Nerd Talk: AI To Become More Like Kirk, Less Like Spock

Don't Worry, Robots Still Coming For Your Job

May 22, 2018



Scrolling through the /r/Formula1 subreddit like I do on the daily, I came across a Ted Talk from a dude in Portland talking about how machines will soon augment our brains to help us break out of our little thought boxes and find new ways to create magnificent feats of engineering, art, and other junk.

Nerd Talk: Five robots that can take your day job

Sure, they're gonna take a lot of jobs, but it's gonna be soooo cool (/s). Here, check this dude out:

TL;DR Highlights

Nerd Talk: See more nerdy stuff and listen to the Nerd Talk Podcast

There are a lot of things he said casually in here that we're gonna need to get more info.

  • "At some points, AlphaGo programmers didn’t understand why AlphaGo was doing what it was doing."
    That, like, sounds so fun when it's the crazy board game Go, but when the question is why the AI is lasering all the humans above the 45th parallel and we don't know why, it's a bit less awesome!
  • "Computers are going from being like Spock to being a lot more like Kirk"
    lol Star Trek reference. Computers are transitioning from passive logical processing to snap decision making without our intervention. Let's say the machine goes like this: humans are killing the planet... - kill the thing killing the planet killing the humans... *lasering* - there, humans, we saved your planet from you! Humans? Hoooomans?! Extreme, I know, but how do we regulate the machines in the next generations from understanding this. It's not simple.
  • “Ok, there’s certainly a  fear that robots are going to take jobs away from humans and that is true in certain sectors…”
    Then he moves on about what he’s interested in. And I get it, dude isn’t on the Ted Talk stage to dwell on the robots taking our jobs, but his description of how they'll augment us scares the bejeezus out of me. He describes a construction project where some processes are better for robots and others are better suited to humans - as laborers -  but in the end, an AI divvies out the jobs. It’s in charge “telling the humans what to do, telling the robots what to do…” This is troubling. Sure, it may actually slow down our job loss, but is not pretty. How will we develop as a culture or as individuals when we're putting the design, intelligence, and control into the hands of machines?


  • "Go from making people want stuff to making stuff people want."
    Our entire entertainment system (tv, internet, print, radio) is all based on selling you a product you "don't know you need but you gotta get it." It always has been, but as we exit the information age, the hangover from that involves the destruction of the ad-driven entertainment world. The change is going to be bananas, but hopefully, it's because we transition manufacturing to creating things you want.
  • "You could work with a computer to solve a problem that we've never faced before, for instance, climate change... we're not doing a very good job on our own we could certainly use all the help we can get."
    In an age where scientists overwhelmingly agree about the data collected for climate science, we still don't have time to analyze the data points without AI being employed to discover things we'd otherwise overlook. When a dude or entire segment of the government yelling "fake news" about climate science without offering literally any data analyzed response, we need well formulated, data backed science to stand up.
  • It's quite easy to go further down the "are we totally f*****?" Ted Talk rabbit hole (I did), and without a ton of planning, none of it looks too promising for, you know, humans. All I can suggest is that we join the party and start learning about machine learning today. Here's a free intro to AI course that a university in Finland offers. Good luck! Hopefully I don't run into in the AI run "labor" team in the future!

Here, freak yourself out a bit more!


Listen to Nerd Talk from May 22