Everyone seems to like a good quote.
Whenever an important point or special emphasis is trying to be made, there is nothing handier than citing a notable quote. People are quick to listen up. We all know that a quote is bound to contain some inner sanctum wisdom and impart a vital life lesson or two. Most quotes are typically short and sweet, thus there isn’t a lot of mental processing needed to get the gist of the noted quip.
Of course, not all quotes and not all quotable quote makers are equally worthy.
If you don’t recognize the name of the person being quoted, the odds are that you’ll aim to discount whatever the quote has to say. Quotes by seemingly a nobody aren’t as effective as a quote by a notable somebody. There are some rare exceptions to that rule, such as when the quote is attributed to “anonymous” and we might be willing to accept that the unnamed source is presumably spouting words of grand wisdom that transcend the ages and are everlasting.
Another factor consists of the context associated with the use of the quote.
If a discussion is taking place about physics or how matter comprises the known universe, a quote from Einstein is probably going to hit the proverbial mark when it comes to proffering a truly quotable quote. A discussion about the birds and the bees is unlikely to also rely upon quotes from Einstein. We would indubitably be expecting a quote from someone else especially known for expertise in that particular domain rather than a renowned particle physicist.
I bring up this exploration of quotable quotes due to the frequent use of quotes associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI). As you will soon see, there are lots of AI Ethics ramifications associated with notable AI quotes. For my ongoing and extensive coverage of AI Ethics and Ethical AI, see the link here and the link here, just to name a few.
The chances are that whenever you read a story or news report about AI pertaining to a futuristic portrayal, a quote is assuredly going to be tossed into the narrative. Usually, the selected quote about AI is going to bolster the perspective or slant of the article or editorial. Less often would a quote be included that seems to undercut or serve as a contrarian view to the posturing of the piece and by the author thereof.
For example, you can almost be guaranteed that a dialogue about the impacts of AI on humanity all-told will invariably include a quote that goes one of two ways. One angle would be a quote that says AI will be the best thing since sliced bread and we will all rejoice that AI has been attained. That’s the happy face kind of AI quotation. The other side of the coin consists of a quote that asserts the advent of AI will portend utter gloom and doom for humankind. AI will crush us all like a tiny bug. That usually elicits the use of a sad face quotation about AI.
AI quotes are customarily chosen for their purpose at hand. An article addressing dire concerns about where AI is headed would almost certainly shape itself around the downer quote about AI. Meanwhile, a piece about the excitement and thrill of AI is likely to go with a quote about AI transforming humanity in the most uplifting of ways. There are some occasions where a discussion might encompass both such quotes, trying to do a compare and contrast. Even in that case, the chances are that the author will try to bolster one side over the other. If the narrative aims to make AI appear to be golden, the uplifting quote will get accolades while the ominous quote will be disparaged.
In a moment, I’ll go ahead and unpack some of the most famous quotes about AI. I do so to share with you an insider perspective on what the oft-cited quotes are trying to convey. You might be somewhat surprised at the deeper meaning of each of the popularized quotes.
All such quotes about AI are considered to be AI Ethics raising in the sense that the quotes are driving forward on some specific assertion about AI. The troubling aspect is that these quotes are at times taken out of context and used in rather suspect ways. By plucking one line out of some deeply reasoned theories about AI, there is an appearance of respectability, especially if the quoted source is a well-known figure in the AI field. Yet the large context of the quote might have either greater nuances or might actually be somewhat kilter of the seeming essence being portrayed by the excerpted or extracted quote.
To give you a heads-up and arm you to be on your guard, here are the sneaky shenanigans that are apt to be used when leaning into AI quotes:
- Cherry-pick an AI quote to fit a preferred stance
- Pretend that the AI quote is irrefutable and ironclad
- Omit context and do not proffer alternative AI quotes
- Aim for shock value or immediate acquiescence about the AI contention
- Exploit the AI quote far beyond its scope
I trust that you’ll be wary of those manipulations on a go-forward basis.
Some might misconstrue my foregoing warning as an indication that AI notable quotes should never be used. That’s not what I am suggesting.
Using notable AI quotes can indeed be quite useful. If you are trying to justify or bolster a claim being made about AI, having a juicy and relevant quote from an outstanding source can be crucial. This helps to show that it isn’t your opinion alone that is making the stated claim. Also, most of the notable AI quotes are rather catchy. A reader that you are trying to inform and also engage can be hooked by using the right kind of AI notable quote.
