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Robert Osazuwa Ness

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No, Machine Learning Does Not Make Understanding Obsolete

Posted by Robert Osazuwa Ness on Apr 26, 2019 12:16:31 PM

Handing off decision-making to predictive AI would be catastrophic

You may have caught the following article trending on Medium recently:


The fact that this article is trending is a bad thing. It is a sign that we are inching closer to another AI winter.

The author David Weinberger’s central thesis is:

  • Humans endeavor to gain an understanding of complex systems. However, the predictions we make based on “human understanding” is not as accurate as those of AI, which don’t truly understand anything.
  • However, AI’s predictions are more accurate than predictions based on human understanding.
  • Therefore, we should abandon our pursuit of understanding, and focus on building the AI that can make the decisions for us.
  • Handing over the reigns to predictive AI will usher in the next stage of human evolution.

The fourth point seems like more of a conceit for a transhumanist sci-fi novel than an argument and Weinberger doesn’t provide support for it, so I focus here on deconstructing the first three points.

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Topics: AI, machine learning

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