27 October 2022

PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 30th October: The influence of AI on our behaviour

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: The influence of AI on our behaviour

The topic was suggested by Jorge and in my essay I try to identify some
philosophical issues regarding this topic.

The influence of AI on our behaviour
https://www.philomadrid.com/2022/10/the-influence-of-ai-on-our-behaviour.html

In the meantime: News

--Oscar has sent me advance notice about his forthcoming book:
"Toranzo, 88 ilustraciones y coplillas" by Oscar
https://www.philomadrid.com/2022/09/toranzo-88-ilustraciones-y-coplillas-by.html

The book will be available in November, and we should have more details
later on.

--Jorge has kindly sent us the link to his book which is available for
Free Distribution at:
Evolution of Thought and its Influence on Society and Technology
https://www.adneli.com/store

Finally, send me a message if you need the Skype link.

Best and take care
Lawrence

telephone/WhatsApp: 606081813
Email: philomadrid@gmail.com
http://www.philomadrid.com


PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 30th October: The influence
of AI on our behaviour

The influence of AI on our behaviour

 

The influence of AI on our behaviour

 

Topic by Jorge*

Essay by Lawrence

 

Before looking at the issue of behaviour we need to distinguish between: doing AI and what is AI? “What is AI?” is more within the realms of philosophy and consequently we need to take a detour before answering the issue head on.

 

How we name things and objects has been a classical issue in philosophy for many decades if not centuries. Without going into any details, for many centuries it was accepted that if someone was called Smith, this was likely to be a person who worked with metals, thus, a blacksmith was someone who worked with iron. Of course, this progressed from being a person with such an occupation to maybe a child of a blacksmith. Today a Mr or Ms Smith is just the surname of that person, and I am sure that many people today do not know what a blacksmith is.

 

More recently we tend to name new phenomena or new objects as part of some kind of a Wittgenstein language game: we just decide to call something with a given word or words and that will decide the meaning of these words. Except that those who are not participants in the game do not have full access to the meaning of the terms used. Just to mention a set of participants, scientists are very good at this naming game.

 

This would not be serious if it was not for the bad habit of scientists sometimes adopting terms from ordinary language and then giving them the meaning of their own language game. Psychologists use the term “mind” differently from philosophers and in our everyday language we use the word mind with different meanings: I don’t mind – it is alright by me; mind your language – be careful what you say and so on.

 

The term “Artificial Intelligence” clearly belongs in the realm of a scientific language game. And it has nothing to do with something not being natural or being intelligent. Indeed, John McCarthy who coined the term described AI as the fruit flies of Chess and board games: see the obituary of McCarthy at Stanford News (1).

 

A second preliminary aspect of our discussion is that in recent years both in academia and even more real life and education we have lost the clear distinction between science and technology (applied science). The MIT in1861, in the USA, was not called the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for nothing: technology was more important at the time for a new country than anything else.

 

This is relevant for our discussion because if we mean by AI, technology then this would have a direct bearing on our behaviour. If, however, AI is science, or at best a scientific tool then surely it does not have a direct causal connection with our behaviour. I can use another example to illustrate the point: experiments conducted on fruit flies or mice are not in a direct causal relationship with us even if the results will one day be relevant in the making of a medication. In contract, the results of a fourth phase clinical trial (2) does have a direct causal relationship with us since a negative result at this stage would most definitely stop a prospective medication in its present form.

 

But even today the term science has been high jacked by populist media, advertising agencies and snake oil merchants. Many claims to scientific discovery are based on a one off study with a small cohort: at best in these cases scientific means that whatever we say is scientific does no harm at all. Let us forget for now any misleading claims about some discovery that might have a negative effect: for example claims about orange juice in a carton! Unfortunately, AI is not immune to this process of being high jacked by commercial interests.

 

Today, even more than ever, there is a feeling that the scientist is the science. But this idea is not new. For example Thomas Kuhn, in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (3) does suggest that those scientists who promote an old paradigm, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, tend to behave as if they were the high priests of that old paradigm. Consider, for example, the fate of Ignaz Semmelweis (4) who advocated clinical hygiene (washing of hands) and the treatment he received from his medical peers and medical community.  