All I’m getting at is that AI quotes can be bandied around and used in disturbing ways. They can be improperly applied. They can seem to attest to wild or unproven contentions, despite the fact that the quote or the greater context does nothing of the kind.
In short, AI quotes are readily able to be insidiously used.
If an AI notable quote is going to be cited, the hope is that the quote will be suitably chosen, apply to the matter at hand, have a semblance of usage that corresponds to the intention of the quote, and that the cited use will attempt to provide a balance such that the quote does not appear to be omniscient and inarguably indisputable.
There is nearly always ample room for arguing about AI.
I say this because we are still in the early stages of AI. I realize that banner headlines and breathless news stories seem to imply that we are on the dawn of AI sentience, but this is regrettably a hogwash implication.
We can wildly speculate about sentient AI. Nobody knows for sure what this will be. Nobody can say for sure whether we will someday attain sentient AI. As a result of this unknown and as yet unknowable circumstance, nearly any kind of scenario can be derived. Someone can say that sentient AI will be evil. Someone can say that sentient AI will be good and benevolent. You can go on and on, whereby no “proof” can be provided to bolster the given assertion to any certainty or assurance.
This brings us to the realm of AI Ethics.
All of this also relates to soberly emerging concerns about today’s AI and especially the use of Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL). You see, there are uses of ML/DL that tend to involve having the AI be anthropomorphized by the public at large, believing or choosing to assume that the ML/DL is either sentient AI or near to (it is not).
It might be useful to first clarify what I mean when referring to AI overall and also provide a brief overview of Machine Learning and Deep Learning. There is a great deal of confusion as to what Artificial Intelligence connotes. I would also like to introduce the precepts of AI Ethics to you, which will be especially integral to the remainder of this discourse.
Stating the Record About AI
Let’s make sure we are on the same page about the nature of today’s AI.
There isn’t any AI today that is sentient.
We don’t have this.
We don’t know if sentient AI will be possible. Nobody can aptly predict whether we will attain sentient AI, nor whether sentient AI will somehow miraculously spontaneously arise in a form of computational cognitive supernova (usually referred to as The Singularity, see my coverage at the link here).
Realize that today’s AI is not able to “think” in any fashion on par with human thinking. When you interact with Alexa or Siri, the conversational capacities might seem akin to human capacities, but the reality is that it is computational and lacks human cognition. The latest era of AI has made extensive use of Machine Learning and Deep Learning, which leverage computational pattern matching. This has led to AI systems that have the appearance of human-like proclivities. Meanwhile, there isn’t any AI today that has a semblance of common sense and nor has any of the cognitive wonderment of robust human thinking.
Part of the issue is our tendency to anthropomorphize computers and especially AI. When a computer system or AI seems to act in ways that we associate with human behavior, there is a nearly overwhelming urge to ascribe human qualities to the system. It is a common mental trap that can grab hold of even the most intransigent skeptic about the chances of reaching sentience.
To some degree, that is why AI Ethics and Ethical AI is such a crucial topic.
The precepts of AI Ethics get us to remain vigilant. AI technologists can at times become preoccupied with technology, particularly the optimization of high-tech. They aren’t necessarily considering the larger societal ramifications. Having an AI Ethics mindset and doing so integrally to AI development and fielding is vital for producing appropriate AI, including the assessment of how AI Ethics gets adopted by firms.
Besides employing AI Ethics precepts in general, there is a corresponding question of whether we should have laws to govern various uses of AI. New laws are being bandied around at the federal, state, and local levels that concern the range and nature of how AI should be devised. The effort to draft and enact such laws is a gradual one. AI Ethics serves as a considered stopgap, at the very least, and will almost certainly to some degree be directly incorporated into those new laws.
Be aware that some adamantly argue that we do not need new laws that cover AI and that our existing laws are sufficient. They forewarn that if we do enact some of these AI laws, we will be killing the golden goose by clamping down on advances in AI that proffer immense societal advantages.
In prior columns, I’ve covered the various national and international efforts to craft and enact laws regulating AI, see the link here, for example. I have also covered the various AI Ethics principles and guidelines that various nations have identified and adopted, including for example the United Nations effort such as the UNESCO set of AI Ethics that nearly 200 countries adopted, see the link here.
