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本文摘要:The possibility that robots may one day take all the jobs and put the human race out of work is an idea that has taken a strong hold on the public imagination of late. Not since the 1960s has the prospect of machines replacing people inspired such awe and angst.或许有一天,机器人不会偷走所有的工作,让所有人类失业,这是近来公众的想象中挥之不去的一个念头。

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The possibility that robots may one day take all the jobs and put the human race out of work is an idea that has taken a strong hold on the public imagination of late. Not since the 1960s has the prospect of machines replacing people inspired such awe and angst.或许有一天,机器人不会偷走所有的工作,让所有人类失业,这是近来公众的想象中挥之不去的一个念头。自20世纪60年代以来,机器替换人类的前景还未曾引起眼下这种程度的惧怕和情绪。

Left out of this picture, however, is a bigger narrative about how the onrush of robot technology could change humanity’s future. Automation — for which, read sophisticated software routines informed by advanced algorithms — is already creeping into many walks of life far beyond the workplace, steering our decisions and promising to take the effort out of everyday tasks.然而,被回避在这种想象之外的,是关于机器人科技的波涛汹涌来袭有可能如何转变人类未来的更大议题。自动化,也就是用先进设备的算法设计的简单软件程序组,早已悄悄转入各行各业,捕食的地方远不止工作场所。自动化不仅引领着我们的决策,更加许诺让日常工作显得非常简单精彩。

What is to stop automation from ultimately assuming all of mankind’s mental and physical efforts? And when the machines do all the heavy lifting — whether in the form of robots commanding the physical world or artificial intelligence systems that relieve us of the need to think — who is the master and who the slave?有什么能制止自动化最后分担人类所有的脑力和体力劳动?不管是在实体世界发号施令的机器人,还是让我们需要展开思维的人工智能系统,当机器挑动了一切重任,谁是主人,谁是奴仆?Despite the antagonism he sometimes stirs in the tech world (an influential article of his published by the Harvard Business Review in 2003 was called, provocatively, “IT Doesn’t Matter”) author Nicholas Carr is not a technophobe. But in The Glass Cage he brings a much-needed humanistic perspective to the wider issues of automation. In an age of technological marvels, it is easy to forget the human.尽管作者尼古拉斯卡尔(Nicholas Carr)有时不会在科技界招致敌意(2003年他在《哈佛商业评论》(Harvard Business Review)上公开发表的一篇影响力极大的文章标题富裕煽动性,叫作《IT无关紧要》(“IT Doesn’t Matter”)),他本人并不是一个不安技术的人。但在《身处自动化的玻璃牢笼》(The Glass Cage)一书中,他为解读更加普遍的自动化问题获取了一个我们迫切需要的人文主义视角。在技术大放异彩的年代,人类很更容易遭消逝。

Carr’s argument here is that, by automating tasks to save effort, we are making life easier for ourselves at the cost of replacing our experience of the world with something inferior. “Frictionless” is the new mantra of tech companies out to simplify life as much as possible. But the way Carr sees it, much of what makes us most fulfilled comes from taking on the friction of the world through focused concentration and effort. What would happen, in short, if we were “defined by what we want”?卡尔的论点是,通过将工作任务自动化以节省精力,我们让生活显得更加精彩,代价则是用一种次级的体验代替了我们对世界的现实体验。“无摩擦”是企图仅次于程度修改生活的技术公司的新口号。

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但在卡尔显然,让我们深感扩充的东西大多来自于全神贯注、希望应付世界中的“摩擦”的过程。简而言之,如果我们“用我们想的东西定义自身”,那不会怎样?Mankind’s mastery of the environment owes much to the use of tools that extend our limited physical and intellectual powers, as Carr readily admits. What’s different now, though, is both the pace of change — it’s hard to adjust when so much can alter in the course of a human lifetime — and the nature of the technology itself.卡尔坦诚否认,人类对自然环境的掌控大多得益于对工具的用于,工具拓展了我们受限的体力和智力。然而,现在与以前的差异不仅在于变化的速度(在人一辈子的时间里就能再次发生如此极大的转变,让人很难适应环境),还有技术本身的性质。

At the risk of simplifying, Carr’s assertion is that there are two types of technology, which might loosely be described as the humanist and the anti-humanist. The former sets its makers free. Tools such as hammers or cars fall into this category: they extend the user’s capabilities.卡尔明确提出,不存在两种技术,分别可大体称作人本型技术和鼓吹人本型技术(这样区分也许有过分修改之斥)。前者目的和平人类。锤子、汽车之类的工具就归属于这个范畴:它们拓展了使用者的能力。Anti-humanist technology, on the other hand, sidelines its creator. Its sole purpose is to replace human effort, not enhance it. If humans are ever brought into the equation to interact with this technology — for instance, when pilots have to override automatic flight systems in an emergency — the results are often dismal: deskilled by the machines and forced into machine-like modes of behaviour to operate in the machine’s world, the people seldom excel. The inevitable result is a call for more automation to take fallible humans out of the picture entirely. Removing the need for sustained physical and intellectual effort causes a degeneration in people’s capabilities, argues Carr. His description of research into these areas is exhaustive, to the point where some chapters of this book read like a glossary of academic work in the field. But it helps him build a persuasive argument.忽略,反人本技术则不会使人类边缘化。

