The end of code —

By Edward C. Monaghan – Over the past several years, the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley have aggressively pursued an approach to computing called machine learning.

In traditional programming, an engineer writes explicit, step-by-step instructions for the computer to follow. With machine learning, programmers don’t encode computers with instructions. They train them.

If you want to teach a neural network to recognize a cat, for instance, you don’t tell it to look for whiskers, ears, fur, and eyes. You simply show it thousands and thousands of photos of cats, and eventually it works things out.

But here’s the thing: With machine learning, the engineer never knows precisely how the computer accomplishes its tasks. The neural network’s operations are largely opaque and inscrutable. It is, in other words, a black box.

The implications of an unparsable machine language aren’t just philosophical. A world run by neurally networked deep-learning machines requires a different workforce.

Analysts have already started worrying about the impact of AI on the job market, as machines render old skills irrelevant. Programmers might soon get a taste of what that feels like themselves.

Danny Hillis [2] has declared the end of the age of Enlightenment, our centuries-long faith in logic, determinism, and control over nature. Hillis says we’re shifting to what he calls the age of Entanglement. more> http://goo.gl/Xmk3ia

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