您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 观点 >> 正文

人工智能对人类社会的真正威胁

更新时间:2017-6-26 10:09:21 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence
人工智能对人类社会的真正威胁

BEIJING — What worries you about the coming world of artificial intelligence?

北京——你对即将到来的人工智能世界有何担忧?

Too often the answer to this question resembles the plot of a sci-fi thriller. People worry that developments in A.I. will bring about the “singularity” — that point in history when A.I. surpasses human intelligence, leading to an unimaginable revolution in human affairs. Or they wonder whether instead of our controlling artificial intelligence, it will control us, turning us, in effect, into cyborgs.

这一问题的答案常常像是科幻惊悚片的情节。人们担心,人工智能的发展将催生技术史上的“奇点”——也就是人工智能超越人类智力极限,在人类事务领域引发无法想象的革命的时刻。他们想知道,为我们所控制的人工智能,是否会反过来控制我们,实际上把我们变成了赛博人。

These are interesting issues to contemplate, but they are not pressing. They concern situations that may not arise for hundreds of years, if ever. At the moment, there is no known path from our best A.I. tools (like the Google computer program that recently beat the world’s best player of the game of Go) to “general” A.I. — self-aware computer programs that can engage in common-sense reasoning, attain knowledge in multiple domains, feel, express and understand emotions and so on.

这些问题琢磨起来很有意思,但并不紧迫。人们担心的情况即便会发生,也要在千百年之后。我们目前还不知道,如何从我们最优秀的人工智能工具(例如最近击败了世界上最好的围棋手的谷歌计算机程序),走向“通用”人工智能,即拥有自我意识的计算机程序,可以进行常感推理,获取多个领域的知识,感知、表达和理解情绪等等。

This doesn’t mean we have nothing to worry about. On the contrary, the A.I. products that now exist are improving faster than most people realize and promise to radically transform our world, not always for the better. They are only tools, not a competing form of intelligence. But they will reshape what work means and how wealth is created, leading to unprecedented economic inequalities and even altering the global balance of power.

这并不意味着我们就没什么可担心的了。相反,现有的人工智能产品正以超出大多数人想象的速度得到改进,很有可能让我们的世界发生根本性改变——不一定就是变得更好。它们只是工具,而非某种与人类竞争的智慧形式。但它们将重塑工作的含义和财富的创造方式,引发前所未有的经济不平等,甚至改变全球力量均势。

It is imperative that we turn our attention to these imminent challenges.

我们必须把目光转向这些迫在眉睫的挑战。

What is artificial intelligence today? Roughly speaking, it’s technology that takes in huge amounts of information from a specific domain (say, loan repayment histories) and uses it to make a decision in a specific case (whether to give an individual a loan) in the service of a specified goal (maximizing profits for the lender). Think of a spreadsheet on steroids, trained on big data. These tools can outperform human beings at a given task.

今天的人工智能是什么?大致来说,它是一种从特定领域(例如贷款偿还记录)获取大量信息,并利用这些信息在特定情况下作出决定(是否贷款给某人),服务于特定目标(让贷方实现利润最大化)的技术。它就好比是打了鸡血——接受了大数据训练——的电子表格程序。执行特定任务时,这些工具的表现可以好于人类。

This kind of A.I. is spreading to thousands of domains (not just loans), and as it does, it will eliminate many jobs. Bank tellers, customer service representatives, telemarketers, stock and bond traders, even paralegals and radiologists will gradually be replaced by such software. Over time this technology will come to control semiautonomous and autonomous hardware like self-driving cars and robots, displacing factory workers, construction workers, drivers, delivery workers and many others.

这种人工智能正拓展至成千上万个领域(不只是贷款),在此过程中,它会让很多工作岗位消失。银行出纳员、客服代表、电话推销员、股票和债券交易员,甚至律师助理和放射科医师,都将逐渐被此类软件取而代之。假以时日,这种技术将会控制自动驾驶汽车、机器人等半自动化和自动化硬件,取代工厂工人、建筑工人、司机、快递员以及其他很多职业的从业者。

Unlike the Industrial Revolution and the computer revolution, the A.I. revolution is not taking certain jobs (artisans, personal assistants who use paper and typewriters) and replacing them with other jobs (assembly-line workers, personal assistants conversant with computers). Instead, it is poised to bring about a wide-scale decimation of jobs — mostly lower-paying jobs, but some higher-paying ones, too.