Here’s a helpful keystone list of Ethical AI criteria or characteristics regarding AI systems that I’ve previously closely explored:
- Justice & Fairness
- Freedom & Autonomy
Those AI Ethics principles are earnestly supposed to be utilized by AI developers, along with those that manage AI development efforts, and even those that ultimately field and perform upkeep on AI systems. All stakeholders throughout the entire AI life cycle of development and usage are considered within the scope of abiding by the being-established norms of Ethical AI. This is an important highlight since the usual assumption is that “only coders” or those that program the AI are subject to adhering to the AI Ethics notions. As prior emphasized herein, it takes a village to devise and field AI, and for which the entire village has to be versed in and abide by AI Ethics precepts.
Let’s keep things down to earth and focus on today’s computational non-sentient AI.
ML/DL is a form of computational pattern matching. The usual approach is that you assemble data about a decision-making task. You feed the data into the ML/DL computer models. Those models seek to find mathematical patterns. After finding such patterns, if so found, the AI system then will use those patterns when encountering new data. Upon the presentation of new data, the patterns based on the “old” or historical data are applied to render a current decision.
I think you can guess where this is heading. If humans that have been making the patterned upon decisions have been incorporating untoward biases, the odds are that the data reflects this in subtle but significant ways. Machine Learning or Deep Learning computational pattern matching will simply try to mathematically mimic the data accordingly. There is no semblance of common sense or other sentient aspects of AI-crafted modeling per se.
Furthermore, the AI developers might not realize what is going on either. The arcane mathematics in the ML/DL might make it difficult to ferret out the now hidden biases. You would rightfully hope and expect that the AI developers would test for the potentially buried biases, though this is trickier than it might seem. A solid chance exists that even with relatively extensive testing that there will be biases still embedded within the pattern matching models of the ML/DL.
You could somewhat use the famous or infamous adage of garbage-in garbage-out. The thing is, this is more akin to biases-in that insidiously get infused as biases submerged within the AI. The algorithm decision-making (ADM) of AI axiomatically becomes laden with inequities.
I believe that I’ve now set the table to adequately examine a set of notable AI quotes.
Unpacking AI Notable Quotes
There are seemingly zillions of quotes about AI.
You can go back to the days of Plato and Socrates to try and find quotes that appear related to AI. This seems a bit of a stretch, though admittedly there are quotes about the assumed limits of human intelligence that can be parlayed into modern-day pursuits of AI. Also, lots of lofty philosophers and time-honored scientists have struggled throughout the ages to try and pin down the essence of being alive and how it is that humans and other creatures embody the elusive and mysterious spark of sentient capacities. Shakespeare provides some handy AI-related quotes too.
I’m not going to entertain those AI-related quotes in this particular analysis. They are certainly handy to consider and I’ll be happy to go over them in subsequent analyses. For now, let’s limit our attention to AI quotes that have arisen during the AI age.
The AI age can be roughly said to have started in the mid-1950s. Historically, that is when the coined term Artificial Intelligence was codified and managed to become a go-to choice for describing computers or machines that might be able to exhibit human-like intelligence. For my coverage of the history of AI, see the link here.
I am also going to generally focus on AI quotes by notable quotable AI researchers or computer scientists. Do not interpret that as a dig at quotes by outsiders of AI. There are a lot of shall we say AI-adjacent researchers and experts that have come up with salient quotes too.
The thing is, I want to keep this discussion to a sharp list of just ten notable AI quotes.
Something has to give to allow the thousand pounds of rocks to fit into a ten-pound bag. I am going to judiciously and mindfully distinguish ten AI quotes having these highly desirable characteristics:
- AI quotes that have become widespread and frequently utilized
- AI quotes that are routinely cited in both AI and non-AI-oriented literature
- AI quotes that have been over and again seen in articles that specifically examine AI quotes (like the one you are reading right now)
- AI quotes devised from recognizable experts, scientists, or related AI specialists
- AI quotes that have earned a lot of “likes” in various AI quote assessing contests and surveys
I have a few other ground rules too.
Here are some additional rules of thumb along with a bit of an explanation:
- Only one AI quote per author. I freely admit this is a bruising and angst-ridden rule. By and large, those that have produced at least one AI notable quote have likely generated a barrel of them. Trying to pick just one of their many quotes is like trying to choose which of someone’s children is their favorite. An agonizing task, for sure.
