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人工智能时代下人类所剩的最后价值

The last things that will make us uniquely human
人工智能时代下人类所剩的最后价值

One of the most consequential pieces of news from the US in early 2017 was not from the White House, or even the Twitter feed of Donald Trump. Rather, it was hidden in a report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and made available on the DMV’s website.

2017年初影响最深远的新闻之一不是来自白宫,甚至不是来自唐纳德·特朗普在推特上的推文,而是隐藏在向加州机动车辆管理局(California Department of Motor Vehicles)提交的一份报告中。这份报告可以在该部门的网站上获取。

It details the efforts of Google (or more precisely its Waymo subsidiary) to make autonomous driving a reality. According to the report, in 2016 Google’s self-driving cars clocked 635,868 miles (1,023,330km), and required human intervention 124 times. That is one intervention about every 5,000 miles (8,047km) of autonomous driving. But even more impressive is the progress in just a single year: human interventions fell from 0.8 times per thousand miles to 0.2, which translates into a 400% improvement. With such progress, Google’s cars will easily surpass my own driving ability later this year.

报告详细阐述了谷歌如何(或者更确切的说是谷歌的子公司Waymo)将无人驾驶汽车变成现实。根据该报告,2016年谷歌的无人驾驶汽车运行了1,023,330公里(635,868英里),在此过程中人工介入了124次。平均每8,047公里干预一次。但是更为惊人的是它在一年时间里的进步:人工干预从每千英里干预0.8次,下降到0.2次,相当于提高了400%。按照这样的发展速度,到今年年底谷歌汽车的驾驶水平将超过我本人。
Driving once seemed to be a very human skill. But we said that about chess, too. Then a computer beat the human world champion, repeatedly. The strategy board game Go took over from chess as the litmus test for human thinking; until 2016, when a computer bested one of the world’s leading professional Go players. IBM’s Watson aced Jeopardy – another supposedly human domain – in 2011, and is now dividing its time between identifying cancerous moles and cooking up creative recipes, among other things.

开车曾经被认为是人类特有的一项技能。我们以前说国际象棋也属于此类技能。但是后来计算机多次了打败国际象棋的世界冠军。后来战略棋类游戏围棋取代了国际象棋,成为人类思维的决定性测试方法。不过这只维持到2016年,计算机打败了一名世界一流的职业围棋选手。在2011年,IBM的超级电脑华生(Watson)在电视问答节目Jeopardy——又一个理应属于人类的领域——中获胜。现在它还把一部分时间分给寻找癌症相关的标志物和制作创意菜谱等工作。

With computers conquering what used to be deeply human tasks – those that require knowledge, strategy, even creativity – what will it mean in the future to be human?

随着计算机在人类擅长的任务,比如那些需要知识、策略甚至创造力的任务中取得节节胜利,那么未来人类存在的意义是什么?

Some are worried that self-driving cars and trucks may displace millions of professional drivers (they are right), and disrupt entire industries (yup!). But I worry about my six-year-old son. What will his place be in a world where machines trounce us in one area after another? What will he do, and how will he relate to these ever-smarter machines? What will be his and his human peers’ contribution to the world he’ll live in?

一些人担心无人驾驶汽车和卡车可能会取代数百万专职司机(他们是正确的),并可能颠覆整个行业(对!)。但是我担心的是我六岁的儿子。随着机器在一个又一个领域超越人类,他在未来世界的地位会变成怎样?他会做什么工作?他和这些无比聪明的机器之间将是怎样的关系?他以及他的同辈将为这个世界作出怎样的贡献?

He’ll never calculate faster, or solve a math equation quicker. He’ll never type faster, never drive better, or even fly more safely. He may continue to play chess with his friends, but because he’s a human he will no longer stand a chance to ever become the best chess player on the planet. He might still enjoy speaking multiple languages (as he does now), but in his professional life that may not be a competitive advantage anymore, given recent improvements in real-time machine translation.

他的算数或解方程式的速度不会变得更快。他的打字速度也不会更快,开车水平不会变得更好,开飞机也不会更加安全。他可能还会和朋友下国际象棋,但是因为他是人类,他不再有可能成为地球上最厉害的国际象棋选手。他可能会说多国语言(他现在就可以),但是鉴于最近实时机器翻译的发展,这在他的职业生涯中也将不再是竞争优势。

Actually, it all comes down to a fairly simple question: What’s so special about us, and what’s our lasting value? It can’t be skills like arithmetic or typing, which machines already excel in. Nor can it be rationality, because with all our biases and emotions we humans are lacking.

