalty in the past. Plus, the transfer of competences between the belligerents of our side – I say our , but if you are a terrorist fan of myreadactor… Welcome! – Has never been so illustrious. Lately, the cooperation between France and Morocco allowed the prevention of multiple potential attacks.

notinmyname.jpeg
#Notinmyname, slogan launched against ISIS’s clams of fighting for Islam.

Hopefully, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of Dragon Ball Z, Sangoku is able to beat Boo by using the vital energy of all the people on Earth. I hope that one day we will defeat Terrorism in such manner, by solidarity – but not that extremely! 😀

Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence #5 : The logistics and the philosophical underbelly.

 

AI

    It is the quest to recreate the human mind. It is a quest to recreate one of the most complicated systems to have evolved into existence. It is a quest to recreate an entity which took hundreds of thousands of years to shape, in a matter of a few years. Could it be done? Theoretically, yes; theoretically anything is possible. How about if one adds a touch of pragmatism to this idea; could it still be done? Probably yes; at least not at the same advanced level of intricacy as a human mind but certainly a less-equipped version is possible.

    Here, one must differentiate between the terms ‘Brain’ and ‘Mind’. A ‘Brain’ is a biological entity, a system that feeds on the stimulus and reacts to it, ensuring that the organism reacts to the said stimulus in a certain analytical manner. A ‘Mind’ is a higher- order mechanism. It incorporates and appends the effects of ‘time’ and ‘causality’ to the biological functions of a ‘brain’. This is where a severe complication arises; the incorporation of ‘time’ and ‘causality’ adds a tremendous amount of complexity to the system; a complexity which is arguably impossible to be implemented. What is the real problem which stops us from such an implementation? The answer is two-fold in nature. Here it goes.

1. Biology vs Technology: Is it possible to create a technologically similar system to that of a biological one when it comes to a ‘Brain’? Currently, no. The nature of cells, how they work, the chemical processes within a cell; all such processes are eventual signatures of extremely entangled processes at quantum scales – scales over which we have no control yet. We don’t even possess a majority of knowledge of such processes, despite all we have achieved in scientific advancement to this day. One must master the quantum universe, in a technological sense, if one wishes to create a mechanical system that can replicate a brain’s work. How will such a system look like, if one ever succeeds to create one? Ironically, it will look exactly how a brain looks. It will be an intricate web entangled in the quantum world processing information endlessly in a seemingly probabilistic yet definitive manner. Such is the beauty of the quantum world. This lays down the ideas one may have to follow to recreate a ‘Brain’. Now, onto ‘Mind’!

2. The ‘abstract’ aspects: It is a common mistake to append supposedly ‘abstract’ phenomenons(‘abstract’ in terms of their tangibility) to human ‘Mind’ – such as intuition, judgement, instinct, action and reaction, temporal causality and so on. The mistake lies in the very fact that such ideas are considered ‘abstract’. Are they really abstract and/or intangible? Logically thinking, not at all. We do not understand the origin of such processes since they are – in principle – macroscopic manifestations (or say, end results by means of superposition) of probabilistic nature of a set of mammoth amounts of microscopic processes. The eventual outcome of a process in human ‘Mind’ is an analytical and subconscious reaction to a stimulus based on many probabilistic solutions to the intricate quantum jumble at its foundations that the stimulus excites. These processes are biologically and subconsciously implemented by our ‘Brain’. Simply because these processes are utterly complex and majorly subconscious, we have not been able to understand or recreate them. In order to incorporate such ‘abstract’ aspects in our AI, we must understand and recreate these complex physical and mathematical quantum excitations that result from a stimulus. Could this be done; while one still hasn’t paid due consideration to the equally complex aspects of memory and processes behind memory access? The answer follows.

    The answer to the last question, in my humble opinion, is a big No. In order to understand ‘human mind’, one must use the means of such a ‘human mind’. This is the ultimate and the biggest of all ‘fundamental paradoxes’. It could have been possible if we lived outside of this paradox, but unfortunately there is no way to escape it (and hence the prefix, ‘fundamental’). We cannot unravel the entity (here, human ‘Mind’) since it is this very entity which gave rise to the thought in the first place, and all logic deductions are prone to be fundamentally biased simply for the causal arrangement that they have been processed. The philosophy of mind and the aforementioned ‘causal entanglement’ forbids and disables us from recreating a true human mind. You know who came up with the fundamentals of this conclusion: Gautam Buddha.


– Avneet Singh

 

Artificial and Human intelligence #4: Artificial Intelligence: Threat or Treat?

myReadactor1

Fun fact: according to the predictions of IBM founder Gordon Moore, the maximum processing power of computers is following an exponential growth rate, doubling every 18 months.

In other words, the best computers of June 2017 will be no less than twice as fast as today’s most efficient machines. Frightening, isn’t it? Given the astonishing power our computers are already exploiting, what future are we to face if that processing power keeps doubling every other year?

Fortunately, none of these increases should be seen as a predictor of the emergence of an artificial intelligence able to take over mankind. The human mind is an incredibly intricate organism. It is the synthesis of an utterly unpredictable cluster of billions of neurons that operate in the microscopic realm, producing random behavior in amounts no conceivable machine could be able to reproduce.

Computers might be able to execute algorithms a gazillion times more quickly than a human could, but at the end of the day it is the human who wrote that program. As an illustration, here is a problem that most humans would define as trivial: consider the following pictures.

FacialExpressions

If you think like the vast majority of the subjects who took the experiment, whose origins ranged from the US to Japan to the illiterate tribes of New Guinea (who agreed to pose for these pictures in exchange of soap and a couple cigarettes), you should have correctly guessed that the pictures correspond respectively, from left to right, to happiness, sadness, anger and disgust.

That’s great, but how did you arrive at that result? Your unconscious mind put together several experiences from the past and approximations of the sensorial input in order to determine what these strange people intended to convey. That is precisely what computers are absolutely unable to do, and shouldn’t achieve anytime soon. Approximation isn’t a term in the realm of technology and computer science. Behind that breathtaking processing power, a computer is just a bunch of lights that are either on or off. And these lights need very precise instructions to behave. Then, it appears that what appears to us as the simplest of task, recognizing others’ facial expressions, presents a herculean challenge when it comes to its computer implementation.

This example is only one of infinitely many related operations that all amount to the abilities of human intelligence, yet are far beyond the reach of artificial intelligence. Every car might one day be able to park itself, but we should be dead and buried by the time a robot laughs at your jokes, distinguishes right from wrong or falls in love with you.

The equanimity of human and artificial intelligence thus seems to belong to the realm of science fiction, at least for now. The only “reasonable” way to conceive an artificial intelligence that could not only mimic, but actually appropriate human behavior would be to reconstitute, neuron by neuron, a fully artificial human brain. This revolutionary engine would simulate every one of the billions of communications neurons make with each other at any given moment, combining at a competitive rate the infinitely many stimuli coming from the external environment to build an ever wider network of neuronal connections.

The world’s largest processing machine is actually partially dedicated to the pursuit of this incredible endeavor. IBM’s supercomputer blue gene was stretched to its limits when it managed to simulate 100% of a rat’s brain in 2007. The brain of a rat contains 200 million neurons. As a comparison, a human brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons, and with this 50000% increase in size comes proportionally more neuronal connections to take into account.  As the project grows bigger and bigger in scale, ideally reaching the size of cities as suggested by Michio Kaku in his milestone book “Physics of the Future”, we might eventually be able to simulate the human brain in its entirety by the end of the century.

Fast forward a few centuries. Assume artificial intelligence has finally attained the performance of human intelligence. Robots roam free in the world of men, gifted by the latter’s relentless efforts of reason and emotions. As this newly generated “race” replicates itself through phenomenal processes led by the leading processing machines on earth, robots rapidly surpass humans in every way. Now, let us forgo existential considerations and take a huge leap forward, millions of years later.

Earth’s atmosphere has reached untenable levels for the carbonated molecules constituting our skin tissues to tolerate. Life as we know it is no more than a chimerical tale. Yet, the one unique feature that even today distinguishes us from the rest of the living realm persists. Through artificially generated metallic organisms, we managed to transmit the very essence of human life: conscious intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence #3 : the next human ?

Is artificial intelligence just a robot? Can we consider it as a “superhuman”? If so, what makes a human considered as one? Flesh? Blood? Consciousness? Self-awareness? Many questions came to my mind when Ali asked me to write about AI. Many are unanswered and many are beyond our understanding. Either way, humanity seems to extent to more than just us.

Technological singularity is a hypothetical event in which artificial general intelligence would be capable of recursive self-improvement (here comes Skynet). That makes us quake, we are afraid of what can come with it. But why is AI so important nowadays? We all look for evolution, for perfection. We all want to be closer to God (for monotheist) or to the Great Architect of the Universe (for the more atheist). Either way, we undeniably want to create something, but not such thing as a car or a plane. At the end, we want to be God, the creation wants to create. Sci-fi, scientists, Vatican: they all agree about how AI can be dangerous. Can we accept that we are possibly not the future of humanity? That mankind is probably going to end?

sonny-sentient-humanoid-robot-will-smith-film-irobot

Stephen Hawking said: “ Everything the civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools that AI may provide”. As Ali previously said, the danger is real. More and more money are invested into this goal, from Apple’s Siri to Mercedes’ F015 concept-car that can drive itself. Now, I want to stop on one point, we keep calling AI “it”, but if “it” can process more information than us if “it” can make decisions, if “it” can talk to you, doesn’t “it” deserve to be a he or a she? From the beginning, you’ve heard about how AI can be dangerous, how AI may be better than us. But, what makes us so different?

I like to think that my actions are the result of my choices and that there’s nothing in the universe written about my “destiny”. Unlike TARS in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar we don’t have settings, we are not 90% honest because someone did it, Cooper does not fix our humor to 60%. We do have choices to make; our honesty depends on the situation.

Then there is our consciousness, our soul or whatever you call it. I will call it “something”. I personally believe and I think you do all believe that there’s something more inside of us. This makes us feel pity, love, and sadness… I call it “something” because we cannot make an algorithm out of it, we cannot describe it. And this “something” makes us so particular, and AI doesn’t have it … yet?

Artificial and Human Intelligence #2 : Are we replaceable ?

The tremendous question has always been: Will a robot be able one day to reach Human Intelligence?

But before asking this inquiry … Do we exactly know what human intelligence is? Our knowledge about this magnificent organ called the brain is progressing but a lot of things about it are still unknown. Our scope is still blurry despite new findings each year. For a long time, scientists thought that every part of our brain had a distinctive role. Specialists were usually talking about the cerebral localizationism, considering for example frontal lobes as the intelligence seat. Since then, many researchers and surgeons came up with another perception of the inner workings of the brain, stating that we must consider our brain as an all and that every cells are connected on purpose. Of course, by writing this, I am sorry to flout the general belief that we use 10 % of our grey matter. This total charade was created by the American movie industry during the 80’s and continued to prosper since then ( e.g: Lucy by Luc Besson). But sorry … I digressed!

In conjunction with this and the advent of new technologies, some people started to believe in transhumanism. Some folks tend to perceive the brain as a computer. By thinking like this, we could assume that our feelings, emotions and desires were just predicted by some complicated algorithms in our brain. Hence, with the improvement of technologies, we could speculate the fact that some algorithms could be at the same level as our grey matter. Furthermore, we have seen that some machines created by humans could become more efficient than us, giving birth to the popular science fiction fear of eventually being conquered by machines. This theory was  broadly manifested in the real world when a lot of chess masters champions were beaten by machines during the 90’s.

 

Despite all of this, could we assume that a machine could completely substitute to humans? According to M.L. Minsky, “Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by men”. Some things are not always done by intelligence, rather by instincts. Indeed, every human has different idiosyncrasies and therefore a different manner of reacting to a situation. However, a machine was not born and raised through social and other environmental pressures. It can be intelligent in certain fields, but will always base its « thoughts and emotions» on some mathematical calculus.

Finally,  a human during his life progress by gaining brain cells. One can surely accept the fact that one is smarter now than at the age of one. Human intelligence precludes and must be linked to progress. This is where I should raise the concept of honor. Indeed, when you create a machine that can think, this can be better than you in some domains. Nevertheless, its intelligence will  always be limited, fixed at a certain range and is unable to ameliorate itself as we can.

Consequently, I can’t condone the fact that artificial intelligence can and will be a great tool to facilitate our livings, but trust me, it will never replace us.

Artificial and Human Intelligence #1 : Descent into the abyss or pinky fairytale ?

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” These words come from someone who wouldn’t have been able to teach at Cambridge University without using a computer-generated voice. So, when Stephen Hawking warns you against Artificial Intelligence when he is still alive by its virtue, you better be scared.

shh.jpg
Stephen Hawking is one of Britain’s most pre-eminent scientist. Suffering from a specific disorder, Hawking communicates through a computer that generates a voice.

This isn’t Hollywood with its science fiction anymore, but rather the reality. The exponential growth that Artificial Intelligence knows is scary and crazy. The 16th February 2011, Watson, a IBM’s supercomputer, defeated world champions in a game named Jeopardy. This date signed a turning point in AI’s advance. The danger represented by a technology that can improve itself never appeared so manifestly. Giving full independence to a machine is to permit it to grow way faster than a human would do. And if something goes wrong? Can we really switch off everything?

Let’s not remain totally pessimistic. The rise of robots has a lot to offer. The chances of error are almost nil and greater precision and accuracy are achieved with artificial Intelligence. Intelligent robots can withstand the hostile environment of interplanetary space, and be harnessed for exploring the depths of oceans. iPhone users can also attest to how Siri has made their life easier.

Nonetheless, our biological nature comes with limits that can be disguised anymore. I want to ask one question : What to do with 7 billions people on Earth?  Yes, Even if such questions are not pleasing, but rather shocking, you must allow me to ask them… And, to my consternation, I must say that this inquiry is legitimate. We created technology to replace our muscles, to enhance our abilities.. But robots are able to handle tons of data and make billions of decisions in short amounts of time. There is no way a human can compete with that. To give autonomy to super machines is the risk that human race may become obsolete. Still, the tendency of using artificial Intelligence won’t decelerate, believe me. Our race is in danger.

The race is already on, in every industry. Many multinational firms like Microsoft are investing heavily in Artificial intelligence to remain on track. And surely, they are the last ones to think about the common good, in contradiction with how much control they have on the world.

Let me give you an example. Nature is familiar with exponential growths of biological organisms. The solution to face them is well known: Food. Resource availability is obviously essential for the unimpeded growth of a population. Our solution regarding Artificial Intelligence’s growth is to develop ethics in order to maintain the control on our machines.We need to show a moral behavior towards what we design, particularly regarding to the sad habit of governments to weaponize everything…

Truth is, we are still far away from jeopardy(… lol)and real potential risk. But we have to be preventive. Otherwise, we may see raptors and replicas of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminators in our streets in the next decades.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