 

This is relevant for our discussion because in our everyday life we might make value judgements on some scientific claims on purely emotional and irrelevant criteria. Don’t forget that Albert Einstein theories were not rejected, especial in English speaking countries, because his theories were shown to be invalid but purely because he was German during the First World War and a Jew. During the run up of the Brexit referendum and the Presidency of Donald Trump, scientists who dared speak out against Brexit or the policies of the president were at best dismissed as irrelevant experts or even enemies of the people. Maybe we can point at Hollywood for any negative ideas we might have about AI (5) with all those science fiction films and their box office hits.

 

So does AI influence our behaviour? AI as technology then it does influence our behaviour by virtue that this technology is successfully implemented in many gadgets we depend on in our modern life. Mobile phones, to give an example, are today an extension of our brain and I do not mean in a metaphorical sense. Not too long ago, remembering more than ten telephone numbers was a feat in itself. And text correctors and translators are a must have in the age of the internet. Even if non English based companies tend to have a series problem with programming their AI for the plural “s” and the possessive “s” in English.

 

As for the doing of AI, this is a more complex issue not only because this is a really technical field involving many tools but even more because it covers a wide range of disciplines. But what is philosophically relevant is that AI has the same problems we have had from time immemorial: that is our sense perceptions. Data sets and data bases are the equivalent of our sense perceptions. And the problem is not that this data might be corrupt or biased but rather that neither the AI tool nor the AI operator seem to have the opportunity, and I emphasise seem, to go behind the data and investigate the provenance of the data to the extent that the tool might exclude that data set or data base.

 

And how does AI account for political interference with policies that lead to a biased data set? Considering the statistics of victims of Covid 19 in the UK, how can we confirm or reject the hypothesis that the British government at the beginning of the pandemic transferred many elderly people from hospitals to residence homes with ethical disregard to the consequence to this age group? This is a political issue and not a dataset problem.

 

The question I am asking is not an ethical or moral question about datasets but rather how valid are the data sets employed by AI tools? Many ethical issues about AI have already been identified and documents by those doing AI: this is well documented on the internet. As I have hinted at earlier, the issue about data is not one of quantity but rather one of quality and provenance.

 

 

(1) Stanford's John McCarthy, seminal figure of artificial intelligence, dies at 84

https://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/october/john-mccarthy-obit-102511.html

 

 

(2) Step 3: Clinical Research (FDA)

https://www.fda.gov/patients/drug-development-process/step-3-clinical-research#Clinical_Research_Phase_Studies

 

 

(3) Scientific Revolutions

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-revolutions/

 

 

(4) Ignaz Semmelweis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis

 

(5) Can artificial intelligence become sentient, or smarter than we are - and then what?

https://youtu.be/lcUk1cYWY9I

 

*late ^PDF articles from Jorge:

2016 OP015_FromElectronstophotons.pdf

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_Gd2nOj5Q6YW6gyKKN_LnjoQWM8aulIR/view?usp=sharing


2020 ArtificialIntelligence definitions.pdf

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PVGILmglc2on7A45t9pMDbw6oAo6dqut/view?usp=sharing


 

Best Lawrence

 

telephone/WhatsApp: 606081813

 

Email: philomadrid@gmail.com

 

http://www.philomadrid.com

20 October 2022

PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 23rd October: Are we confused about our image?,

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Are we confused about our image?

The topic was suggested by Norma and in my short essay I suggest why
this could be an important issue in our life.

Are we confused about our image?
https://www.philomadrid.com/2022/10/are-we-confused-about-our-image.html

In the meantime: News

--Oscar has sent me advance notice about his forthcoming book:
"Toranzo, 88 ilustraciones y coplillas" by Oscar
https://www.philomadrid.com/2022/09/toranzo-88-ilustraciones-y-coplillas-by.html

The book will be available in November, and we should have more details
later on.

