An impressive feature of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is the technology’s ability to provide computational power to create cognition in machines. Yet A.I. critics today have become concerned that many artificial intelligence projects are centrally controlled and therefore producing “Narrow A.I.”


SwissCognitiveUnlike human cognition, narrow A.I. is not conscious or driven by emotion. Rather, narrow A.I. operates within a pre-determined, pre-defined range, even if it appears to be much more sophisticated than that. Virtual assistants like Google’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa exhibit examples of narrow A.I. While these A.I.-based systems are able to communicate with users and answer questions, these machines are nowhere close to having human-like intelligence.

According to Arif Khan, V.P. of Marketing at SingularityNET , centrally controlled A.I. projects led by large tech companies have resulted in the creation of narrow data sets, which could be harmful for the future of artificial intelligence.

Let’s say Facebook wants to develop A.I. algorithms. These data sets will never be disclosed to a competitor, as it is in Facebook’s best interest to keep this information private. In turn, Facebook would never have access to data sets from their competitors. Moreover, the data sets that Facebook builds upon would contain private information, most likely to be used for their own benefits to drive shareholder value,” Khan explained. “Yet if Facebook created an A.I. for optimizing shareholder value, users would get a pigeonholed view of society. For example, humans might share fake news, resulting in Facebook getting very narrow applications. If you just have narrow data sets, narrow machines will be created that might not benefit the overall good of society.”

For example, in 2016 Microsoft launched an A.I. based Twitter bot named “Tay” as an experiment in “controversial understanding.” Microsoft noted that the more users chatted with Tay, the smarter the bot became, learning to engage with humans through “casual and playful” conversation.

Unfortunately, conversations with Tay took a turn for the worse when Twitter users started tweeting racist remarks at the bot. Tay, being an A.I.-based project controlled by a central authority, started to repeat these sentiments back to users. This is an example of the impact narrow algorithms can have on society.

Creating Diverse Data Sets With Blockchain Technology

Unlike artificial intelligence based-projects, blockchain technology creates decentralized, transparent networks that can be accessed by anyone, around the world. While blockchain technology is the ledger that powers cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, blockchain networks are now being applied to a number of industries to create decentralization. For example, SinguarlityNET is specifically focused on using blockchain technology to encourage a broader distribution of data and algorithms, helping ensure the future development of artificial intelligence and the creation of “decentralized A.I.”[…]

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