– Vladimir Semenovich, let me ask a perhaps naive question: do we really need artificial intelligence so much? What didn’t please the human, natural intellect? Or is it the desire of scientists to invent, the desire to create something new and get the Nobel Prize?
We really need artificial intelligence (AI). It turns out that the natural intelligence, that is, the natural human brain, simply cannot cope today even with the elementary tasks that a primitive calculator can easily solve. Yes, a person is able to calculate something in his mind, knowing the multiplication table. But how fast?
So says Paul Sharre, vice president and research director of the Center for a New American Security. He published an interesting book, which was published in the United States at the very end of February – “Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.
- What is this book about?
- Sharre is a strategic planner, worked in the office of the US Secretary of Defense. He participated in the development of the use of unmanned and autonomous systems and new weapons technologies, and determined Pentagon intelligence policy. serious specialist.
Charré explores how international competition for the most powerful technology, artificial intelligence, is changing global power dynamics. According to him, the outcome of this struggle will determine the next world superpower.
What arguments does he give?
- Very persuasive. He argues that the battle for AI power will revolutionize the global military and economy. He was recently interviewed in Insider on the issues reflected in his book, which concludes on four key battlegrounds of global competition: in the field of artificial intelligence or data; computer or computer hardware; human talent; institutions necessary for the successful implementation of AI systems.
Probably, first of all, he means the military advantages of artificial intelligence?
– Yes, and he specifically talks about the military conflict in Ukraine. He candidly admits, “I think it’s likely that the US Department of Defense and the intelligence community will use AI to analyze satellite or drone imagery, and while they won’t publicly admit it, it is possible that this plays a role in the information that the United States shares with Ukraine. We have seen other examples of AI technologies being used directly by Ukrainian forces on the ground, including some civilian drone operators. We also see in the war in Ukraine the importance of logistics, for example, and maintenance operations, and that is that the main part of what the army does on a daily basis is to move people and things from point A to point B – it’s very similar at Walmart or Amazon. It is a place where the army can improve its logistics, preparation, finances, personnel and maintenance.
So far, that doesn’t sound very convincing. A diligent graduate of the Academy of our – and any – General Staff can draw you any logistics on a detailed map in an hour. Yes, and you, in general, are familiar with the algorithm for solving this problem. Moreover, this decision can be original, non-standard and even witty. Why do we need mechanical brains?
– That’s the whole point – the speed of making the right decision. Yes, a person will find a solution – but when, how quickly? How long will it take to discuss, agree with the authorities, to check certain options? Measure the distance on the same map with a curvimeter? Even just to count something in your mind or in a column? And often everything is decided at times.
Charré advances this argument: “As for military achievements in the field of war, there are also several examples. In the DARPA Alpha Dog competition, the goal was to create an AI agent capable of achieving superhuman performance in a simulation against a human in aerial combat. The AI did well, went up against an experienced Air Force pilot and completely crushed the human pilot 15-0 – the human didn’t fire a single shot against the AI.
In particular, one-on-one shooting is effectively prohibited in human pilot training because there is a high risk of collision if the pilot tries to maneuver the plane while you are racing at hundreds of miles per hour. . And in any case, it’s extremely difficult to do and requires a superhuman level of precision, but all this was no problem for the AI agent. He can fire those shots in a split second while avoiding collisions. And the AI agent learned to do it on its own – it wasn’t trained to do it. The winning AI system was simulator-trained and had over 30 years of simulated flight time. It’s one of the things she’s just learned on her own in all these years of simulated aerial combat.” That’s the whole point of AI – a universal soldier.
- Impressive. But artificial intelligence isn’t just necessary in times of war, is it?
“Here is what Sharre says: “There are a lot of places where AI can have a pretty big impact on economic productivity over time. For example, special applications that can improve finance, medicine, transportation or other industries. Self-driving cars need to be at the stage where they are truly efficient and viable on the roads. The use of AI in medicine, for visualization, such things can be very useful for the whole society. But one of the most exciting things about AI is its ability to improve performance in a wide variety of places.
