Age of The Machine

Would you like your future to be decided by a human or by a machine? We are at an age or at least we are entering to an age where machines decide things for us.

The Machine

Humans make decisions based on the feelings every time, even if there is data involved. Machines make decisions based on the algorithms and data, at least currently feelings are left aside. So based on this machines could be considered better, but then you usually have no idea how the decision system has been built – or the decision making machine is so complex that it would take a doctorate degree in AI to truly understand what it is designed to do.

Human brain is really good in finding patterns in relatively large amount of data. But when the data gets really big (not saying the “B** D***” on purpose), like millions to billions of rows, then the human capacity runs out and compute power gets more efficient to use.

And today when using the cloud resources, it is relatively easy and cheap to “rent” the machine power from the cloud for the time it is needed and then just free the capacity for someone else to use and stop paying.

The Human

When you start to make your decisions purely based on the data, you are making the judgement based on the things that have happened in the past. If you have to include some thoughts for the future also, then there must be some kind of human involvement. Decisions where the future has to be considered are usually long-term decisions and/or strategic ones. In the short term, decisions based on data may have their place.

People who work with decision making system say that there has to be human involvement on how the system works. Without true understanding on the decisions making system (from the business owners) the decision making systems will most likely fail every time.

The Unknown

And then there is the unknown, random things, uncertainty and probabilities that good things can cause bad things to happen and vice versa. I bet that Marc Zuckerberg didn’t think that he will help Russia to mess up with United States elections when he wrote the first version of facebook at his dorm at Harvard.

Sometimes applications meant to be used for good are used for something bad, and then there are occasions when applications that were designed to do something harmful can be used for good. It is impossible to take into consideration every possibility how some software can be used harmfully when designing applications – but you can be sure that there are people who will try to do harmful things with any well known and useful application or an idea.

Artificial Intelligence

Some people state that Artificial Intelligence is the art of trying to make machines think like humans. Still today most of the most valuable and best working AI solutions are making something that humans can’t. Solutions that try to imitate human behavior are still somewhat flawed and seem to be really difficult for contemporary computers to duplicate.

The Book

The book that got me into thinking about this man vs. machine idea was Hannah Fry’s “Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine”. Available on Amazon:

Boss Level Podcast

Artificial Intelligence and human behavior was briefly discussed in the Boss Level Podcast with Harri Valpola: