Artificial intelligence, fascination and dehumanization ...

From the mechanization of gestures to the mechanization of intelligence

In the industrial world, man has replaced and then erased repeated human gestures. The mechanization then the robotization of manual tasks has gradually replaced what was not judged as qualifying and which it seemed simple enough to reproduce, to do it in the place of "the hyper-specialized worker". This was clearly an economic gain and an increase in efficiency within the industry.

SNo one thought that mechanization could ever replace repetitive or computational intellectual tasks, so much so that until now it seemed inconceivable to replace man. However the machine is gradually colonizing the tasks which required a high level of expertise or qualification.

This is how one of the largest American firms, BakerHostetler, has set up a program to support the work of advising lawyers, this mission was until now reserved for young graduates. This artificial intelligence (AI) is not a search engine, it does not provide a list of texts, but seeks an appropriate answer developing legal arguments based on extracts and examples of concrete cases. In addition, the question can be formulated orally so in natural language and the answer is immediate, basically this AI saves a resource person dedicated to this research.

In the 80s, and at the beginning of my professional activities as a consultant, I used paper to align my figures, the data from surveys, and it took an infinite time and undoubtedly very expensive for our clients, very quickly solutions IT systems have emerged to capture and process survey data.

Over time and time, computer programs have become more sophisticated

Over time and over time, computer programs have become more sophisticated, also making it possible to understand the analysis of texts (verbatim). In the 2000s, I had used within our research office specializing in the analysis of socioeconomic data, a program that allowed the automation of analysis tasks. This program offered new perspectives of analysis to lighten the tasks of the study managers, by proposing the automation of comments, broken down into the production of results in the form of tables.

Thus computer intelligence has also set about the mechanization of intellectual tasks, high-level tasks. The designer of the tool then told me that, according to him, it was a question of freeing the researcher to allow him to attend to more rewarding tasks, to devote himself to consulting activities bringing added value to his clients.

Today, computer intelligence has decided to take an interest in and then tackle both the complex tasks administered by human beings, and finally the modeling of human behavior. We have thus moved from the mechanization of gestures to the mechanization of intelligence. A new era is emerging that of AI.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is thus a method that combines both computing power and mathematical algorithms.
The invention of the concept of "artificial intelligence", we owe it to John Mc Carthy (Mathematician (1927-2011), he is the designer of an evaluation algorithm playing a major role in the programming of artificial intelligence. ), a mathematician who is one of the pioneers of the device of “evaluation” algorithms used in programming. Particularly inventive John Mc Carthy is the author of a new type of computer language which has made it possible to formalize logic and reasoning in the form of an instruction program.

AI is thus a method that combines both computing power and mathematical algorithms, computing power to solve highly complex problems.

In the media AI is often described as a replica of the human brain, often defined as a form of cognitive imitation of human faculties.

Reduced to imitation, AI remains a modeling artefact of the human brain.

Imitation or replica, hasn't the man always had the dream of Pygmalion, or that of Mary Shelley in Frankestein or the modern Prometheus, to create this other self, an upside down narcissus who contemplates his creature with pride? Is it the creator who has genius or the creature? If it was enough to give knowledge to a computer for it to become Mozart or the Beatles, are we creating geniuses, or pale cold processors, capable of producing series of notes? This would be the height of narcissism: to create a robot that replicates Mozart! At the same time, a series of probability calculations, is that the real genius, the one who touches the soul? If we could create “Bach robots”, the human ego would be flattered, but the “genius” cannot be calculated… nor even programmed, it is a series of accidents, collisions, pains and loneliness that give birth to geniuses.

But we will return critically in the writing of this column to the very notion of AI, we will support and argue our reservations in the sense that a power of calculation cannot be assimilated to the faculty of thinking, of discerning. However, it is necessary to return to the emergence of this concept of AI and to understand how it fascinates scientific and even economic circles so much.

