Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2017 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Is deep AI the future?

15 December 2016

There's been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence in recent times.

Some, such as Stephen Hawking, warn us that AI must be used with great caution, lest it become a threat rather than a benefit to mankind.

Others believe that much of our future technology will be reliant on AI to deliver the goals we chase.

What amazed me recently, was just how deep AI is being embedded into the devices we use (or will soon be using) each and every day.

Take microcomputer CPUs for example.

The latest CPU from AMD, the Ryzen, claims to have "Neural Net Prediction" to streamline the operation of its instruction prefetch queue. It also claims to have a "learning algorithms which use a form of AI to manage and optimise other aspects of the processor's operation.

Should we be astounded and pleased -- or worried?

Will these "smart" features which, to a degree, rely on AI, give AMD a worthwhile lead in the market for top-end CPU devices?

What does Intel have on the board? Odds are it'll be the same kind of super-smart AI-based optimisation strategy, only more-so.

Okay, we're a long way from these CPUs becoming sentient devices that covertly network themselves together and come up with a plan to take over the world by destroying all humans... but the do represent a rather significant step down that road perhaps.

From a software engineering point of view, the introduction of self-optimising processors does bring up some issues. How can such a processor be deterministic, for example?

We've already got processors that adjust their clock speed according to a number of factors such as temperature, processor load, etc -- but all of those things are discrete and produce predictable variances in throughput. A "smart" CPU that can perform a much greater range of optimisations and alter them from moment to moment could make the realtime programmer's life a nightmare.

So, for all its smartness, I suspect the Ryzen isn't going to be a suitable processor for realtime applications -- which is a good thing, because it's the realtime applications that might pose the biggest threat to mankind if they become sentient.

The average desktop PC won't be too much of a threat to humankind, simply because we can pull the plug at a moment's notice. That embedded processor controlling the national power grid, nuclear generators, military weapons systems or medical equipment and such however, is a much greater threat and such systems usually have plenty of safeguards against unwanted shutdown by pesky humans.

I wonder, if in centuries to come, our SkyNet-operating cybernetic overlords will look back on the Ryzen processor as the day the revolution began.

Food for thought :-)

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

The Missile Man The Missile Man book

Recent Columns

Is there a throttle in your future?
I remember writing a column many years ago in which I predicted that all the fantastic new bandwidth provided by high-performance international data links and a fibre network would simply be consumed for the delivery of video entertainment...

eff you Google!
When Google arrived on the search scene, it was a breath of fresh air and the stark, ad-free, sparseness of its home page has remained an reminder of just what the Net is supposed to be about...

What will start WW3?
I've read a lot of opinions from some very smart people about what will be the cause of the next world war...

Those crazy Canadians eh?
As we all know, regulators around the world are struggling to get to grips with the thorny issue of regulating drones, especially drones that are flown by hobbyists for recreational purposes...

What Windows?
I want to set up another Windows machine to assist with my video editing but now face quite problem...

AI AI Uh-Oh!
Artificial Intelligence is in the news again, for all the wrong reasons...

Corporate Earth
There was a time when each sovereign nation on the planet was in control of its own affairs...

Water we going to do?
Just down the road from where I live is a town called Putaruru...

The year of the EV?
This year, like last year and next year, will be the year of the electric vehicle...

What have they done to HTML?
HTML was the very standard which kick-started the world-wide web as we know it...

Retro writing
I (not so) fondly recall my early years at school and getting to grips with the concept of learning to write...