Jaron Lanier Explained Why Artificial intelligence Is Impossible In Only One Sentence

The Terminator robot
(Photo : Getty Images) BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 09: The Terminator robot is seen in the paddock following qualifying for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.

Many write off artificial intelligence as science fiction but some are working hard to make it a reality, even with a looming fear of a "Terminator" scenario.

But according to Jaron Lanier, the computer genius and author of "Who Owns the Future?," we don't have anything to fear.

In one sentence in an op-ed by Mareen Dowd in The New York Times, Lanier explained why that artificial intelligence doesn't exist and right now, it's impossible to create. Dylan Love at Business Insider was the first to spot this and report on it.

"We're still pretending that we're inventing a brain when all we've come up with is a giant mash-up of real brains," he said. "We don't yet understand how brains work, so we can't build one." 

Love wrote that Business Insider bolded that last sentence because "it pretty much explains the predicament for AI. Until we more fundamentally understand that which we're trying to clone, everything else is an impressive attempt up Everest that never totally summits."

He also pointed out what cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter said about IMB's pursuit of artificial intelligence called Watson, which won the trivia game show "Jeopardy!" 

Watson is basically a text search algorithm connected to a database just like Google search. It doesn't understand what it's reading. In fact, "read" is the wrong word. It's not reading anything because it's not comprehending anything. Watson is finding text without having a clue as to what the text means. In that sense, there's no intelligence there. It's clever, it's impressive, but it's absolutely vacuous.

In her column, Dowd wonders if communication between computers can be translated and aggregated amongst them, why can't similar processes be done with, say, doctors? In theory, if those computers were gathering data on physicians, would they then be able to simulate them?

Lanier doubted that.

"People are unwittingly feeding information into the Cloud for automated services, which they're not being paid for," Lanier said. "I don't like pretending that humans are becoming buggy whips. You have this fantasy that it's machines doing it without people helping. We are throwing people out of work based on a fantasy."

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