Created 26th March 2018
Has Ken Dodd proved Amazon AI a dud?
The recent sad death of Ken Dodd (and presumably his Diddy Men, who, it is rumoured, will be buried alongside him) has raised a question in an unexpected area; that of artificial intelligence.
It has long been debated as to whether a computer could be seen as alive or sentient and what criteria it would need to meet for it to be called such.
It’s unlikely that a computer or machine would ever be called alive, as being alive implies being biological, and until we start growing them in the laboratory, they could not be classed as living.
Another way to look at it would be to ask if the computer is conscious. Some argue that to be conscious you should be aware of your surroundings, but it runs far deeper than that, which brings us to the rather tenuous link to Ken Dodd.
Shortly after the death of the pride of Knotty Ash, comedian Gary Delaney posted a tribute to Ken on his Twitter account and others joined in posting their own jokes in memory of Doddy. All was fine until someone unwittingly used the hashtag @AmazonUK in their comment. You can see a screenshot on Gary’s Facebook wall.
It’s a failure of AI – rather like the many times Honda’s ASIMO human-like robot has fallen down the stairs. It elicits human emotions – I almost feel sorry for him. But he is just a robot.
What followed prompted me to think that even though the likes of Amazon and Google are at the cutting edge of AI development and utilise it throughout the services they supply, we are still a long way away from a computer that could be called alive.
One milestone in the road to AI is the “Turing test” and it’s claimed that a computer programme named “Eugene Goostman” passed the test back in 2014 but to my mind, though, until we can build a sense of humour into our computers, we’re not there yet.