Why is Elon Musk too chicken to take a measly $500K bet on AI?

He’s the PT Barnum of tech, the clown prince of wannabe edgelords, and the laughingstock of the factitious intelligence group.

Elon Musk lately went on the document with what is perhaps his most ridiculous prediction but:

Greetings humanoids

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“2029 seems like a pivotal yr. I’d be stunned if we don’t have AGI by then. Hopefully, folks on Mars too.”

To the layperson unfamiliar with pc science, this most likely simply looks as if a very good individual being optimistic. However to most individuals who perceive the fundamentals of AI, that is the sort of assertion you’d count on from a mainstream journalist with a restricted understanding of the subject.

I’m undecided there’s a single critical individual working within the discipline of AI (except for traders) who’d co-sign Musk’s perception — no offense meant to the summary dreamers on the market.

In actual fact, a coalition of consultants has been fashioned with the only real intent of asking the world’s richest blusterer to place his cash the place his mouth is.

Betting in opposition to the world’s richest individual

Synthetic intelligence luminary and co-author of the best-selling e-book “Rebooting AI,” Gary Marcus, initially laid the problem down.

Marcus, an NYU professor who’s made his bones debating the likes of Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun (two people who find themselves absolute rock stars within the discipline of machine studying), first provided Musk a $100,000 wager.

The phrases, per a Substack put up from Marcus, are as follows:

Listed here are 5 predictions, organized from best for many people to people who would require a excessive diploma of experience:

  • In 2029, AI won’t be able to observe a film and inform you precisely what’s going on (what I known as the comprehension problem in The New Yorker, in 2014). Who’re the characters? What are their conflicts and motivations? and many others.
  • In 2029, AI won’t be able to learn a novel and reliably reply questions on plot, character, conflicts, motivations, and many others. Key might be going past the literal textual content, as Davis and I clarify in Rebooting AI.
  • In 2029, AI won’t be able to work as a reliable cook dinner in an arbitrary kitchen (extending Steve Wozniak’s cup of espresso benchmark).
  • In 2029, AI won’t be able to reliably assemble bug-free code of greater than 10,000 strains from pure language specification or by interactions with a non-expert person. [Gluing together code from existing libraries doesn’t count.]
  • In 2029, AI won’t be able to take arbitrary proofs from the mathematical literature written in pure language and convert them right into a symbolic type appropriate for symbolic verification.

Right here’s what I suggest, for those who (or anybody else) manages to beat no less than three of them in 2029, you win; if just one or two are damaged, we are able to’t very effectively say we’ve nailed the overall half in synthetic common intelligence, can we? In that case, or if none are damaged, I win.

Right here’s the factor people, Marcus (for my part) isn’t attempting to make a buck off Musk and it certain doesn’t appear to be he’s attempting to drum up controversy to promote one thing.

He, like many different AI consultants, seems to be involved with the unfavourable results Musk’s rhetoric might have on the remainder of the sector.

AI isn’t magic; it’s science. And it’s usually unattainable to tell most of the people on the precise state of AI applied sciences (my job, right here at TNW’s Neural vertical), when folks like Musk are on the market making claims so outlandish, they fall into fantasy fan-fiction territory.

We’ve been right here earlier than

Bear in mind when Musk declared driverless automobiles had been simply across the nook — that they’d be right here inside two years? Then he mentioned they’d be right here the subsequent yr. And the subsequent. And the one after that.

Right here’s Musk promising driverless automobiles in 2014 (and yearly after that!):

After which there’s Hyperloop. Musk was going to dig tunnels all around the world, fill them with magnetic levitation expertise, and ferry passengers underground in specialised autonomous automobiles able to taking pictures by way of the Boring Firm’s tubes sooner than a Boeing Jet.

Sadly, no one bothered to inform Musk that maglev tech, as he envisions it, doesn’t exist. What did we get? A tunnel the place 1-3 folks at a time can get right into a Tesla automotive, pushed by a Tesla worker, that slowly meanders its means by way of a crowded tube the place automobiles are queued up resulting from site visitors. It’s been known as a deathtrap.