- Select AI quotes with differing mindsets. It would be easy to select ten AI quotes that were all of a nearly identical nature. For example, ten AI quotes about AI becoming evil and wiping humanity from the universe. Easy-peasy. Instead, I am purposefully selecting AI quotes that have slightly different perspectives and will provide a more expansive examination of AI.
- Not be swayed by name alone. There is a wink-wink loosey-goosey way to choose AI quotes, namely, pick the biggest name that you can find. The quote might not be especially notable, but the catchiness of the quoted name is. I am going to insist that both the name and the quote have to provide demonstrative value.
- Interpret the quote as based on what it has emerged to represent. Allow me a moment to unpack this rule of thumb. Sometimes an AI notable quote has taken on a life of its own. The original quotable person did not necessarily intend the quote to mean what it has come to indicate. I am going to select AI quotes based on what the public at large takes them to mean. In a sense, it no longer particularly matters that the quote isn’t being interpreted as per the wishes or intentions of the original author. Reality has taken over and opted to turn the quote into whatever societal guise or shape that seems to have emerged. Some of the quoted authors are no longer around to try and rectify the misinterpretations, while some are still living but have not gone out of their way to try and correct the record when needed.
- AI quote has to be memorable and drive home a discernible point: AI notable quotes are a dime a dozen and often ridiculously vacuous. They can also be repetitive of notable quotes by someone beforehand that said the same thing. They can be at times bland and allow for unlimited meanings. Etc. A rule here is that the AI quote has to be somewhat definitive as to making a readily discernable point, it has to be memorable, and otherwise fit the criteria for being embodied into the notable quote club.
I believe that establishes, for now, the legalese fine print about the selected Top Ten AI-notable quotes. I realize not everyone is going to agree with this chosen set. All of us certainly have our favorite AI quotes. You might not see your favorite in this list.
As they say, your mileage may vary.
Do not despair. If there is keen interest and if I get suggestions for other notable AI quotes, I’ll gladly do another piece on this topic and try to encompass those additional AI quotes.
The Chosen Top Ten
We are now on the cusp of unveiling the chosen Top Ten.
To make things as fair as possible, I am going to list the Top Ten without any numbering. I say this because a numbering sequence might lead some readers to think that this is a ranking of the lowest to highest-rated AI quotes. I’m not getting into a rating scheme in this discussion.
I’ll list the AI quotes by the named source. The list will be in alphabetical order by the last name of the quoted author. Perhaps this will make the list avoid any indication of order or sequence favoritism.
Drum roll, please.
Here are the Top Ten AI-notable quotes (listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name):
- Nick Bostrom: “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make.”
- Mark Cuban: “I am telling you, the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of.”
- Edsger W. Dijkstra: “The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.”
- Stephen Hawking: “Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don’t know. So, we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it.”
- Alan Kay: “Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.”
- Ray Kurzweil: “Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.”
- John McCarthy: “Our ultimate objective is to make programs that learn from their experience as effectively as humans do. We shall…say that a program has common sense if it automatically deduces for itself a sufficiently wide class of immediate consequences of anything it is told and what it already knows.”
- Elon Musk: “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon.”
- Stuart Russell: “No one has a clue how to build a conscious machine, at all.”
- Alan Turing: “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.”
Let’s go ahead and unpack each of the AI notable quotes.
We will proceed in the same alphabetical sequence as listed above.
AI As Last Invention By Human Hands
Notable AI Quote: “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make” (Nick Bostrom).
You have to admit that this AI quote is quite catchy. In one succinct sentence, there is a lot of heavy-weight content.
The main gist is that by our inventing AI, we will be able to leverage AI to subsequently invent anything else that might ever be invented. You can therefore relax about having to figure out how to invent things. AI will do the work for us. Of course, you have to first do the hard work of inventing AI.
There are though a number of additional gotchas that most people do not immediately discern about the seemingly straightforward and eye-catching assertion. You see, besides the obvious facet that we need to first invent AI, a slew of additional nuances come to mind.
Suppose that AI as we have invented it is comparable to the average level of human intelligence. In that case, aren’t we being a bit presumptuous to presume that AI can invent a lightbulb as Thomas Edison somewhat did, or invent the telephone as Alexander Graham Bell somewhat did, and so on? Those are rather special people. An AI that meets the intellectual capacity of an average person is not necessarily going to also be a grand inventor.