In 1955 as reported in the article Interstices,

“Newell and Simon designed a program (Logic theorist) which automatically demonstrated 38 of the 52 theorems of the Principia Mathematica treatise by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell (1913). This is a major and extremely impressive result for the time, since for the first time a machine is capable of reasoning. This program is legitimately considered to be the very first artificial intelligence in history. A few years later, Newell and Simon will generalize this approach and design the GPS - General Problem Solver - which makes it possible to solve any type of problem, as long as it can be formally specified by machine. At the same time, other researchers will clear the fields of machine translation, robotics, game theory and vision. "

The fields of investigation of AI by capillarity will therefore extend to a multitude of scientific fields, of social and economic dimensions making it possible to cover infinitely complex fields and which apparently touch on " intuition to creative capacities Of the human being.

On this register of AI the computer computer Alphago had beaten in March 2016 Lee sedol, one of the best GO players in the world, becoming the first program to beat a player ranked at maximum level (9th dan professional).

The specificity (or the singularity) of the Alphago device is to use a computer language, algorithms which allow it in particular to reinforce the self-learning of the machine.

This is what makes it possible to underline the dimension of AI developed in this machine which would thus be partly endowed with "intuition and creativity".
To sum up and keep it simple, this is what makes it possible to underline the dimension of AI developed in this machine which would thus be partly endowed with "intuition and creativity". The quotation marks here underline our caution, technological components have no equivalent with the intuition and creativity of a human being, even if man does not have the calculation capacities of the machine, he remains endowed. of spirit and creativity, which seems to me to be unique to man. The machine swallowing only programs and instructions communicated by man. The AI ​​has I repeat, neither soul, nor spirit, nor even intuition and not more discernment and sensitivity.

An AI can indeed calculate a probability of events, choose between events a possible orientation, which is the case with a GPS which calculates a route, possibly recalculates it by taking into account circumstances, even unforeseen events such as traffic jams. or accidents. But nevertheless, the GPS remains incapable of judging and evaluating, because judging and evaluating is to appeal to reason in its function of discernment taking into account the state of fatigue of the driver, free will, his mood, management time, eagerness or not, the desire for a detour, a stopover, a visit. But can an AI have discernment, be endowed with a systemic vision that takes into account desire, mood, need? An artificial intelligence accomplishes by definition only mechanical tasks, which come under deductive logic, but devoid of any intuition and any real thought.

In this context of the mechanization of cognitive faculties, could human beings allow themselves to be dispossessed by the machine, to allow themselves to be dispossessed of their reason, including their own consciousness?

The excesses of artificial intelligence

Scientific progress and technological fallout are the result of a "given" transmitted by God to his creature. But if the advances of human genius are astonishing, they do not surprise us because of the very intelligence shown by humans to transform matter, combine and invent from the elements that make up the planet.

Some imagine that medical diagnoses could be made by machines
In this perspective, the industrial world has continued to evolve, industry is in fact today dominated by automation, just as it will be tomorrow by AI. The robots come to assemble, screw, weld, move components, manufacture elements! In the medical field, some imagine that medical diagnoses could be carried out by machines endowed with capacities infinitely more powerful than the human being.

In his last encyclical Laudato'Si, Pope Francis offered a reading of the progress made by humanity but the prelate issued a form of alert:

"Scientific progress, the most extraordinary, the most astonishing technical feats ... if they are not accompanied by genuine social and moral progress, ultimately turn against man ».

On the same note of concern, scientists like Stephen Hawking and computer science professors Stuart Russel, MIT professors Max Tegmark and Fran Wilczek have sounded the alarm following the latest developments in AI.

"AI could be the worst mistake in human history"

Others like Microsoft's father Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, associated with several scientists, have expressed their deep fear, indicating that « AI could be the worst mistake in human history »... "These computers could become so proficient they would kill us by accident", in a way one more step towards transhumanism, the cherished dream of the Google company. In any case, this is what the famous physicist Stephen Hawking said in a column for the British daily. The Independent.

In Stephen Hawking's eyes, we would be blinded by progress and innovation, we would have ignored the "ethical" limits and safeguards necessary for the development of such a technology.