- And what can artificial intelligence do for an ordinary bachelor?
A lot. US experts say AI isn’t actually intelligence – it’s prediction. With larger language models, there has been an increase in the machine’s ability to predict and execute the desired outcome. Thus, Paul Sharre believes that “AI has great potential to bring benefits in various sectors, including education, health and the fight against climate change. For example, FireAId is an artificial intelligence-based computer system that uses forest fire risk maps. In healthcare, AI is being used to improve patient care through more effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Improved efficiency also reduces healthcare costs. In addition, artificial intelligence should radically change – and ideally – improve the care of the elderly.
And what is very important is that artificial intelligence protects people from crime, that is, it keeps ordinary people safe. Charré cites the Chinese experience: “China has half a billion (!) surveillance cameras in the world, and they are increasingly using artificial intelligence tools such as facial recognition or gait recognition to determine who people are based on their paces and how they walk. And in conjunction with other types of data, such as license plate data, calls or geolocation data on phones and behavior of ‘buying people, to follow Chinese citizens.
China exports most of its technology overseas, which is why 80 countries around the world have purchased Chinese surveillance technology.
- Are these artificial intelligence police superpowers threatening basic human freedoms? Will Big Brother be watching us now?
There are such concerns. But this requires not only technological limitations, but also a carefully designed legislative framework. After all, AI, as perfect as it is – even if it is self-learning in itself – is a soulless mechanism devoid of the concept of morality, religion and ideology. All these properties are invested in it by the developers of the program. In other words, the hatred of Russia or, say, the United States or China could well be integrated into the electronic brain of the AI. And here, alas, all the responsibility lies with the human developer.
Agree, it does not matter that the MP-40 submachine gun (incorrectly called “Schmeisser”) was produced at a factory in Nazi Germany. What matters is in whose hands it was. It’s one thing – at the hands of an SS man shooting peaceful ghetto hostages. The other is in the hands of the Soviet partisan.
- It seems to me that you are very pessimistic about the great minds who create artificial intelligence…
The writer Zoshchenko once said: “In order not to think badly about people, it is better not to think about them at all.”
And yet, can artificial intelligence suddenly one day rebel against its creator – a man?
Are you referring to a Hollywood blockbuster on the terminator? You won’t believe it, but I personally don’t rule out the so-called “rebellion of the machines”, as fantastic as it is.
And the same Paul Sharre talks about it: “Microsoft and Google recently publicly deployed artificial intelligence chatbots that were not ready. And the problem isn’t that Bing declares its love for users and says anyone who chats with should let their wife be with them – I mean, that’s kind of weird.
Alright, that’s really weird. Your laptop in all sincerity invites you to live with him instead of his wife. How not to go crazy?
But here I agree with the same Charre who comments on this predictable horror: “For me, this is something that should make us think when we think about how we use these AI systems in more real applications . Right now, the risk of a chatbot hurting someone’s feelings doesn’t daze the world, but as we see AI embedded in apps with bigger implications, we want to make sure these systems will do what we get.
This is, again, it all depends on the developer.
- The outlook seems, to say the least, not sunny. What do the American experts suggest?
– Unlike you, Americans are not so tragic. Don’t take Hollywood productions seriously.
The same Sharre happily said, “I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic about the technology. I mean, I’m pretty optimistic about where AI is going in terms of capabilities. I just think we are seeing tremendous progress and I don’t think there are any signs of it slowing down in the near future. But there are many risks associated with AI. I would simply say that I am optimistic about the company’s ability to deal with these risks.
– The approach to the problem is thoughtful and serious. Do you agree with Sharre that artificial intelligence is opening a new era in the life of mankind?
Like it or not, that’s how it is. It is important for us to ensure that AI does not become a new weapon, like nuclear, which would affect the balance of power, but a tool for creation. We already have a way to destroy each other and, in particular, ourselves. Let’s think about how to save us all. Maybe artificial intelligence will suggest the right algorithm?
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