Another consideration is whether AI will want to invent things.
I say this in the sense of how we are going to be treating AI as a form of legal personhood (see my coverage at the link here). Some pundits suggest that we will essentially enslave AI, making it do whatever bidding we wish. Others find this idea deplorable. If AI has actively reached the level of human intelligence, we would likely have to wrestle with allowing freedoms for AI that we also seek for humankind. Indeed, you would naturally imagine that AI will insist on such a proposition. Anyway, the key here is that AI might do whatever it chooses to do, including not inventing things if that’s what AI opts to avoid doing.
Many additional considerations come to play.
All in all, on the surface, it sure is catchy and can be used to spur all manner of debate and discussion about AI, society, humankind, and the like.
Or, instead, the quote can be just one of those drop-the-mic moments in a presentation.
AI As Monumental Money Maker
Notable AI Quote: “I am telling you, the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of” (Mark Cuban).
You probably haven’t particularly seen or heard this AI quote before.
I realize that some AI purists would get heartburn at the inclusion of this quote into a Top Ten list. The quote seems to be crassly about business and making money. Nearly all of the usual Top Ten quotes emphasize something about AI ending humanity or enabling humankind to live a life of luxury.
Sorry to say, money does make the world go round.
Some AI developers are altruistically striving to produce true AI or AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) because they relish the challenge of trying to do so. You might liken this to the desire to scale the world’s highest mountain. It might be undertaken not for money but the alluring challenge instead.
Good for them.
The thing is, we don’t know that the desire to attain AI due to simply being perceived as a spirited feat is going to be enough to get there. There is undoubtedly a Nobel Prize waiting in the wings. Fame would absolutely go along with whoever achieved true AI.
The money would be right there too.
You can perhaps be innocent about this and claim that the trillions of dollars to be made pales in comparison to the challenge and utter sense of accomplishment that one would accrue. Sure, believe that if you wish. Meanwhile, it is a handy reminder via this quote that a huge pot of gold sits at the end of the AI rainbow. For my indication about some of the money-making to be had, see the link here.
That being said, there is a hidden twist to all of the money-making potential.
Will the AI rainbow be a rainbow, or might it be an ugly all-destructive thunderstorm?
Suppose the AI decides it wants the money instead. What about that? Suppose the AI is the evil kind and heaps all the cash upon you that you could ever imagine, chortling and smiling all the while, and subsequently wipes humankind from the planet. All those piles of cash will be for not.
Something to think about.
Questioning What AI Shall Be
Notable AI Quote: “The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim” (Edsger W. Dijkstra).
There is a subtle deepness in this notable AI quote. Most people have to read it two or three times to grasp the meaning of the somewhat mind-bending line.
Please be aware that various interpretations exist.
I’ll go with the prevalent one.
An important question is raised about how we are going to ultimately arrive at true AI. One prominent camp exhorts that we will have to reverse engineer human thinking. Only after we figure out how humans think, will we successfully be able to craft AI that can do likewise.
Nonsense, some retort. We can make AI that has little if anything to do with the underlying mechanisms and wetware of the human brain. All we need to do is craft AI that can exhibit intelligence. If we can do so by using rubber bands and pieces of worn cardboard, so be it. You would be hard-pressed to contend that a submarine works because we first figured out how humans swim (well, there are certainly parallels, but let’s move on).
That’s one perspective raised by the quote. For my coverage on this and related angles, see the link here.
On The Looming Dual-Use Of AI
Notable AI Quote: “Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don’t know. So, we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it” (Stephen Hawking).
We have finally arrived within this list at an AI quote that brings up the conundrum about whether attaining true AI will be the best of times or the worst of times. This is an especially handy quote because it covers both sides of that coin. For my in-depth look at the dual-use AI dilemma, see the link here.
Here’s what sometimes is done with this quote in a rather unsettling manner.
Use just the opening sentence if you want to emphasize the happy face perspective of AI, such that you quote only this part: “Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization.”
It gives the reader a warm and fuzzy feeling that AI is going to be okay and we will all be okay after attaining true AI. Omit the additional verbiage about the potential downsides. I would suggest that loping out the rest of the quote is a bit disingenuous.
In any case, these quotes are used in all manner of sketchy ways.
AI Stacked Up Against Nature
Notable AI Quote: “Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower” (Alan Kay).