--Jorge has kindly sent us the link to his book which is available for
Free Distribution at:
Evolution of Thought and its Influence on Society and Technology
https://www.adneli.com/store

Finally, send me a message if you need the Skype link.

Best and take care
Lawrence

telephone/WhatsApp: 606081813
Email: philomadrid@gmail.com
http://www.philomadrid.com


PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 23rd October: Are we confused
about our image?

Are we confused about our image?

 

Are we confused about our image?

 

Topic by Norma

Short Essay by Lawrence

 

 

Our image is something that exists in the public domain and it is supposed to give others a favourable opinion about us. But I consider one’s image not only how we look but also our personality and character.

 

One’s image can be made up of three factors: 1) the image we want to convey to others, 2) the image we actually have and 3) the image people see in us or think they see in us. A quick search in the relevant search engines will suggest other variants to these three factors. Anyway, this is an obvious cause for confusion about our image. There are too many factors that can go wrong even if we are careful about what image we try to convey.

 

This does not mean that some people do not genuinely like us, despite our personality and character. But some people genuinely-liking-us is not the same as some people wanting to give us the impression that they like us. Unfortunately, this latter scenario is very common in an employment situation.

 

For most of us our image is not a big issue although for some commitments, such as work, we have to pay some attention to our image. Interviews are an obvious work related situation. However, our image might be relevant for some people such as politicians, head of companies or head of institutions.

 

People in authority might want to convey an image of wholesome honesty whilst in private they try to exploit people. And this is when things can go wrong. We might think of ourselves as being up right citizens but in reality people in authority are convinced we are at best naïve. And, therefore, ripe to be exploited.

 

The run up and subsequent events of the UK leaving the EU are a twenty first century example of a nation being confused about their image and how that confused state resulted in one of Europe’s abuse of power. Unfortunately, in politics nationalism can easily be a source of grief for the country concerned.

 

Self awareness might go a long way to limit how confused we are about our image. And our ability to distinguish between the fluff presented by those in power and real facts might limit how much we are exploited.

 

Best and take care

 

Lawrence

 

 

 

telephone/WhatsApp: 606081813

 

Email: philomadrid@gmail.com

 

http://www.philomadrid.com

 

 

 

 

 

PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 23rd October: Are we confused about our image?

 

 

13 October 2022

PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 16th October: Silence is golden

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Silence is golden.

The topic was proposed by Norma and in my short essay I try to show that
this idiom works well in negotiations.
Silence is golden
https://www.philomadrid.com/2022/10/silence-is-golden.html

In the meantime: News

--Oscar has sent me advance notice about his forthcoming book:
"Toranzo, 88 ilustraciones y coplillas" by Oscar
https://www.philomadrid.com/2022/09/toranzo-88-ilustraciones-y-coplillas-by.html

The book will be available in November, and we should have more details
later on.

--Jorge has kindly sent us the link to his book which is available for
Free Distribution at:
Evolution of Thought and its Influence on Society and Technology
https://www.adneli.com/store

Finally, send me a message if you need the Skype link.

Best and take care
Lawrence

telephone/WhatsApp: 606081813
Email: philomadrid@gmail.com
http://www.philomadrid.com


PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 16th October: Silence is golden

Silence is golden

 

Silence is golden

 

Topic by Norma

Essay by Lawrence

 

It is relevant to distinguish between silence (silent) and quiet. Quiet relates to noise whereas silence is more related to vocal sounds such as speaking or even not expressing what one is thinking but intentionally not vocalising such thoughts. And, although, there are instances when it makes no difference whether we use silence or quiet, for our purposes we should be concerned with silence as an intentional act not to speak.

 

The idea of silence in speech is not unusual, and by speech we imply language acts. We find silence in the punctuation of sentences with the fullstop and the comma; when we encounter a comma we have to pause, or be silent, for a short while and the fullstop requires a longer pause. Of course, when we vocalise our speech these pauses are minuscule and we pick them out unconsciously. Learners of English may not have mastered these pauses and, therefore, find it difficult to distinguish the structure of the speech. Try reading a sentence without comma pauses at normal speed.

