Headline, February 19 2024/ ''' MIND -ALGORITHMIC- MINE '''


 MINE '''

IN 14TH CENTURY IBN KHALDUN AN ARAB SCIENTIST AND SCHOLAR laid the first thought on ''artificial intelligence'' by chronicling the use of prophecy wheel, followed by the 20th century Russian mathematician Andrey Markov.

Andrey Markov, whose probability analysis of letter sequences in Pushkin's '' Eugene Onegin '' also constitutes a fundamental building block of generative A.I.

In '' Literary Theory for Robots,'' author Dennis Yi Tenen's playful new book on artificial intelligence and how computers learned to write, one of his most potent examples arrives in the form of a tiny mistake.

Tenen draws links between modernday chatbots, pulp-fiction plot generators, old-fashioned dictionaries and medieval prophecy wheels. Both the utopians [ the robots will save us ! ] and the doomsayers [ the robots will destroy us! ] have it wrong, he argues.

There will always be an irreducible human aspect to language and learning - a crucial core of meaning that emerges not just from syntax but from experience. Without it, you just get the chatter of parrots, who, '' according to Descartes in his ''Mediations,'' merely repeated without understanding,'' Tenen writes.

But Descartes didn't write ''Mediations''; Tenen must have meant ''Meditations'', the missing ''t'' will slip past any spell-checker program because both words are perfectly legitimate. This minuscule type doesn't have any bearing on Tenen's argument; if anything it bolsters the case he wants to make.

Machines are becoming stronger and smarter, but we still decide what is meaningful. A human wrote this book. And despite the robots in the title, it is meant for other humans to read.

Tenen, now a professor of English and comparative literature in Columbia, used to be a software engineer at Microsoft.

He puts his disparate skill sets to use in a book that is surprising, funny and resolutely unintimidating, even as he smuggles in big questions about art, intelligence, technology and the future of labor.

I suspect that the book's small size - it's under 160 pages - is part of the point. People are not indefatigable machines, relentlessly ingesting enormous volumes on enormous subjects. Tenen has figured out how to present a web of complex ideas at human scale.

Tenen writes knowledgeably about the technological roadblocks that stymied earlier models of computer learning, before '' the brute force required to process most everything published in the English language'' were so readily available. He urges us to be alert and. He also urges us not to panic.

'' INTELLIGENCE EVOLVES ON A SPECTRUM - ranging from 'partial assistance' to ' full automation, ' '' Tenen writes, offering the example of an automatic transmission in a car.

Driving an automatic in the 1960s must have been mind-blowing for people used to manual transmissions. An automatic worked by automating key decisions, downshifting on hills and sending less power to the wheels in the bad weather.

It removed the option to stall or grind your gears. It was '' artificially intelligent, '' even if nobody used the words for it. Drivers now take its magic for granted. It has been demystified.

As for the current debate over A.I., this book tries to demystify those, too. Instead of talking about A.I. as if it has a mind of its own, Tenen talks about the collaborative work that went into building it.

'' We employ a cognitive linguistic shortcut by condensing and ascribing agency to the technology itself ,'' he writes. '' It's easier to say, ' The phone completes my messages' instead of '' The engineering team behind the autocompletition tool writing software based on the following dozen research papers completes my messages. ' ''

Our common metaphors for A.I. are therefore misleading. Tenen says we ought to be '' suspicious of all metaphors ascribing familiar human cognitive aspects to artificial intelligence.

The machine thinks, talks, explains, understands, writes, feels, etc, by analogy only.'' This is why so much of the book revolves around questions of language.

Language allows us to communicate and to understand one another. But it also allows for deception and misunderstanding. Tenen wants us to ''unwind the metaphor'' of A.I. - a proposal that might look like an English professor's hobbyhorse on first glance but turns out to be entirely apt.

A metaphor that is too general can make us complacent. Our sense of possibility is shaped by the metaphors we choose.

The mind is mightier than the algorithmic horde.

'' Literary Theory for Robots : How Computers Learned to Write,'' by Dennis Yi Tenen.

The Publishing continues into the future. The World Students Society thanks author Jennifer Szalai.

With most respectful dedication to the Scientists, and then Mankind, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See You all prepare for Great Global Elections on !WOW! - the exclusive and eternal ownership of every student in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter X !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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