Why Artificial Intelligence isn’t Intelligence

Published Wed., 15.03.2017 – 10:00h | Updated 15.03.2017, by Marcel Urech | excerpts by Alexandra Jagnow

In Zurich the experts in IT and the financial industry have met for the Finance 2.0 conference. The dominating topic throughout was Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI was referred as an important ingredient for the entire finance industry, said the speakers. Only one speaker fell out of line: Pascal Kaufmann explained, why the various AIs are actually not intelligent. 

Pascal Kaufmann presents at the Finance 2.0 Conference in Zurich’s Schiffbau hall.

Today at Schiffbau Halle Zurich the fifth edition of the Finance 2.0 conference took place. The largest fintech-event in Switzerland focused on topics such as digital identities, artificial intelligence and the consequences of the EU guidelines PSD2. The main theme of the event was how to handle interfaces to clients. The organizer of Finance 2.0 is Financialmedia, editor of the business publication “Punkt”.

The entrepreneur and neuroscientist Pascal Kaufmann gave the keynote presentation, opening the conference. He addressed the question, whether the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was actually just a great story for businesses to increase revenues eventually. The founder and CEO of Starmind Inc. presented the following theses: 

  • There is no such thing as AI yet. Currently, AIs is nothing more these days than “humans inside a box”. Mr. Kaufmann’s quote was inspired by the Mechanical Turk, a chess machine built in 1770 that pretended to be intelligent but was actually operated by a hidden human inside. The machine has many resemblances to today's AI technology, directed by a human hidden inside the box. Today’s AI is often simply human intelligence tinned or imprinted into computer source codes.

Copper engraving by Racknitz, 1789. (Source: Wikipedia)

  • Deep Learning has nothing to do with intelligence. Since the introduction of the Perceptron in 1957, the first artificial neural network, not much has happened. Despite the billion times more computing power available to all scientists today there have been little conceptual advancements. According to Mr. Kaufmann, Deep Learning is simply the current fad.

  • We need to become Cyborgs to keep up with the machines. People should expose themselves to new technologies, embrace them and test them out. “If you don’t like change, try irrelevance,” reinforced Mr. Kaufmann. Translated freely this means, that those who are not open to change, become irrelevant quickly.

  • According to Silicon Valley, to solve all the world’s problems we just need more computing power, stated Mr. Kaufmann. This hypothesis is completely wrong. The next breakthrough in AI will very unlikely come from the billions of dollars invested in Deep Learning, but rather from researchers and entrepreneurs who seek to unlock and extract the operating principles from the brain itself, people who want to crack the brain code.

  • On the other hand, technologies like the Hololens have an impressive future, states Kaufmann. The “Human Worker 3.0” will work from home and rely heavily on technology. The “Employee 4.0” will be a robot. “As a result we should gain a lot of free time,” expounded the passionate neuroscientist.

This article was first published in German on March 15th 2017 at www.netzwoche.ch. Here