Are they learning from us or are we learning from them? I don’t believe it’s an either or scenario; I believe it’s both. Machine Learning is a two way system of human and computer programming.
We, as humans, come pre-programmed to respond to and with our senses. Touch, Sight, Smell, Sound, and Taste are the 5 basic human senses, and some believe they have extra sensory perception, a 6th sense referred to as ESP or Intuition. A computer does not have its senses until it has an operating system or software to tell it how and when to respond. Some computers come with Touch, Sight, Smell, and Sound, such as Alarms, Cameras, and other sensors, so it’s not far fetched to believe taste and ESP is possible in computers and it may even be more precise than in humans since we can make it as such.
The question “Are They Learning From Us” is a simple yes, but controlled. We are providing them information to gather and store and we have began to create systems that return information or results based upon what they’ve learned about us. The industry is creating smarter, more interactive systems that have the ability to store and access more information; it just requires smart programmers to learn how to harness the information for optimal use. The fear of “Cyber Attacks” and Privacy Violations needs to be fully overcome before we can live in a secure open Human Computing World and we also have to get rid of the “Human Condition” and all the many bad things that come with being a human before we can consider being in Heaven. I can’t say humans are less concerned with sharing personal private information online and with computers than 25 years ago when it was unheard of or many were reluctant to conduct banking online. 25 yeas and much has changed, but the need for security is still there.
Do we fear them learning to much from us? Just as we are with our children, we want to shield them from the bad stuff we know as humans, such as killing, abuse, etc, but unfortunately it may be too late for that. We have systems that know how to attack, protect, share, interact, and hopefully one day LOL. My PC, Smartphone, Tablet, or iPhone doesn’t care about how much killing information it receives and it does not have fear or satisfaction or even understand it until I program it to; much like a child in his/her early stages of development. Yet, humans, at a certain age are affected by world events or violence. The Internet is not affected by an overload of War, Serial Killers, or Cyber Criminals that steal your credit card data, unless these are manifesting as viruses and cyber attacks – a theory without any evidence to support it. If a human is subjected to storing and retrieving information that is painful to them or harmful to them, over time they become psychologically damaged or mentally conditioned – changed by the information they receive. Negative news sites don’t seem to be affected by constant negativity in world events and are not emotionally driven in sensing and feeling the content of the information, but humans are.
I don’t know enough about the Human Learning System to compare it to a computer learning system, other than its similar in that it requires Visuals, Information, Repetition (or not) and Validation or Acceptance to understand right from wrong. Whether or not Rewards plays a part in Machine Learning is unknown, but it does require a form of validation, which ultimately could be self-performed, much like a human mind. If computer systems begin using Emotional Responses, then pain and pleasure as well as rules and consequences must be present.
Honestly, if a system has the Internet at its disposal, learning can be limitless, so it comes down to authority and following instructions or putting the learned information to use in action.
The development of the computer seems to follow a similar pattern in the development and growth in humans and society. We are born with certain pre-programmed abilities and learn the rest and our paths or journeys are based upon actions, reactions, inputs, and outputs. We are at the Machine Learning Stage, teaching computers to mimick human actions, much like raising a child. What will the next phase of technology consist of then if this is true? The computers will learn how to stand on their own two feet, become inventors, creators, and change the world and some could become dangerous criminals needing to be locked up, monitored, and kept under lock and key.
If they can mimick humans, then they can replicate the human condition, creating problems that have caused setbacks and disease in humanity. As engineers program them, they must stay conscious of ethics and be careful not to recreate a criminal and ill population where systems just take up space, cost money that are ineffective, uncooperative and dangerous in the wrong hands. If computers become emotionally intelligent, we are now forced to nurture and care for such systems and feed these needs, just as in humans, but the best part of the computer is that its not a requirement; atleast not yet.