Wednesday, April 04, 2018 / Perth Australia / By Niekie Jooste
In this edition of "The WelderDestiny Compass":
Artificial intelligence is one of my favourite topics, as I am sure you know if you have been reading The WelderDestiny Compass for some time. In fact it was one of the main topic we covered in the very first issue. (Click here if you want to read it again...)
In the last while, there has slowly been a lot of news gathering around artificial intelligence. (AI) On their own, each of the stories is interesting, but when one starts to connect them together, a more ominous bigger picture starts to come into focus. A bigger picture which may just hint at the real driver for the Trump trade war.
Today we look at the latest AI news stories, and try to "follow the money", rather than just looking at the rather odd politics playing out at the moment. It also hints at where we should try to focus some of our attention in the coming years.
If you would like to add your ideas to this week’s discussion, then please send me an e-mail with your ideas, (Send your e-mails to: email@example.com) or complete the comment form on the page below.
Now let's get stuck into this week’s topics...
Here is a list of the news stories:
Are you seeing a picture developing, or is it just me?
A "true" artificial intelligence is one that can learn all by itself, without any help from humans. In essence, such an AI will be able to learn how to improve itself.
The thing with such an AI, is that the speed at which it could learn and understand the world and improve itself will be exponential. Its capabilities will very rapidly become so advanced that no human will really be able to understand exactly how it works and thinks anymore. Not even its programmers.
While this might conjure up a spectre of "the rise of the machines" as seen in the terminator movies, this is a rather unlikely outcome. While the AI will have huge abilities and knowledge, it will not necessarily be "self aware". The idea of self preservation will not be something that it starts to pursue. It will just be very good at analysing data and turning that into very useful information and technology.
Such powerful AI's will be at the forefront of medical research, climate science and a host of other really complex fields. They will make their "masters", the masters of the technological universe. Including their law enforcement, spy and military masters!
Given that the improvement and growth of AI will be so rapid, the organisation with even just a 6 months lead, has the potential to dominate all complex technological fields in the foreseeable future. Everybody else's AI will always be 6 months behind, trying to catch up. In the world of exponential growth, 6 months is a lifetime.
In this race, the first organisation / country to develop a true AI has the potential to be the world power for the next 100 years.
It is important to understand that such powerful artificial intelligences do not stand alone in a corner and "do their thing". They feed voraciously on data. They need high speed broadband networks to carry that data. This is where the 5G network suddenly becomes so important in this race. They need a lot of sensors to pick up that data and send it to them. That is what makes the internet of things, (IoT) cloud computing companies and social networks so important.
A few weeks back we took a look at the trade wars that were threatening to break out. (Click here to read that issue...) We concluded that a trade war will not bring jobs to America. In other words, placing a tariff on steel imports to the USA would not bring more jobs to the USA. We thought that there must be something else happening behind the scenes. Maybe just a negotiating tactic.
Well, since then, the USA rhetoric accompanying the call for tariffs has changed somewhat. It has changed to China being an unfair trading partner, because its trade practices in effect strips intellectual property out of the American market and injects it into the Chinese market. In other words, China is growing its technology base at the expense of the USA.
It starts to become clear that the bigger picture is about technology leadership, not jobs. After all, China is no longer the low cost producer it was just 10 years ago. It is now becoming the high technology producer, just like Japan, Taiwan and Korea became the high technology producers after their rapid economic expansions. The problem is that China is potentially a much bigger economy than the USA, when we look at the size of its markets and depth of their human capital.
In addition, it appears that China has taken a very closely contested lead in the AI and high speed broadband markets. A lead, that if it can extend it far enough, could win the AI race.
I may be making a lot of wrong connections here, but I am not the only one to start thinking in this direction. It looks like the Trump trade wars is just a way that the USA is trying to disrupt the technological leadership of China in this very critical stage of the AI race.
This dynamic once again cements the importance of securing your own data as much as possible. We need to find ways of making sure that we keep control of our data, instead of giving it away for the pleasure of messing around on a social network platform.
As soon as is practical, start to migrate to decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) platforms where you can gain control of your own data. The welding industry is one of those fields that has the potential to generate huge quantities of real time production data on welding. Data that could be aggregated with a lot of other data and become very valuable.
In the world of AI's, data is the new oil!
Yours in welding
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Do you think that the current trade wars is just a side show to the AI wars? If AI is going to be such an important technology, how should we prepare ourselves? Please share your stories, opinions and insights regarding today's topic.