What does intelligence feed on? From observations, contexts and judgments, grouped under the modern name of "data". Their quality is decisive in the results that an intelligence, whether human or artificial, will be able to deliver. Where artificial intelligence stands out is in its ability to process large amounts of data, accumulated over long periods of time, by millions of viewpoints, sensors, sensitivities, which no human is capable of at this scale.
Tycho Brahe was convinced that observation took precedence over reflection. Thinking from false or fuzzy data results in false conclusions, lame theories and unsatisfactory explanations. So, at a time when there were no telescopes, he focused on the accuracy of astronomical measurements to the point where he was able to demonstrate that there was no "celestial vault". From there, he shook the whole theological edifice and paved the way for Kepler to use reliable data and prove that the earth was not physically at the center of the universe. Artificial intelligence has this same potential, to take us out of an anthropocentric worldview.
The reliability and accuracy of data is the basis of its performance. Attributing the exact time, position, measurement, context and source of a piece of data is part of the fundamental definition of "truth". Any "fake" consists of an alteration of one or more of the characteristics of an observation. What a judgment, a conclusion, when it was produced and by whom is a second level of data and allows for attribution.
Creativity also depends to some extent on the quality of the data. What distinguishes a touching work from a shapeless vomit is the consistency of the relationships established from the data. Drawing a la Van Gogh implies having good data on Van Gogh. It seems that A.I. is approaching a definition of creativity. Assigning the right sources and context is part of qualifying the data and using it successfully.
We keep our expectations low when it comes to using A.I. in education. When the object of learning is well defined and the paths to get there are well marked out then A.I. works miracles. But this is not so in all areas, especially those where "schools of thought" clash.
Personal coaches are starting to be offered: for your speech, presentation, physical fitness, psychological fitness, studies, etc. "Tell us what you want to achieve and we will support you, systematically.". Connected watches will soon know everything about us, everything that can do us good or harm in the pursuit of our goals or those who control the data, companies, governments or ... parents. Parents can monitor their children and an A.I. can assist them. "Your child has visited a contentious site", "Your child is out of bounds", "Your child seems depressed", "Your child has not done his homework". Fortunately, schools are not allowed to monitor their students in this way. Who collects and controls the data is at the heart of the ethical and social issues around A.I.
This edition leads us to consider the advances in A.I. Happy reading.
Denys Lamontagne - firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustration - Created with the "Ocean of Data" prompt on mage.space