MODERN AI IS PREDICTIVE BY NATURE. BUT PREDICTION IS IMPOSSIBLE. AI SHOULD BECOME PRESCRIPTIVE.
Internet was a libertarian dream, it is now the realm of censorship. We’re told everywhere how we should behave. Our world has become predictive. And so is AI.
PREDICTION MEANS CONTRADICTION
Give a look at your smartphone. Weather forecasts are changing all the time. Sometimes they say the sun is shining when it rains, sometimes the opposite. AI hasn’t got an easier time. For instance, I’ve had to deal with the following question. Under some given circumstances, should a given person be vaccinated or not? The computer answers: no. A pharmaceutical company’s executive says: herd effect. If we have the choice between being vaccinated or not, that’s because the pathogen’s expansion is impossible since everybody’s vaccinated. The herd effect wasn’t in the computer’s memory. Had it been, would the computer have chosen Man against Mankind or the opposite? Being predictive is not a cakewalk.
AI CAN’T ONLY BE PREDICTIVE
We’re told it’s not good to eat too much fish. But why? Thanks to sea pollution, fishes are full of heavy metals. Therefore eating fish means absorbing heavy metals. And they’re not good for you.
But the river that’s close to my house is not polluted. And meat and vegetables have their own evils. And, due to my ill health, fish is still the best for me…
“Predictive” means there’s “the one best way”. “Prescriptive” gives us what’s needed for decision-making. Predictive tells us not to eat fish; prescriptive tells us why fish may be dangerous. The difference between predictive and prescriptive is called “free will”.
Progress and technology have made the world too complex for our understanding. Prescriptive AI gives us what we need to make decisions. Nothing more. The decisions are ours. They take into consideration elements a machine can’t understand.
However, predictive is much easier than prescriptive. Predictive means using the best algorithms to work on masses of data. Their output is so to say “gospel truth”. As for prescriptive AI, it requires producing an output that sparks insight: quite difficult.
But that’s what Steve Jobs has achieved with his iPhone. And museums are full of machines men have loved. Prescriptive AI requires substituting talent for brute force.
A SMALL STEP FOR AI, A GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND?
Is AI’s key success factor to become prescriptive?
Will a successful prescriptive AI entice governments and societies to embrace free will? Could it produce a free, full of fun and happy world that promotes talent and creativity? I hope so. But as Niels Bohr used to say: “It is very hard to predict, especially the future”.