 

We can also claim that pauses in speech, whether vocalised or written, is part of the grammar (syntax) and semantic structure of a sentence and paragraphs. I would argue that this is evident by virtue that these pauses are intentional. This surely must imply that the silence we are interested in are intentional pauses and make sense in the context. A mentally impaired person or an intoxicated person might exhibit pauses in their speech but these gaps are not necessarily intentional but simply random acts of pauses.

 

Although this is a bit stretching the point, silence in speech in the form of a fullstop or a comma, can be a case of silence is golden by virtue that these punctuation marks make understanding a speech act much better. But the idiom silence is golden (“speech is silver, silence is golden” is considered a proverb see ref 1) is best used when negotiating with others (see ref 2).

 

But like all language functions, it takes skill and mastery to know when to be silent and what to say before being silent. When I was being trained in sales my manager always emphasised the importance of being silent when asking for the order. Theoretically, the first person to speak will lose: if the client speaks first they’ll end up buying the product, and if the sales person speaks first they lose the sale.

 

The MIT article (ref 2), which is a report on the scope of silence published in the Journal of Applied Psychology) mentions that silence “interrupts” the zero-sum thinking in negotiations and thus “foster deliberative mindset” resulting in both sides “performing better.” Indeed, silence can be used as a valuable means to think over an issue, which by definition one would assume had arisen from the face to face negotiations. But this move to be silent to think is balanced by the character of the person doing the thinking. Does the person being silent have the courage to break one of the rules of a zero sum game? That is not giving the impression that one is weak.

 

In a zero sum game, any hint of weakness might be seen as losing the argument and the negotiations. Of course, there is a difference between being silent to think and being lost for words. Not knowing what to do is certainly a sign of weakness, and this should not be betrayed by one’s body language. Silence to think requires, I would suggest, a body language that is convincing that one is thinking.

 

The appropriate time when silence is golden, is when “put on the spot” or challenged by the other side. Once again, this would suggest that the parties are indeed playing a zero sum game. An emotional reaction could easily antagonise the other side. that could easily turn negotiations into a conflict.

 

In any case, an emotional reaction might even reveal one’s intentions and letting the other party know what one is thinking is certainly a short cut to losing the game.

 

Ref-1 Silence is golden

https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/silence-is-golden.html

 

Ref-2 Silence is golden: New research out of MIT’s Sloan School of Management suggests that extended silence during negotiations leads to better results for both parties

https://mitsloan.mit.edu/press/silence-golden-new-research-out-mits-sloan-school-management-suggests-extended-silence-during-negotiations-leads-to-better-results-both-parties

 

Best and take care

Lawrence

 

telephone/WhatsApp: 606081813

Email: philomadrid@gmail.com

http://www.philomadrid.com

 

 

PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 16th October: Silence is golden

 

06 October 2022

PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 9th October: What is intelligence?

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: What is intelligence?

Unfortunately, due to a sudden family bereavement this morning I was
unable to finish my essay on the subject I proposed. And I am not sure
whether I can finish it by Sunday. In the meantime in December 2012 we
discussed:

The risks of intelligence.
https://www.philomadrid.com/2012/12/from-lawrence-sunday-philomadrid_14.html

In the meantime: News

Oscar has sent me advance notice about his forthcoming book:
"Toranzo, 88 ilustraciones y coplillas" by Oscar
https://www.philomadrid.com/2022/09/toranzo-88-ilustraciones-y-coplillas-by.html

The book will be available in November, and we should have more details
later on.

Finally, send me a message if you need the Skype link.

Best and take care
Lawrence

telephone/WhatsApp: 606081813
Email: philomadrid@gmail.com
http://www.philomadrid.com


PhiloMadrid meeting on Skype 6:30pm Sunday 9th October: What is
intelligence?

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