Janez Demšar: “Artificial Intelligence Is Just a Game of Figures”
The Številke blog has posted an interview on artificial intelligence with Janez Demšar, a professor of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Sciences.
Artificial Intelligence Is a Computational Process
Ordinary people, being under the influence of film industry, often think that artificial intelligence will destroy humanity. However, experts look at it quite differently. Janez Demšar says, “We know what is behind the scenes. Just figures. The whole artificial intelligence is just a game of figures. The artificial neural networks, on which the Google currently works, are just a great plurality of numbers, which are multiplied, computed and compared. This is all that is behind the scenes. For me, the artificial intelligence is a computational process only and nothing more.”
Blood and Murders on your Screen Make the Brain Run Faster
However, the Slovenian scientist is in no hurry to blame the Hollywood. On the contrary, he even rejoices that thanks to the cinematography, the artificial intelligence is more frequently discussed. “We live due to these projects, so we are happy with their popularization. Although, films probably exaggerate everything too much. A few days ago, I was listening to the psychologists, who explained how the negative news, blood, and murders excite the brain. Therefore, this is the way the media displays the artificial intelligence,” the employee of the Department of Artificial Intelligence assures.
Problems of Artificial Intelligence Are Practical
One of the main goals of artificial intelligence was to create a machine that will replicate human thinking. Now this goal is relegated to the second place. “Earlier, the artificial intelligence was really defined like this. At that time, they said that a certain machine could be smart if it did the same things as the sentient beings, that is—all of us. Today, the goal of artificial intelligence is more practical. We are currently less engaged in the philosophy of artificial intelligence and much more in the practical use of it, “Janez Demšar describes the evolution of artificial intelligence.
E-mail Spam Filters Also Relate to the Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence increasingly penetrates into the modern life. The width of its application, according to Janez Demšar, is of great scientific importance, “Any technology has practical value only when it remains unnoticed by us. Nowadays, we notice the artificial intelligence more and more seldom. However, this is for sure a matter of determining what we generally call the artificial intelligence. Let us look at the e-mail spam filters: the program checks appearing words, each word has a certain weight, and then these words are computed and multiplied. Moreover, if the final number exceeds a particular limit value, the system sends such emails to spam. Is it an artificial intelligence? Yes, it is! We call this the naive Bayes classifier. Can a spam filter be intelligent? Not anymore, though 25 years ago, we would have answered differently. What we call an artificial intelligence, such as a self-driving car that overtakes pedestrians, today seems to us the top of the technical thought. And just in 20 years, it will seem self-evident.”
Human Brain and Artificial Intelligence
There is an eternal obstacle on the way of creating an artificial intelligence, which would correspond to the level of development of its most advanced cinema prototypes. This is a unique structure of the human brain. Janez Demšar told about his visit to the University of Manchester. “There they showed me a small tile, 20 of these tiles made 1 box, and in total there were 3 such boxes. They told that those boxes consumed a lot of electricity. Then I was told that they would use those boxes to close one of the walls. The amount of energy that one box would use was huge. Later, they said that they would thus simulate only 1% of the mouse brain. So today only the Google or other large companies can afford the most advanced artificial intelligence. Human brain is a complex machine.”
Is There Any Artificial Intelligence at All?
The teacher answered the questions from readers and listeners of the Številke blog. Reader Nick was interested whether the artificial intelligence existed at all. Nick claimed that he supported the theory of “solid” consciousness, according to which, each worm is smarter than any computer. Janez Demšar agreed with that statement, “Whatever a computer could calculate, for it that would be just a figure. It can say, “It will rain tomorrow”, but in reality, it does not know what it has just said. It will only generate sound. I agree with that and I personally hold an opinion that a computer cannot essentially be smart, but it’s more of a philosophical issue.”
Computer Science Should Be Taught in Secondary Schools
Janez Demšar stands for teaching Computer Science in secondary schools in Slovenia, “I would like to say that I support not so much teaching as thinking. Computer Science involves a system of thinking, which is most clearly expressed in algorithms, the issues of data and procedure organization. This is what we should take into account today — to teach thinking. In programming you will need a computer, and this is also useful, because it forces you to organize and express your thoughts clearly.” Together with his wife, he has developed the Vidra system, which will be part of the Computer Science teaching systems.