Why Artificial Intelligence Can't Replace Humans

Meet Georgie....

Georgie is an "interactive" toy puppy.  He responds to your voice commands like a real dog.  One Christmas, I bought Georgie (I mean Santa bought Georgie) for my youngest daughter, and for my eldest daughter, CHIP, the robot toy dog made by WowWee. Chip was even "more" interactive and advanced.

So what in the world could I learn about artificial intelligence from two "interactive" toy dogs that Santa brought my daughters for Christmas?  

Anyone who is a parent has experienced the joy of buying a toy for a child; a toy that they had begged for for months, and months, and months; only to get it home and have it.....not do what it is supposed to do.  Within mere moments of opening both toys, we were greeted with tears of children.  Not because the toys didn't "function."  Tears because the dogs would not listen to them.  

Listen to them?  These dogs don't listen.  They respond to commands.  But what about when they don't.  To adults like you and I, we understand that there are SEVERAL reasons why a machine might not understand what you say, or misinterpret.  Ever had Siri misunderstand your question or command? But to a child, this "animal" doesn't "love" them.  

Maslow listed the hierarchy of human needs.  Lets talk about the first three briefly:

1.  Physiological - You need food.  You need water.  When you are a kid, you typically get these things from your parents. (unless your parents are shitty hobos.)  

2.  Safety - Think clothing and shelter.  (see bullet one about your hopefully unshitty parents.)  

3.  Love - Yep.  Love.  See bullets one and two.  Once you leave the nest, you hopefully get this from other people.  Sometimes even yourself.  Hopefully not from yourself more than once a day or so.  You could go blind.    

Artificial Intelligence can't replace humans because they can't love.  No passion and no shits given.  We, as humans, want people to give a shit about us.  A robot will never give a shit, and in the rare event that it does give a shit, it will only care to the extent that it is programmed to pretend to do so.  

Let me say that again so it sinks in.... "A robot will ONLY CARE to the extent that it is programmed to pretend to do so."

But artificial intelligence can help solve problems more quickly and more accurately than humans, you say?  Lets agree that AI may help solve problems.  

In college, I remember my mom giving me advice on women (specifically the girl I was dating at the time.)  She said, "Girls don't want you to solve their problems, they want you to listen."  Any husband or father of girls knows, with absolute certainty, that this is an irrefutable law of happy relationships.  

People DON'T WANT 90% of their problems solved.  That's why they still have problems.  Most problems have very simple answers.   Overweight and want a robot to be your personal chef and personal trainer?  Great.  Even if that Robot puts you on Dwayne Johnson's workout routine and has Martha Stewart's kitchen sense, good luck programming that robot to stop you from swallowing 11 whole Twinkies at 3 AM without breaking one of the 3 laws of robotics.     

People DO want other people to listen to their problems with an empathetic ear.  As humans we are pre-programmed to bond with other people through our problems.  Problems are our lowest common denominator.  Shitty traffic, shitty weather,and shitty in-laws give us things to talk about and bond with each other over, and give sit-com writers content to keep people feeling connected to their shows.  Let AI "solve" the problems, and we are left with soap operas.  24 hours a day of soap operas....without drama.....because robots can only pretend to drama for so long.  

Love and empathy are two things that  make great leaders, great family members, and great business people.  Don't believe me?  Tell Siri next time you have a problem and let me know how it goes.  

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  1. Exactly; great stuff. AI can only be as good as programming, which means it's a great tool for thinking and processing information but as a loving, caring and advice giving entity it'll always fail.

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