miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2015

Algorithm weaknesses are the guarantee for the continuation of human being activities

There's a growing sense of defeat among human beings. We are living the current age as the age of the rise of the machines, each day we read a piece of new about the automatisation of a human activity. Whether we think in an activity based on mere routines or based on creativity, we feel that sooner or later machines will perform our duties better than us. The full digitalisation and the disappearance of bank branches is an example of the former. Among the later, we have examples on how computer-generated reporting is threatening traditional literature and journalismThe final fear is that human beings will be redundant in all the activities.

Without any doubt, Google is the main symbol of the automatisation of our daily life. 40,7% of the world population uses the Internet and has a daily experience of Google search algorithm. A shine of hope came to our lives some months ago when we discovered that the Google algorithms are not perfect. We hope that we have discovered the tip of an iceberg of failures with the case of the tagging of the images of black people as gorillas or the cases of gender discrimination in Google ads. Both cases show the limits of automatisation, there are spaces in sorting activity where we need an extra dose of activity or a moral judgement that algorithms are not capable to perform.

Sorting and classification are the base of automatisation. Internet giants are constantly looking for improvements in their sorting and classification algorithm. For instance, Twitter acquired a few months ago the machine-learning startup Whetlab in order to obtain new abilities to organize the tweets. But the weaknesses of sorting and classification algorithms also open a window of opportunity for human activity. Apple is turning to human beings in the search for help to run the last mile of sorting and classification in its news service.

Algorithms are not perfect. That fact makes automatisation an imperfect activity that will need the support of human beings for its continuous improvement, As continuous improvement, either for machines or living beings, is the cornerstone for survival, it is quite difficult to think in a total rupture of the link between machines and human beings that will mean the total redundancy of our specie. It would be again the most elemental of artificial (and not artificial) intelligence: the search for self-preservation.

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