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Thursday, January 23, 2020

What is love? A challenge for AI (and for all of us)



Do you love me?

It is a common enough question and we all know what it means. Or do we?

According to the media, AI is coming any day now, and machines will soon rule us. But will those machines understand when someone asks this question of them? To see why this is difficult, ask yourself what it means to love someone. If you asked ten people this question you would get ten different answers.

I asked Google: “what is love?”  Here are some of its answers:

a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.

attraction that includes sexual desire: the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.

a person you love in a romantic way.

Google shows many other questions you can ask and that it will answer. For example:

What are the signs of true love in a relationship?

Give and take in love. ...
Pure happiness. ...
Pain and anger. ...
You make sacrifices for their happiness or wellbeing even if they may not realize it.

The right effort. ...
You can't hurt them. ...
You keep your promises. ...
When you truly love your partner, you see them as part of your life and your future.

Below are a few ways you can identify true love.

You forgive your person: Although your person's actions upset you, you always find it in your heart to forgive them. ...
You understand your person. ...
You accept your person. ...
You tell your person when they are wrong. ...
You want to see your person happy.

My career was in Natural Language Processing which is only one part of AI. I spent my life trying to figure out ways that computers could understand sentences and interact with people in English. Asking people what words meant didn't help us. People can come up with answers easily enough but they are just words. 

What is love? It is a feeling. It is hard to define but people don’t need to define it. We know what we are feeling most of the time. If we don’t feel anything we will not understand the simplest or words, like hunger, anger, or ambition. Unless we are trying to get a computer to be smart we don’t have to define words. But, real AI  (which these days is referred to as “AGI” so the people who do AI can pretend they are doing AI) depends on explanations of what words mean (which are based on experiences has had.)

We are very far from being able to do that. Perhaps it is time to stop making everyone afraid of AI or having endless  meetings about the ethics of AI.

There is no AI and there won’t be any any time soon. Counting words or choosing between moves in GO or spitting out sentences that a person wrote, does not count. 

Here is Google again. 

Below are a few ways you can identify true love.

You forgive your person: Although your person's actions upset you, you always find it in your heart to forgive them. ...
You understand your person. ...
You accept your person. ...
You tell your person when they are wrong. …
You want to see your person happy.



Let me know when a computer can do any of that.