事实上,归根到底就是一个相当简单的问题:我们的特别之处是什么?我们的长远价值是什么?不可能是机器已经超过人类的那些技能,比如算数或打字。也不可能是理性,因为偏见和情感让我们缺乏理性。

So perhaps we might want to consider qualities at a different end of the spectrum: radical creativity, irrational originality, even a dose of plain illogical craziness, instead of hard-nosed logic. A bit of Kirk instead of Spock. So far, machines have a pretty hard time emulating these qualities: the crazy leaps of faith, arbitrary enough to not be predicted by a bot, and yet more than simple randomness. Their struggle is our opportunity.

那么,可能我们需要考虑相反的一个极端:激进的创造力,非理性的原创性,甚至是毫无逻辑的慵懒,而非顽固的逻辑。到目前为止,机器还很难模仿人的这些特质:怀着信仰放手一搏,机器无法预测的随意性,但又不是简单的随机。他们感到困难的地方正是我们的机会。

I am not suggesting we give up on reason, logic, and critical thinking. In fact, precisely because I think so highly of the values we associate with rationality and enlightenment do I believe we might want to celebrate a bit of the opposite.

我并不是建议我们要放弃理性、逻辑和批判性思维。事实上,恰恰是因为我们如此重视与理性和启蒙有关的价值,所以我们才需要支持一下与之相反的东西。

I am not a luddite either. Quite on the contrary. See, if we continue to improve information processing machines and make them adapt and learn from every interaction with the world, from every bit of data fed to them, we’ll soon have helpful rational assistants. They’ll empower us to overcome some of our very human limitations in translating information into rational decisions. And they’ll get better and better at it.

我也不是卢德派(luddite),而是恰恰相反。如果我们继续完善信息处理机器,让它们适应并学习世界上的所有互动和所有数据,我们很快就会拥有理智的得力助手。他们会帮助我们克服在把信息转化为理性决定方面的局限性。它们的能力会越来越强。

So we must aim our human contribution to this division of labour to complement the rationality of the machines, rather than to compete with it. Because that will sustainably differentiate us from them, and it is differentiation that creates value.

所以,我们必须着眼于人类对劳动分工的贡献,对机器的理性进行补充,而非试图与它竞争。由于这样做会让我们与机器产生差异,而正是这种差异化会创造价值。

If I am right, we should foster a creative spirit, irreverent takes, even irrational ideas as we educate our children. Not because irrationality is bliss, but because a dose of illogical creativity will complement the rationality of the machine. It’ll keep guaranteeing us a place on the table of evolution.

如果我是对的,那么我们应该在教育孩子时加强创新精神,培养挑战权威的意识,甚至是非理性的想法。并不是因为非理性是福佑,而是因为非理性的创造力是对机器理性的补充。它能确保我们在进化的舞台上占有一席之地。

Unfortunately, however, our education system has not caught up to the impending reality of this Second Machine Age. Much like peasants stuck in preindustrial thinking, our schools and universities are structured to mould pupils to be mostly obedient servants of rationality, and to develop outdated skills in interacting with outdated machines.

然而,不幸的是,我们的教育体系尚未赶上即将来临的第二次机器时代。我们的学校和大学就像囿于前工业思维的农民一样,其结构主要是为了把学生塑造成理性、服从的仆人,培养与过时的机器互动的过时技能。

If we take seriously the challenge posed by the machine, we need to change that, and swiftly. Of course, we need to continue to teach the importance of fact-based rationality, and how better facts lead to better decisions. We need to help our children learn how to best work with smart computers to improve human decision-making. But most of all we need to keep the long-term perspective in mind: that even if computers will outsmart us, we can still be the most creative act in town, if we embrace creativity as one of the defining values of humanness. Like funnily irrational ideas, or grand emotions.

如果我们严肃对待机器带来的挑战,我们就需要尽快改变这一点。当然,我们的教育仍需要重视从事实出发的理性以及更好的事实会导向更好的决策。我们需要帮助孩子学习如何与智能电脑合作,从而提高人类的决策能力。但是,大多数人需要记住这个长远观点:即使电脑比我们更加聪明,我们的创造力仍然是最强的,前提是我们支持把创造力归为人类特有的价值之一。比如好笑的非理性想法或者宏大的情感。

Because if we don’t, we won’t be providing much value in the ecosystem of the future, and that may put in question the foundation for our existence.

因为如果我们不这样做,我们就无法在未来的生态系统中提供多大的价值,这就对我们存在的基础提出了质疑。

We better start now. Because when the existence and purpose of humanity is at stake, focusing on partisan politics and the social media outpourings of the US president is little more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

我们最好现在就行动起来。因为当这已经关系到人类的存在和目的时,一天到晚关注政党恶斗和社交媒体网红人物就好比是在泰坦尼克号上重新排列甲板上的椅子一样毫无意义。
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