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Why AI is a Deeply Human Endeavor

AI is an art, symbolizing humanity's intellectual journey to higher forms of being.

Most of us think of AI as robotic, mathematical, soul-less. The truth is, AI is an art, driven by our uniquely human curiosity. That same curiosity that drives us to explore our partners, the universe, and nature.

AI is also happening right now, it’s not some futuristic might-be scenario. In fact, literally billions of people are using AI every single day. For example, YouTube uses Deep Neural Networks, a field in AI, to recommend videos to 2+ billion users. Google Search services even more people with AI-driven search results.

These Neural Networks, the basis for most of today’s AI breakthroughs, are modeled off the human brain. Our brains are highly-complex, interconnected networks of neurons, or neural networks. We have digitized our rough conceptual understanding of neural networks, and combined this with state-of-the-art computing to one day (hopefully) surpass human intelligence.

Indeed, this drive to build intelligent machines is a primal human instinct, a curiosity we wish to satisfy. MIT mathematics professor, Zhiwei Yun says this:

“We are all driven by curiosity, and the beauty of the subject itself.”

This quote by Ben Medlock, the co-founder of SwiftKey, an AI-driven text-prediction engine, shows that our human instincts drive our intelligence:

The “basic imperative of bodily survival in an uncertain world is the basis of the flexibility and power of human intelligence.”

Objectively, AI is a mathematical attempt at replicating intelligence, but does using our biological intelligence to create synthetic extensions make those extensions any less legitimate than the originals?

AI learns from data, so once we, as humans, create a superintelligence, it would quickly surpass the limits of what we built into it, and become its own being. Of course, once we talk about superintelligence, we enter the realm of conjecture.

Nonetheless, the parallels between humans and AI, or art and AI, are astonishing:

“Art is magical, but it’s not magic. It’s a neurological product, and we can study this neurological product the same way we study other complex processes such as language.”

Charles Limb, neuroscientist

You could replace “art” with “AI” and “neurological” with “mathematical,” and it would hold true. In fact, researchers do study language to create better forms of AI, such as Natural Language Processing applications that attempt to understand and replicate human writing.

“Art is the transforming experience.”

Joseph Campbell

Finally, this quote can also be used to describe AI. How often do we hear of AI as “transformational”? And it’s not just empty words – AI is being used for things like saving dogs’ lives and growing more food.

Those are just a couple of the problem statements bitgrit, an AI company, is working on. We see AI’s transformative potential as closely linked with its creative nature.

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