其唯一的目的是替代丢弃人的希望,而不是提升人希望的效率。如果让人类参予进去,与这种技术相互作用(比如,飞行员在应急情况下不得不暂停自动驾驶系统的时候),结果往往令人失望:机器使人显得的电子,为了适应环境机器世界里的工作,人不得不在不道德方式上向机器投向,因此在这种情况下很少得心应手。不可避免的结果是,进一步提高自动化程度、让更容易受罚的人类完全出局,沦为人们的呼声。

卡尔指出,避免对持续体力和脑力劳动的必须,造成人类能力发育。他对这些领域的研究叙述得十分详细,以至于书中的有些章节读书一起就看起来该领域学术成果的编撰。但详尽的成果编撰也有助提升作者阐述的说服力。In some instances, the effects of using technology to disintermediate the world sound minor. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for Carr’s complaint that automatic transmission systems in cars, for instance, have robbed him of the pleasure of driving. But others are more persuasive. As machines take on an increasing number of everyday tasks, they will inevitably have to make decisions with moral consequences, weighing courses of action that have different impacts on the people affected. And that is before even thinking about battlefield robots that are programmed to kill.在某些情况下,技术对于隔绝我们对世界的必要感官所起着的起到或许微不足道。

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比如,对于卡尔责怪汽车自动自排系统夺去了驾驶员的体验,我们很难深感尤其尊重。但在其他一些情况下,他的众说纷纭更加有说服力。随着机器分担的日常工作更加多,它们将不可避免地不得不作出有道德后果的决择,权衡对适当人群影响不一的行动。

我们甚至还没开始考虑到任务原作为残暴的战场机器人。If there’s a criticism to be made of Carr’s attempt to save mankind from its own technology, it’s that he underplays the very substantial benefits. Driverless cars would go a long way towards eradicating the millions of deaths and injuries that are almost entirely caused by human error. Also, through advances in productivity, automation is a significant contributor to economic betterment.对于卡尔企图从人类自己研发的技术手中挽回人类的行径,如果要进行批评的话,那就是他淡化了技术带给的极大益处。

交通事故完全几乎是由人类的错误造成的,无人驾驶汽车在这方面大有助益,能使数百万人免遭死伤。自动化还能提升生产效率,从而很大地增进经济状况的提高。

Nor does he make allowances for the new types of work thrown up by making older forms of human endeavour redundant, or the possibility that mankind might find more rewarding outlets for its energy and creativity if the need to work was largely removed.他也没考虑到,自动化虽然使一些旧式的人类劳动显得多余,但也同时创意了新型的工作;此外,在基本不必须工作之后,人类也许有可能寻找更加有价值的充分发挥精力和创造力的方式。Surprisingly, however, Carr manages to find a positive note to end on. He considers, but largely rejects, the possibility that a more human-centric form of design will emerge to put people back at the centre of their own technological creations.然而,令人吃惊的是,卡尔设法以一种悲观的方式展开了收尾。

他考虑到了一种可能性,那就是不会经常出现一种更加以人为中心的设计形式,使人新的返回技术创新的中心,但他大体上驳倒了这个可能性。The economic forces leading towards replacing people completely with software are simply too strong.用软件完全代替人工的经济推动力觉得过分强劲。

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Likewise, he holds out little hope that people will voluntarily turn their backs on the latest technology in favour of less sophisticated tools that demand more of them, but which are ultimately far more rewarding to use. The lure of labour-saving is too great.某种程度的,对于人类强迫舍弃近期的技术,转而用于更加必须人力、复杂程度较低、而且最后将更加有益使用者的工具,他也不抱着多少期望。省力的欲望过于大了。The hope arises, instead, from a belief that the social strains from the present wave of technological advance will force a reaction. Just four pages from the end, after contemplating the dire consequences of putting all the world’s workers out of work, he ventures: “To ensure society’s wellbeing in the future, we may need to place limits on automation.” Ideas of progress may have to change, he adds: today’s blinkered celebration of all forms of progress would need to be replaced by a more sophisticated approach that takes into account the social and personal consequences.忽略,我们不能期盼于这样一种信念,即当前的技术变革浪潮引起的社会压力不会被迫人们作出反应。在考虑到了让全世界劳动者失业的种种可怕后果之后,作者在离全书结尾只剩4页时大胆明确提出:“要保证未来社会的身体健康,我们也许必须对自动化加以容许。

”变革的概念也许也必须转变,他补足道:我们应当用一种更加成熟期的态度看来技术变革,将社会和个人影响划入考虑到,而不是像现今这样对任何形式的技术变革都盲目加以称赞。How to achieve a more balanced view of progress when all of today’s incentives are geared towards an ever-faster cycle of invention and deployment of new technologies? There is no room for an answer in this wide-ranging book. As ever, though, Carr’s skill is in setting the debate running, not finding answers.眼下,所有的鼓舞措施都在推展新技术的发明者和应用于周期减缓,如何在这种情况下构建更加全面地看来技术变革?这本书谈及了过于多问题,仅限于篇幅,无法为这一个问题寻找答案。不过,卡尔的长项仍然都是挑动辩论,而不是寻找答案。The Glass Cage: Where Automation Is Taking Us, by Nicholas Carr, Bodley Head RRP20/WWNorton RRP$26.95, 288 pages《身处自动化的玻璃牢笼》(The Glass Cage: Where Automation Is Taking Us),尼古拉斯卡尔(Nicholas Carr)著,288页,建议零售价20英镑(Bodley Head出版社)或26.。

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