I have pretty low tolerance of BS. The hot topic of AI bothers me a great deal, because it is being discussed by too many ppl who have no context. It is becoming just another buzz word rolling off your tongue to make you sound sophisticated and smart. But no, AI is neither magic nor intimidating. I think it is a great example for human being to looking at things with a straight face, cut to the core, no more BS, no more hand waving and using some abstract, ideological fuzziness to fool ppl.

    At least 20 years ago I have read a line about artificial intelligence, which cleared formed my view on this — There are two ways to define intelligence:

    1. Machine emulate human's train of thoughts, and derives the same conclusion.
    2. Machine ignores your human brain, finds its own way, and arrive the same conclusion.

    The key is, the final result is the same. So how can you distinguish the difference? does process even matter? If we both doing math, 4 x 8, human uses multiplication, you know what? computers know nothing about multiplications, to it, everything is an add, period. It will add these numbers that many times, but much much much faster than any human can do. For human, single digit has shortcuts, double digit multiplications takes a paper and pen, and when you are talking about a 12737-digit number multiplying another 28787-digit number, forget it. Computer is going to win, hands down, every, single, time. You know why? because to computer, 4x8 is the same as 29837497972 x 980987574009, same method, same logic, repetitive of the same action.

    That's the beauty of it, isn't it? If you just look at this example closely, you will start to realize this isn't even a need for debate — the core of multiplication, or the true concept of multiplication, is addition. So putting the same lens over Alpha Go and its recently victories over all top players, I think it is exactly because the computer implementation of Go cuts down the BS around this game, which was used to be thought being an art of Zen, so philosophical, so hard to master, hard to comprehend, and the players are all god like beings. Well, here it is, computer engineers, as being a group of dumb and unsophisticated and simple-minded beings, looked at this game and said to themselves:

    "What is this empror wearing?"

    And this same line of story has been playing all over the human history. In speed, in energy, in any physical strength arena, we human have already accepted defeat. The only cover left for our pride is the so called intelligence, and losing this is making us feel uncomfortable. This is unnecessary at all. Just because no one has ever been able to decipher and define clearly what human intelligence is, it doesn't mean we are superior to machine. I actually think this progress in defeating the Go game is a wonderful lesson for human, for anyone who likes and enjoys to wrap themselves around with mystery so to feel good. If the empror is naked, so he is. If it looks great but no one can explain, it is nothing but a willingness to make yourself believe in.

    Alpha Go, just like addition vs. multiplication, gets us one step closer to what the core of Go is, after thousands of years of zen-ing of self-addiction. This is not only a feat of computer engineering and so called deep learning or AI or whatever fancy words you know, this is a giant leap for Go itself — machine is a challenger, a pile of cold-blooded emotionless solid-state electronics, a kid who shouted out "Look he is, naked!" Multiplication is a must in math concept, it has its use in many many ways. When machine derives the same answer by brute-force addition, it is not cheating, it is not intelligent either. It is merely anchoring the truth of that concept so human don't forget.

    Human intelligence, AI, same deal, no one is superior to the other. There is difference in efficiency, and there is difference in how objective one versus another. If someone loses his game, not because the machine is smarter, but because the group of ppl behind those machines are not satisfied with the given answer, and wanted to think deeper of inherited truth. Computer, just like any other mechanics and electronics human invented, are just tools to make the work more efficient. Tools don't crack the code, we do; computer doesn't make decisions, the writer of that if-else line do.

    # FACT: is he naked
    if have_clothes_on:
        naked = False;
        naked = True;
    # OPINION: does he look good
    if i_like_it:
        looking_good = True;
        looking_good = False;

    Here, computer identifies two variables representing two completly different dimensions. This is just my simplified view of the world when looking at the empror. If you mixed the two in your head, wow, it's a Dao, a Zen, a culture, a you-can-only-feel-it abstract, and that is when you start saying "how wonderful his new gown looks!"

    — by Feng Xia


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