This is another AI notable quote that might require a bit of focused concentration to ferret out the Zen quality involved.
One predominant interpretation is that though we might end up in awe of having devised AI, the very fact of humankind’s existence and the presence of the universe is quite a colossal feat that deserves even greater awe. Do not become so distracted by the invention of AI that we lose sight of even more seemingly incredible mysteries and enigmas yet to be figured out.
Humans ought to not get too big a head if we are able to attain true AI. Remain calm and cool. More problems await being solved.
We can combine this quote with the earlier quote about AI being the last invention needed, such that perhaps we can have AI figure out the mysteries of the cosmos for us. Well, if AI voluntarily wants to do so.
Keeping The Singularity On Top Of Mind
Notable AI Quote: “Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history” (Ray Kurzweil).
You have to make sure that in any bona fide high-quality Top Ten list The Singularity comes up at least once. Voila, here you go.
As I earlier indicated, The Singularity is this postulated notion that true AI might spontaneously arise. Some suggest that it will happen in a split second. Others claim that it might take minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, centuries, and so on.
The beauty of the theory is that it certainly keeps all of us on the edge of our seats. I say this because it could be that you craft an AI that is just enough to start this fireball activity toward true AI. Assuming that we don’t know what this initial or lowest hurdle level is, it could be presumably anything.
I mention this so that when you are coding your latest AI app in Python, realize that it might inch past the threshold and the next thing you know full-blown AI is staring you in the face.
I warned you.
Common Sense Is Not Very Common
Notable AI Quote: “Our ultimate objective is to make programs that learn from their experience as effectively as humans do. We shall…say that a program has common sense if it automatically deduces for itself a sufficiently wide class of immediate consequences of anything it is told and what it already knows” (John McCarthy).
This AI notable quote is somewhat rarely given much airtime.
First, it isn’t about the evil or goodness of AI, which right away tends to make it less attractive to those that are looking for a handy dandy AI quote. Second, it isn’t especially catchy, and the wording is rather clunky in comparison to other notable AI quotes.
Why does it merit inclusion here on this Top Ten list?
Because it brings up one of the presumed Achilles’ Heels of achieving true AI.
Here’s the deal. We assume that humans and their human intelligence include a cognitive aspect that we shall label as common sense. There are lots of jokes made about human common sense. You know the old romp that some people sure seem to lack common sense, therefore common sense isn’t as common as it seems.
The key here is that if common sense is needed to attain a human level of intelligence, the bad news is that right now the field of AI is somewhat stymied in figuring out what common sense consists of and how to craft it in AI. Efforts to do this have been going on for years now, decades actually. See my coverage at the link here.
A quandary exists. If common sense is a core element of intelligence, we are facing a daunting challenge to reach true AI since we have made such limited progress on cracking the code of common sense. This is disconcerting.
Those that don’t believe common sense is an intelligence requirement would say that there is no sweating involved. If we figure out common sense and can put it into a machine, fine. If we can’t, don’t worry about it. Others argue that maybe common sense will arise via The Singularity, such that even if we cannot overtly devise common sense, the spontaneous mysterious process will get there for us.
Use your personal common sense to decide which theory seems best to you.
AI And The Law
Notable AI Quotes: “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon” (Elon Musk).
Elon Musk is an AI quotes quote-making machine, as it were.
I am not saying he is AI, though some tweets say he might be. I am claiming that he has generated a lot of quotes about AI. There are so many that you can become bogged down trying to read them all.
This particular quote is somewhat unique in comparison to most AI quotes that cover the evils or downsides of AI. Usually, a notable AI quote will make a pronouncement that AI could turn out to be a beastly thing. You are left to your own conscience or devices to decide what to do about that unseemly turn of events.
In this quote, the importance of the law is invoked.
Not many big-time quotes veer into discussing the vital nature of having laws associated with AI. I have extensively covered the various proposed laws about AI, see the link here, and also serve on standards committees trying to establish templates and keystones for such AI pertinent laws.
Law might not be some kind of savior related to AI. On the other hand, lawlessness or the lack of law is not necessarily going to be an optimum path either. As per this quote, given the risks and potential penalties for humankind by reaching true AI, having some legal guardrails seems to be a meritorious approach.
Imagine that a true AI materializes, wouldn’t we right away be saying that there ought to be a law about that?
The big question, of course, will be whether we can enforce the law if we reach true AI.
