by Valentin, January 29 2022, in random

AI is automation of mental tasks

AI should be called MA, for Mental Automation. The AI hype seems to be convinced that anything a human accomplishes with his brain is smart, but a lot of mental tasks don't require intelligence. For example, recognizing whether a picture contains a bird or not is a mental task (because it is achieved by our brain, and not our hands or feet), but it doesn't require intelligence; it's just a function our brain is able to do. If you needed to be smart to resolve a Google reCaptcha (which is training Google AI), not many people would be able to sign up on websites. AIs from big corporations are trained by crowd-working jobs in the likes of the ones on MTurk. Those are not jobs requiring particular intelligence (even though they call it Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs)). Those are jobs in which you perform stupid mental tasks all day long.

The industrial revolution automated physical tasks. The AI revolution, assuming it is a revolution, is automating mental tasks. Even though AI is presented as a sort of deeper revolution than just automating stuff, in reality its impact is no different than the one of the industrial revolution: freeing the mind from performing stupid tasks by relegating those tasks to machines.

The boundary between "just a mental task" and "something that requires intelligence" is of course blurry, and most importantly, it is evolving with our own intelligence. Just as doing mental arithmetic have been at some point in history something regarded as an intelligent task, it surely lost a bit of this reputation as soon as calculators made their apparition. Surely there are fields which we currently consider to require intelligence (maybe programming), which might become automated once we figure them out a bit better.