So do we have to worry about the developments and new forms that this ape figure of AI takes? First of all I would like to clarify to our readers that the fruit of this high-tech conception is the epilogue of human intelligence, therefore, the genius here is purely human, the designer of Alphago: Half Hassabis.

The grain of sand and artificial intelligence

Nevertheless it should be noted, like the reflection shared by Stephan Hawking, the need to finally have some reservations about the development of a society whose social organization would be entrusted to technicality alone. Jacques ELLUL Protestant theologian, already cited in numerous chronicles published by Info Chrétienne, author of several books on technicality recalled that technique in all its dimensions is no longer a docile instrument, a simple means : "It has now taken more or less complete autonomy from the machine": obeying his own laws, Jacques Ellul thus underlines that technicality will become (has become) the principle ofOrganisation of all our societies.

The many essays on technicality, written by Jacques Ellul were almost premonitory

The many essays on technicality, written by Jacques Ellul were almost premonitory, today we must also be aware in this register of the invasion of machines and AI, that the trading rooms are dominated by mathematical algorithms , buy and sell orders are passed through machines. The computer machine in the trading rooms has thus acquired its own autonomy and in no way protects the world from probable slippages and stock market crashes as was the case during the flash crash of May 6, 2010. What Caroline Joly reminds us Associate researcher at the Institute for Socio-Economic Research and Information, from which we quote an extract from one of her reflections on artificial intelligence and increasingly sophisticated computer systems.

"In doing so, ... computer systems with AI ... adopt behaviors that are difficult to predict and therefore risky. As these robot traders are all connected to each other in a network, in a global and computerized financial system, their actions - whether they result from an encoding error or whether they are fortuitous - can therefore contaminate the entire system, in a chain reaction beyond human control. This is exactly what happened during the flash crash of May 6, 2010 ”

We extracted the quote from Iris Research.

It was the grain of sand that seized somehow the mechanics of artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence, robotization of society and social consequences.

A new generation of robots is emerging and should have increased learning capacities, and autonomy, in addition to the comminatory development of AI what is needed also worry is the alarming development of robots with AI.

The end of the XNUMXth century and the beginning of the XNUMXst century saw the virtual automation of industrial environments, whose repeated actions previously performed by operators are now performed by machines.

In Communist China, industrial decided in 2015 to entrust all manufacturing and assembly tasks to robots, only highly qualified technicians and engineers who provide maintenance and programming tasks will be maintained.

Elsewhere in Japan, a factory has entrusted its parts assembly line to humanoids. Robots that would sort of make 3X8s, a company that would no longer fear the threats of strike, human failures due to his holidays and other illnesses.

Note the very " humanists "From the management of this Japanese company who wish to entrust the machine with menial tasks in order to" release »Workers for rewarding tasks.

"We want to free man from menial and repetitive tasks so that he can concentrate on creative work that generates added value."

Behind these apparently virtuous and intentional speeches, several thousand jobs have been cut.

Behind these apparently virtuous and intentional speeches, several thousand jobs were cut in these factories and it is indeed there, the cynical, cold and impassive reality of the industrial world pressed by economic efficiency and the worlds of digital economies, digitization, the generalized computerization of society.

In his book Capital, Karl Marx, indicated that the reduction of the working day would be the fundamental condition for the liberation of man. Marxist humanism then had a very critical conception of the relationship between man and machine, basically in this Marxist thought, the fulfillment of man, his development could not be made possible and would only be ensured if the machine freed man from the "alienation" that industrial tools made him suffer.

In the same spirit, the philosopher Simondon indicated that he “ had to allow man to watch the machine to repair it instead of being its auxiliary, to be forced, to be subjected to its rhythm ". However, we see ourselves here a whole shift in society which advocates the development of a digital economy, of robotization which will come to free man from the subjugation linked to tasks deemed alienating and non-fulfilling.

In fact we are nuanced regarding optimism " humanist By Marx.

