Note — Apr 25, 2021

Robots Are Animals, Not Humans

Kate Darling just came out with a book and this article-length teaser is very good. Starting from how animals have been used to augment ourselves, she goes on to explain how our obsession with creating AIs based on our own brains and then wanting / fearing our replacement is misguided, we should think of that kind of intelligence as other, with its own strengths and benefits. AI to help and augment. A recurring theme here, and always for me the most sensible and intriguing direction.

Despite the AI pioneers’ original goal of recreating human intelligence, our current robots are fundamentally different. They’re not less-developed versions of us that will eventually catch up as we increase their computing power; like animals, they have a different type of intelligence entirely. […]

Rather than artificial intelligence being a step on the path to human intelligence, it can and will be something entirely its own, and this means that, just as we’ve done with animals in the past, we’re at our best when we team up. […]

[T]he main thing I want to argue is that, contrary to our tech-deterministic beliefs, we actually have some control over how robots impact the labour market. Rather than pushing for broad task automation, we could invest in redesigning the ways people work in order to fully capture the strengths of both people and robots. […]

[I]t’s striking how much of our conversations mirror speculative fiction rather than what’s currently happening on the ground. […]

[W]hen we broaden our thinking to consider what skills might complement our abilities instead of replacing them, we can better envision what’s possible with this new breed.

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