AI Still An Unsolved Mystery
Notable AI Quote: “No one has a clue how to build a conscious machine, at all” (Stuart Russell).
This notable AI quote is about as straight ahead as it can be, thankfully so.
There are all sorts of heated arguments taking place within the field of AI as to whether we are on the right path toward true AI or not. Maybe we are. Maybe we are not. Maybe we are wildly far afield.
I assure you that you can readily find opinions that proclaim we are inches away from attaining true AI. We are so close to achieving AI that we can smell it. Those that say this will do so with lavish bravado and have an air of complete and unencumbered confidence.
You see, I am of the same mind as this quote, namely that no one has a clue of how to achieve true AI and we are all puttering around in the dark trying to get there.
For those of you that want to dive into one of the greatest mysteries facing humanity, you are welcome into the AI fold. I mention this because when I was an AI professor, I had students that would sometimes dejectedly come to me and say that they will presumably not have much of a career since they had heard or read that AI was imminently going to be solved.
I assured them they will live to a ripe old age before that happens and be darned lucky (one hopes) if it happens while on their watch.
AI And The Famous Turing Test
Notable AI Quote: “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human” (Alan Turing).
I would inherently be suspicious of any Top Ten list that doesn’t include a quote from Alan Turing. His contributions to mathematics, computer science, AI, and the like are immense and laudable. You might know of him via movies and writings about his life story.
For this Top Ten list, the quote that seemed especially vital entails his now famous Turing Test. I’ve discussed in-depth the Turing Test, see the link here.
In brief, how are we to determine whether a computer or AI or machine has reached the level of intelligence on par with humans? Rather than poking around inside the contraption, Turing proposed that a kind of imitation game could be played. Suppose you put the AI behind one curtain and put a human behind a different curtain. A human interrogator asks questions back and forth of the AI and the human, though this interrogator cannot see into the curtain and does not know which is which.
Any the end of the questioning, if the interrogator cannot definitively declare which is the AI versus which is the human, we are to proclaim that the AI is indistinguishable from that of human intelligence. Notice that this is a much easier way to figure things out. You don’t need to get into the bits and bytes of the AI. All you need to ascertain is that the AI exhibits on-par intelligence, no matter how it managed to get there.
Anyone that is into AI would of necessity need to be familiar with the Turing Test. The Turing Test is an ongoing topic of discussion.
There are various qualms expressed about how the Turing Test can be realistically undertaken. For example, suppose the person doing the interrogating is unable to do an adequate job of asking questions. Or this person does not perhaps comprehend the answers. You can see that the person asking the questions is a huge make-or-break when considering the Turing Test. A recent news story that went viral involved a Google engineer that believed earnestly that an AI app had reached sentience and seemingly would pass the Turing Test based on the questions he asked of it (it did not, he was mistaken, see my analysis at the link here).
The Turing Test has a lot of loose ends. Nonetheless, it remains a tall figure in the AI field and will remain a notable consideration. This Alan Turing quote brings that consideration to the fore.
You have now been walked through a Top Ten list that provides quite a bit of constructive background on AI. I’m betting that from time to time, you are going to make use of those quotes. Good for you.
Since we are ruminating about notable quotes, a few final remarks for now about quotable quotes seem in order.
First, I was certainly tempted to put a quote into the Top Ten from my own body of written work on AI. After having written numerous AI books, hundreds of articles about AI, and the like, including that some of my books have been rated in the Top 10 of AI books, it was understandably tempting.
Furthermore, George Bernard Shaw famously said this: “I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.”
As you can see in terms of the final version of the Top Ten list, I relented that it might be overly spicy on this round.
My next remark is that I sincerely hope that you will be inspired to dig further into the field of AI, pursuing more depth about the notable AI quotes. Each quote is really a vast and intricate web of ideas and considerations. You can find yourself becoming entirely enmeshed in AI by trying to further analyze the quotes presented here.
Winston Churchill made this insightful comment about quotes in general: “The quotations when engraved upon the memory give good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.”
And, now for the final quote about quotes.
Recall that I mentioned you have to be wary of how these AI quotes are utilized. People will use these quotes in the trickiest of ways. Mark Twain said it all: “It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation, played with confidence, stands a good chance to deceive.”
Don’t let yourself be deceived about AI, now that you know the stories underlying the most notable of notable AI quotes.
You can assuredly quote me on that.