The Context

A day or two ago, I spoke to my phone, “Ok, Google. How much did Bruce Lee weigh?”


My phone answered, “Bruce Lee weighed 141 lbs.”


Instead of using the wake-up phrase again, I touched the microphone icon on the screen of my phone, and asked, “How much did Abdul Kareem-Jabbar weigh?”


My phone answered, “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighs 247 lbs.”


I saw a Bruce Lee movie at the Shenandoah Theater in south St. Louis about fifty years ago in which Bruce Lee fought a character who was played by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bruce Lee won, and it looked believable even though Kareem knew some martial arts.


On Sunday, July 29, at about 6:30 am, I was riding my bicycle to look at my garden plot in the Fresh Starts Community Garden at the corner of Glasgow and Dayton in north St. Louis. Only two blocks from the Heritage House apartment building, which is at the corner of Olive and Leffingwell, I saw two young men walking towards me on Leffingwell. I noticed that they noticed me, and that they left the sidewalk to put them on an intercept course with me.


This suddenly felt like a predator versus prey situation, and I was not the predator. I turned around, and started peddling back towards Olive as fast as I could. At least one of them chased me, and I could hear his footsteps getting closer as it took me a few seconds to get up to full speed. He was yelling something hostile at me, but I ignored that in order to give my full attention to peddling as fast as I could. I got away.


That is a very tiny piece of context for all of the things that are going on in the world right now.


If the average IQ for a person is 100, would it be accurate to say that the best of machine intelligence in the world right now has an IQ of 25? A person with an IQ of 25 might not be verbal. It might not be possible to have a conversation with a person whose IQ was 25. That person would be very limited.


If we are at an inflection point in the growth curve of machine intelligence, could digital assistants reach an IQ of 50 after just one more doubling, and an IQ of 100 after two more doublings? What is the period of doubling, eighteen months? Will we be able to have intelligent conversations with our digital agents between eighteen months and three years from now?


I like the word “agent” because it means someone who acts on behalf of someone else.


I could use help. There is within the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the text, “to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall...” That’s the part I need help with, the keeping constantly in mind thing.


I think that Jaybay, the name I want to give to my digital agent that I will begin training about eighteen months from now, will have enough memory capacity that it will be able to keep the Universal Declaration in memory at all times. Any part of it, or all of it, could be accessed in nanoseconds, which is billionths of seconds, by some active process in my device’s processor.


Jaybay will be monitoring my immediate environment as well as events at the global scale in order to help me find the path for maximizing my chances for success.


It is my opinion that if we get better at observing the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter, the less likely it is that I will encounter another predator versus prey situation.


John Kintree

August 6, 2018