With iPhone X Shipping, the Competition Can Just Throw in the Towel

| Particle Debris

Page 2 – News Debris For The Week of November 6th
Scary Robots from Apple?

One of the memes when it comes to AI, something that science fiction writers have foretold, is that machine intelligence might become very hard for humans to fathom. It’s already starting to happen.

DeepMind’s new self-taught Go-playing program is making moves that other players describe as ‘alien’ and ‘from an alternate dimension.’

Here’s the story at The Atlantic. The AI That Has Nothing to Learn From Humans

Factory robot

Old school from SciFi.

Meanwhile, without additional comment, I refer you to: “A robot that once said it would ‘destroy humans’ just became the first robot citizen.

Is Apple wise to steer clear of robot/android technology like Sophia? Or should Apple get into the game with so much competence and care that it can drive the scariest competitors out of the market? Or will all robots, from any company, fall into a uniform, uncomfortable pattern, mimicking each other? Jumping into the competition would be a major investment and decision by Apple, much more stressing than the Titan car project.

Sophia from Hanson Robotics

New school. Sophia. Image credit: Hanson Robotics.

The merging of AIs and robots/androids presents such a massive social convulsion, it could consume the entire resources of a company, even one of Apple’s enormous size. For example, what if competitors used advanced AI techniques to endear the robot companion to children? Knowing what we know now, that’s likely possible. How would Apple respond? Meanwhile, ponder: “Should Children Form Emotional Bonds With Robots?

Finally, do we need robot companions to protect us from other malevolent AI entities? Now there’s a market opportunity for entrepreneurs. Do you doubt that’s necessary? Are un-augmented humans a match for even a modestly comptent AI? (Think fake news taken to an even higher level.) Check this out. “Counterfeiters are using AI and machine learning to make better fakes.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weekends.

One Comment Add a comment

  1. wab95


    I’m in between conferences and continents, so time for only a quick comment.

    AI – because, why not?

    You’ve got a variety of issues in your line up of this topic to choose from, so let me settle on just this one; so-called ‘intelligence’ of AI. There is an interesting read from the WSJ this week on this topic, whose title gives away its conclusion, ‘Without humans, artificial intelligence is still pretty stupid’ https://www.wsj.com/articles/without-humans-artificial-intelligence-is-still-pretty-stupid-1510488000 . Worth a look.

    It addresses some of the very topics addressed in your lineup, like ‘Go’ players. One standout quote from the piece, ‘Whether it’s wining at games like Go or keeping watch for Russian influences operations, the best AI – powered systems require humans to play an active role in their creation, tending and operation’.

    I couldn’t agree more.

    More to the point, we continue to confuse ‘intelligence’ however defined (which most articles and debates fail to do) with that other quintessentially human characteristic, aspiration, which informs our motives, ambitions and therefore actions. That a thing may be able to rival, mimic or even surpass human intellect on a given task does not translate into that thing aspiring to, or having ambition for, everything else humans do, and therefore acting in that very human, competitive way, for dominance, control or worse.

    Until we see, without intervention or manipulation from a human, an AI independently asserting itself, by choosing its aspirations and survival over that of its human creators, as we humans would, I see no reason to lose a nano-second’s piece of mind or pixel’s worth of print, on our would-be AI overlords. There is far more reason to be concerned with how we humans will manipulate AI to do harm to humans, with or without intent.

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