In actual fact, it looks as if each single certainly one of Elon Musk’s endeavors, aside from possibly PayPal and SpaceX, are seemingly constructed on a bedrock of bullshit.

Neuralink? The corporate Musk mentioned was going to “treatment autism?” Nevermind that 1000’s of scientists, technologists, and engineers have devoted their complete lives over the previous century to growing mind implants to deal with medical situations (and that autistic folks don’t must be “cured,” as a result of autism isn’t a illness).

And that brings us to the top of cow manure-based expertise that’s the Tesla “Optimus” robotic.

Robotics are tremendous straightforward, wink-wink

Optimus was introduced final yr as a Tesla mission to create a humanoid robotic able to doing boring and harmful chores people don’t wish to.

The above video demonstrates how a lot progress Tesla made on the mission earlier than the announcement: precisely zero. What you see in that video is a human carrying spandex. Impressed?

Now, we’re to consider that the corporate could have a functioning prototype to point out off by September:

I’ll go on the document proper now: there’s completely no means Tesla demonstrates a humanoid robotic able to something greater than MIT-level feats of robotics in September.

That’s not an insult to MIT’s robotics lab. It’s a jab at anybody who thinks constructing robots is straightforward. And it’s a 15-minutes-long belly-laugh within the face of anybody who believes Tesla can exhibit a machine that, in any means, convinces the AI group it’ll be able to safely working autonomously in unmapped house areas by 2029.

However no one provides a crap what I feel. Elon Musk is the richest man alive and I’m only a journalist who ought to be taught to code.

I requested Gary Marcus what he thought in regards to the upcoming Tesla AI Day, and whether or not Optimus was going to be prepared for primetime by then. He appeared a bit skeptical too:

*IF* Tesla could make main progress in the direction of general-purpose robots quick, I might be impressed.

There are dozens of extremely tough issues to be solved, starting from the management of bodily movement, to the language understanding in deciding what folks need, to the planning in deciding how you can do no matter is needed safely and effectively.

However I additionally word that we’re nonetheless ready on Tesla’s autonomous taxi fleets. Basic-purpose robots are in some ways much more difficult, as a result of the number of human expertise is so huge.

We’ve all seen the cool movies of dancing robots from Boston Dynamics; constructing really common goal humanoid robots at a scale, with all of the AI that may require, can be one thing else once more. I don’t see it occurring this decade.

The total $500K wager

To that finish, a coalition of sanity-speakers has sprung up round Marcus. Right here’s a snippet from an article that was simply printed on Fortune as we speak by Marcus and Vivek Wadhwa, an AI skilled from Carnegie Mellon:

Vivek Wadhwa thought the wager was terrific, truthful and provocative, and one thing that might transfer the sector of A.I. ahead. So Wadhwa determined to match Marcus’ wager.

Inside a pair hours there was a flurry on Twitter and Marcus’s substack had near 10,000 views, and shortly different consultants within the discipline additionally provided their help for the wager, rising the pool to $500,000. However not a phrase from Musk.

Then author and futurist Kevin Kelly, who co-founded the Lengthy Now Basis, provided to host the wager on his web site aspect by aspect with an earlier, and associated wager that Ray Kurzweil made with Mitch Kapor.

That sort of cash looks as if so much to a lowly author like myself, however Elon Musk might blow $500K a day for the remainder of his life and nonetheless have a fortune left over.

So what’s the maintain up Musk? It’s nearly unattainable to think about that you simply haven’t heard in regards to the wager. For somebody who spends a big quantity of their time trolling folks on Twitter and trashing the media, you’ve all the time been extremely sheepish on the subject of debating (and even disputing) the phrases of anybody who even barely seems to know what they’re speaking about within the discipline of AI.

That, expensive readers, is why I’m declaring Musk the official “CEO” of tech: the Hen Govt Officer.

Cluck cluck, Musk followers. Cue the memes.

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