ai theyre at it again

Wed, Dec 12, 2007

Not content with putting a computer behind a wall and telling us to imagine it’s a person, the AI lot have now come up with possibly the most pointless gizmo yet invented in AI land. A professor has wired a moth to a pile of scrap metal that apparently uses the moth’s brain functions to “move out of the way” should you approach the teetering pile of junk.

You can see a picture of it here.

I can hear the applause in the background but what AI is really about is taking the beauty of nature and turning it into mechanical farragoes. So here’s a moth, an intricate and beautiful flying machine. Yes, moths can fly. That’s the whole point of moths. They fly about. This AI crank has, however, emerged Frankenstein-like from the cupboard with a heap of mechano that, wait for it, “moves away from you”. Woooo. Whatever next? A scrap heap that stops moving away from you when it hits a wall? So that’ll be another moth at the back. That’ll be the reversing moth will it?

So will this frankenmachine be flying round a lightbulb anytime soon? Well if it does, it’ll need to be kept aloft by a few thousand moths strapped to it. And that is where my view of AI is just, well, completely different from the practitioners:

AI bod : “Behold, a machine that flies and avoids walls!”

Me : “Look, a flock of moths making off with a pile of scrap metal!”

Just don’t stand under it…

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