Former Uber/Google Engineer Starts AI Religion
Anthony Levandowski has been a polarizing figure in the AI world since he left Google’s self-driving unit, Waymo, to start his own company, Otto, which was bought by Uber not long after. The acquisition made Levandowski the head of Uber’s self-driving division. Allegedly, Levandowski took an enormous amount of Waymo research with him, and a massive lawsuit between Google and Uber followed.
However, Levandowski is now in the news for an entirely different reason. He has established a new, non-profit, AI-centric religion, called Way of the Future. The mission state of Way of the Future is as follows: “To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.” Obviously.
According to The Inquirer, the group has yet to submit forms to the IRS as a tax-exempt religious group, but it does list Levandowski as its CEO and President. I personally have a difficult time wrapping my head around it all, but there are a lot of strange things in the world today, and I would not be surprised if Way of the Future gained a substantial following.
Google’s AI Isn’t Smarter Than a 6-Year-Old, But Better Than Siri
Chinese researchers recently tested the IQ of 50 AI systems and Google’s AI scored the highest. While this is something for Google to hang its hat on, it still only has the IQ of the average 6-year-old, scoring a 47.28. This is reassuring for those who think AI is rapidly taking over the world. Now, I don’t think I would mind a world ran by first-graders, seems like a pretty chill world, but alas, that will never happen.
The study revealed the IQ of a number of other prominent AI systems. “Chinese search engine Baidu had a score of 32.92, Microsoft’s Bing measured at 31.98. Apple’s Siri scored just 23.94 — less than half the IQ of Google’s AI.” In the fiercely competitive enterprise market, any victory for these huge rivals is substantial. So congrats, Google, on having the smartest (least dumb) AI.
Google’s DeepMind Starts an AI Ethics Unit
AI ethics is an ongoing discussion that we’ve discussed in length in past AI Digests, but DeepMind is again bringing it to the forefront. The Google-owned company said that it will “conduct research across six ‘key themes’ — including ‘privacy, transparency and fairness’ and ‘economic impact: inclusion and equality.’”
According to The Verge, “DeepMind Ethics & Society (or DMES, as the new team has been christened) will publish research on these topics and others starting early 2018. The group has eight full-time staffers at the moment, but DeepMind wants to grow this to around 25 in a year’s time.”
It will be interesting to see the impact that these types of ethics boards will have over corporate and government usage of advanced AI. We’ve gone over the dangers of AI, particularly when Elon Musk gets everyone riled up, but these are positive steps to ensuring that AI isn’t used improperly or for wrongdoing.
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