The New Science of Alt Intelligence

Gary Marcus in his Substack newsletter:

For many decades, part of the premise behind AI was that artificial intelligence should take inspiration from natural intelligence. John McCarthy, one of the co-founders of AI, wrote groundbreaking papers on why AI needed common sense; Marvin Minsky, another of the field’s co-founders of AI wrote a book scouring the human mind for inspiration, and clues for how to build a better AI. Herb Simon won a Nobel Prize for behavioral economics. One of his key books was called Models of Thought, which aimed to explain how “Newly developed computer languages express theories of mental processes, so that computers can then simulate the predicted human behavior.”

A large fraction of current AI researchers, or at least those currently in power, don’t (so far as I can tell) give a damn about any of this. Instead, the current focus is on what I will call (with thanks to Naveen Rao for the term) Alt Intelligence.

Alt Intelligence isn’t about building machines that solve problems in ways that have to do with human intelligence. It’s about using massive amounts of data – often derived from human behavior – as a substitute for intelligence.

More here.