In fact we are nuanced regarding optimism " humanist By Marx. Thus the replacement of man by machines capable of performing repetitive tasks to free him and then allow him to devote himself to more rewarding or intellectually superior tasks seems a priori legitimate. Ideally, it would even be admirable, but the school system takes the opposite path, that of leveling down, more and more students in third and fourth, precisely no longer know how to do simple arithmetic operations and build a structured thought. In addition, and it is worth emphasizing this other reality, hundreds of thousands of people without the required qualifications are unable to take up highly skilled jobs. During my professional life I have met companies that told me that they were no longer looking for operators with a CAP level, but operators with a BTS level.

So the reflection which would consist in thinking that a minimum universal income could be a solution to imagine to respond to the problems of a civilization freeing man from the constraints of industrial universes would be just nonsense. Work is indeed socially structuring even if it is not always rewarding like the arduousness that sometimes characterizes the world of work. But knowing how to be on time, discipline oneself, take responsibility, the world of work teaches us ... Will the machine freeing man teach him this dimension of social life ... we ask an essential question that he should be explored at a time when we are witnessing an increase in violence within society!

Robotization like universal intelligence will ultimately infer the disappearance of human activities

We hear mocking speeches to denounce technophobic positions

However, we hear mocking speeches to denounce technophobic positions and put them into perspective. So technophile speeches defend the development of the digital economy, ultimately suggesting that there is not much in common with the world of robotization. But it is indeed the same world. If indeed the digital economy will induce additional production jobs by eliminating intermediary activities, it is very likely that robotization will ultimately infer the disappearance of the human activities that it had generated. We explain it through this simple example to demonstrate the absurdity of the digital economy.

So the Uber company which has been widely contested and disowned by taxi companies and then the subject of multiple comments in all the media, offers an urban carpooling service making it easier to use a car with a driver without having to resort to a company taxis. The development of such an urban carpooling activity will necessarily have negative effects on jobs at the headquarters of taxi companies, but there will be, according to optimistic and carefree defenders of the digital economy, " in total, more positions in the profession of driver ».

Thus, according to the same supporters of the digital economy, employment in transport will be developed and of greater added value. Certainly, but in the long term this argument does not hold and we can finally imagine the non-utopian development of vehicles without drivers, these famous Google Car tested at the level of certain countries.

These concepts of driverless cars, equipped with AI have had other technological extensions, technological concepts that have thus seen the emergence of buses and shuttles without drivers.

The marriage of robotics and AI opens up and offers fascinating but disturbing perspectives.

The marriage of robotics and AI opens up and offers fascinating but disturbing perspectives, thus teams of engineers make their machines explore the environments in which these machines will have to evolve, environments (roads, factories, warehouses ... ) explore them freely by learning from their failures until learning the right path, the right movement. Engineers are also working with these machines on self-learning capabilities by mimicking the workings of a human brain. The results are there, the danger posed by AI, which could take precedence over humans is real but questions the absurdity of this company which would entrust the fate of humanity in the hands of robots " humanoids ».

The development of AI forms office government and begins a dehumanizing degeneration that alienates man.

However, the development of AI evolves to a large extent with the development of the normative and bureaucratic dimension of our society. This normative dimension takes over the whole of society, installs a strong and dominant relationship of technicality in the search for solutions to the detriment of reflection and intelligence. and heart. In a way, the rationalist development of society via the norm, a new form of catechism, induces its absorption by the machine; it feeds the AI… The standard becomes in a way the rational nourishment of the AI… The proof, if need be, lies in the “time” spent by those whose profession was more anchored in relationships, in intelligence and who oblige themselves because they are required to, to spend time in front of their screens to fill in notes or consult the machine to validate the choices that would have to be made. A technicist society, a society which little by little is dehumanizing itself in order to enhance the screens, the tasks of the bureaucracy and that soon to bean AI that will become the government of offices tomorrow, the product of a degeneration which alienates man.

Artificial intelligence remains an inert, lifeless program, without the capacity to create and generate

"To be intelligent is to do good"

When I was a young student, I questioned a friend finishing his psychology studies and I questioned him asking him what he thought intelligence meant, his answer was simple but amazing, it made me point out the essence even of life. “To be intelligent is to do good”, another quote in the context of our reflection which joins the previous one is that of Jiddu Krishnamurti:

« To know is, not to know, and to understand that knowledge can never solve our human problems, it is intelligence ”.

Basically all our thinking on AI and like the two previous quotes, in a way makes us think of a very old mythology "the dream of Icarus". The whole mythological story of Icarus derives from that of his father Daedalus.

Daedalus was an Athenian craftsman whose name meant "the ingenious". For having betrayed his protector the king of Crete, Daedalus and his son Icarus were locked in the same labyrinth that he designed several years before. Any escape by land was totally unimaginable, to escape it was necessary to devise another stratagem. They designed the famous Ariadne's thread, then to escape through the areas of the place where they were locked up, they respectively fixed wings to their backs by means of waxes but with the recommendation not to rise too high for fear. let the heat melt the wax. Icarus disobeyed this recommendation recalled by his father, stunned, intoxicated by his new power, he rose towards the sun. As he approached, the wax on his wings melted, and he was thrown into the sea.

The wings are the symbol of the flight, of the intangible a bit like the digital world, of the rise towards the divinity, but to pretend to approach the tops of the virtual world, one ends up descending, and by descending quickly. from its pedestal.

As a friend wrote to me “For 20 or 30 megabytes of memory, we can download photo editing software, and turn any portrait into a Cézanne painting, when we are not Cézanne! The exploit of the computer scientists is remarkable, it must be admitted, but after all, Cézanne had to inspire them with the idea, that neither they nor their computers would have been able to find! - and Cézanne, he was a human being, neither AI nor robot… ”

AI is therefore not intelligence but rather a performance, is not reason but a rational process; a technology endowed with a power of calculations and combinations, but which remains in reality an artefact. The artificial is in fact neither capable of generating nor of growing, the artificial is a production but far from the living world, the artificial is an organized body of knowledge, knowledge, programs, the artificial will depend on always of its author but has neither soul, nor life, nor even discernment.

So there is a fundamental difference between AI and a human being.

Thus there is a fundamental difference between AI and a human being, taking our inspiration from the philosopher Kant, by analogy, we could say that a machine cannot give life to other machines: "In a watch, a part is the instrument of the movement of others, but one cog is not the efficient cause of another cog; one part is certainly there for the other, but it is not there through this other part ”(Quote from the, Critique of the faculty of judging Kant). Kant's vision is thus far from a purely mechanistic vision, from a materialist vision, the living for Kant organizes itself, the living has its own spontaneity, its own project. The human being cannot be reduced to a form of gear, the human being is free to move, without being determined or programmed.

Kant thus reaffirms the very essence of man as the bearer of a project: the human being is indeed an organized being, organizing itself. The philosopher thus thought that the model of the machine could not imitate certain characteristic properties of life (such as self-organization, the ability to repair itself, to self-regulate), but certain cybernetic machines (such as the thermostat) are also capable of self-regulation, But here again, these machines can only do so within the framework of prior programming which results from the intervention of the designer of the thermostat.

However, AI results from programming even if the power has been given to the machine to learn self, AI owes its existence and its programming only to the inventiveness, to the know-how of an engineer, quite simply of a human being.

The human being endowed with conscience is not thus a machine, an inert matter, a humanoid, the man is an organized being which organizes itself, capable of care, of generating, capable of sensitivity, of to be moved, to transcend oneself, to surpass oneself and to recognize the existence of the Creator. But by trusting in the machine without conscience, the man risks to plagiarize François Rabelais to ruin his soul.

 Eric LEMAITRE the author of this column thanks Bérengère Séries for this vigilant rereading and his contribution to this reflection, also thanks Charles Éric de Saint Germain, philosopher and author of the book “Philosophical-theological writings on Christianity” for the nourished exchange enriching this column.

Eric Lemaitre

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