Archive for HAL

superintelligence [book review]

Posted in Books, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2015 by xi'an

“The first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.” I.J. Good

I saw the nice cover of Superintelligence: paths, dangers, strategies by Nick Bostrom [owling at me!] at the OUP booth at JSM this summer—nice owl cover that comes will a little philosophical fable at the beginning about sparrows—and, after reading an in-depth review [in English] by Olle Häggström, on Häggström hävdar, asked OUP for a review copy. Which they sent immediately. The reason why I got (so) interested in the book is that I am quite surprised at the level of alertness about the dangers of artificial intelligence (or computer intelligence) taking over. As reported in an earlier blog, and with no expertise whatsoever in the field, I was not and am not convinced that the uncontrolled and exponential rise of non-human or non-completely human intelligences is the number One entry in Doom Day scenarios. (As made clear by Radford Neal and Corey Yanovsky in their comments, I know nothing worth reporting about those issues, but remain presumably irrationally more concerned about climate change and/or a return to barbarity than by the incoming reign of the machines.) Thus, having no competence in the least in either intelligence (!), artificial or human, or in philosophy and ethics, the following comments on the book only reflect my neophyte’s reactions. Which means the following rant should be mostly ignored! Except maybe on a rainy day like today…

“The ideal is that of the perfect Bayesian agent, one that makes probabilistically optimal use of available information.  This idea is unattainable (…) Accordingly, one can view artificial intelligence as a quest to find shortcuts…” (p.9)

Overall, the book stands much more at a philosophical and exploratory level than at attempting any engineering or technical assessment. The graphs found within are sketches rather than outputs of carefully estimated physical processes. There is thus hardly any indication how those super AIs could be coded towards super abilities to produce paper clips (but why on Earth would we need paper clips in a world dominated by AIs?!) or to involve all resources from an entire galaxy to explore even farther. The author envisions (mostly catastrophic) scenarios that require some suspension of belief and after a while I decided to read the book mostly as a higher form of science fiction, from which a series of lower form science fiction books could easily be constructed! Some passages reminded me quite forcibly of Philip K. Dick, less of electric sheep &tc. than of Ubik, where a superpowerful AI(s) turn humans into jar brains satisfied (or ensnared) with simulated virtual realities. Much less of Asimov’s novels as robots are hardly mentioned. And the third laws of robotics dismissed as ridiculously too simplistic (and too human). Continue reading

Top ten on HAL

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , on June 24, 2010 by xi'an

I was updating my entries on HAL from my arXives and found this top ten ranking of my papers:

  1. Sélection bayésienne de variables en régression linéaire, with A. Guillin and J.-M. Marin  inria-00077857
  2. Adaptive Importance Sampling in General Mixture Classes, with O. Cappé, R. Douc, A. Guillin and J.-M. Marin inria-00181474/hal-00180669
  3. A Bayesian reassessment of nearest-neighbour classification, with L. Cucala, J.-M. Marin and D.M. Titterington inria-00143783
  4. Deviance Information Criteria for Missing Data Model, with G. Celeux, F. Forbes and D.M. Titterington inria-00071724
  5. Minimum variance importance sampling via Population Monte Carlo, with R. Douc, A. Guillin and J.-M. Marin inria-00070316
  6. Computational and Inferential Difficulties with Mixture Posterior Distributions, with J.-M. Marin inria-00073049
  7. Are risk averse agents more optimistic? A Bayesian estimation approach, with S. Benmansour, E. Jouini, C. Napp and J.-M. Marin  halshs-00163678
  8. Convergence of adaptive sampling schemes, with R. Douc, A. Guillin and J.-M. Marin inria-00070522
  9. Brownian Confidence Bands on Monte Carlo Output, with W. Kendall and J.-M. Marin inria-00070571
  10. Iterated importance sampling in missing data problems, with G. Celeux and J.-M. Marin inria-00070473

Nothing much to comment except that those are only recent papers (obviously, since HAL also is a recent creation), a large majority of which revolve around population Monte Carlo (and almost all co-authored with Jean-Michel Marin!). The #9 with WIlfrid Kendall and Jean-Michel Marin is clearly very popular as someone attempted to plagiarise it! The #1 comes as a real surprise, given that it is in French and more of a survey.