"At the time A.I. comes back and tells you that we have then achieved artificial general intelligence and you should be very anxious or very excited depending on your point of view, "said Dr. Tegmark. "The reason I honestly work on it is that what I find most threatening is when we're overpowering A.I. and have no idea how it works – right?"
"A dialogue between man and machine"
Dr. Thaler, who founded the new institute at the M.I.T. directs, said he was once a skeptic of artificial intelligence but is now an evangelist. He realized that as a physicist he could code some of his knowledge into the machine in order to then give answers that he could interpret more easily.
"This becomes a human-machine dialogue in a way that gets more exciting," he said, "instead of just having a black box, they don't know how to make decisions for you."
He added, "I don't particularly like to call these techniques 'artificial intelligence' as the language masks the fact that many A.I. techniques have strong foundations in mathematics, statistics and computer science."
Yes, he noted, despite all his training, the machine can find much better solutions than him: “But in the end, I can still decide which specific goals are worth achieving, and I can strive for ever more ambitious goals when I do know I can precisely define my goals in a language that the computer understands, then AI can provide powerful solutions. "
Recently, Dr. Thaler and his colleagues fed a volume of data from the Large Hadron Collider to their neural network, which smashed protons in search of new particles and forces. Protons, the building blocks of atomic matter, are themselves sacks of smaller units called quarks and gluons. When protons collide, these smaller particles spurt out in jets, along with any other exotic particles that have grown together from the energy of the collision. To better understand this process, he and his team asked the system to differentiate between the quarks and the gluons in the collider data.
"We said," I'm not going to tell you anything about quantum field theory. I'm not going to tell you what a quark or a gluon is on a fundamental level, "he said." I'm just going to say, "There's a mess of data here, please separate it into two categories." And it can. "