Wednesday 4 January 2023

The Third Magic (2023)


I have read quite a few pieces about so-called Artificial Intelligence over the past few years. Most of them have been quite unsatisfying. The best, by which I mean most thought-provoking, is an essay I have just read on the topic which was  published on 1st January this year by Noah Smith called "The third magic. A meditation on history, science, and AI" (HERE). 

An extract:

Humanity’s living standards are vastly greater than those of the other animals. Many people attribute this difference to our greater intelligence or our greater linguistic communication ability. But without minimizing the importance of those underlying advantages, I’d like to offer the idea that our material success is due, in large part, to two great innovations. Usually we think of innovations as specific technologies — agriculture, writing, the wheel, the steam engine, the computer. The most important of these are the things we call “general purpose technologies”. But I think that at a deeper level, there are more profound and fundamental meta-innovations that underlie even those things, and these are ways of learning about the world…