不同于工业革命和计算机革命,人工智能革命并不是让特定工作(工匠、使用纸笔和打字机的个人助理)消失,并代之以其他工作(装配线工人、熟练使用计算机的个人助理)。相反,它有可能造成工作岗位的大规模减少——其中大多是低薪岗位,但也会有一些高薪岗位。

This transformation will result in enormous profits for the companies that develop A.I., as well as for the companies that adopt it. Imagine how much money a company like Uber would make if it used only robot drivers. Imagine the profits if Apple could manufacture its products without human labor. Imagine the gains to a loan company that could issue 30 million loans a year with virtually no human involvement. (As it happens, my venture capital firm has invested in just such a loan company.)

这种转变将为开发人工智能以及运用人工智能的企业带来大量利润。想象一下,如果优步(Uber)之类的公司只使用机器人司机,会赚多少钱。想象一下,如果苹果(Apple)不使用人力就把产品生产出来,会有多少盈利。想象一下,如果一家贷款公司无需人力介入便可一年发放3000万笔贷款,会获得多少收益。(碰巧,我的风险投资公司已经投了这样一家贷款公司。)

We are thus facing two developments that do not sit easily together: enormous wealth concentrated in relatively few hands and enormous numbers of people out of work. What is to be done?

我们由此将面临两种无法和谐共存的新情况:大量财富集中到极少数人手中,大批人员失业。该做些什么?

Part of the answer will involve educating or retraining people in tasks A.I. tools aren’t good at. Artificial intelligence is poorly suited for jobs involving creativity, planning and “cross-domain” thinking — for example, the work of a trial lawyer. But these skills are typically required by high-paying jobs that may be hard to retrain displaced workers to do. More promising are lower-paying jobs involving the “people skills” that A.I. lacks: social workers, bartenders, concierges — professions requiring nuanced human interaction. But here, too, there is a problem: How many bartenders does a society really need?

其中一种对策是就人工智能并不擅长的任务,对人员进行教育和再培训。人工智能非常不适于从事涉及创造性、规划性和“跨域”思维的工作——比如庭审律师做的事情。但需要这些技能的通常是高薪工作,可能很难让经过再培训的失业工人去做。承载更多希望的是涉及人工智能所缺乏的“人际技能”的工作,比如社会工作者、调酒师、看门人——从事这些职业需要进行细微的人际互动。但这里也有一个问题:一个社会真正需要多少调酒师?

The solution to the problem of mass unemployment, I suspect, will involve “service jobs of love.” These are jobs that A.I. cannot do, that society needs and that give people a sense of purpose. Examples include accompanying an older person to visit a doctor, mentoring at an orphanage and serving as a sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous — or, potentially soon, Virtual Reality Anonymous (for those addicted to their parallel lives in computer-generated simulations). The volunteer service jobs of today, in other words, may turn into the real jobs of the future.

我猜想,大规模失业问题的解决方案会牵涉到“爱心服务工作”。这些工作人工智能做不了,社会需要,又能给人以使命感。例如陪伴老年人去看医生,在孤儿院教书,以及在匿名戒酒会——或者很快就可能出现的匿名戒断虚拟现实会(Virtual Reality Anonymous,面向的是那些沉湎于由计算机生成的模拟世界,对平行世界生活成瘾的人)——当一名协助人。换句话说,今天的志愿者服务工作或许可以在未来变成真正的工作。

Other volunteer jobs may be higher-paying and professional, such as compassionate medical service providers who serve as the “human interface” for A.I. programs that diagnose cancer. In all cases, people will be able to choose to work fewer hours than they do now.

其他一些志愿者工作或许薪水更高,也更具专业性,比如富于爱心的医疗服务提供者——充当诊断癌症的人工智能程序的“人机界面”。不管怎样,人们都将可以选择让自己的工作时间比现在短。

Who will pay for these jobs? Here is where the enormous wealth concentrated in relatively few hands comes in. It strikes me as unavoidable that large chunks of the money created by A.I. will have to be transferred to those whose jobs have been displaced. This seems feasible only through Keynesian policies of increased government spending, presumably raised through taxation on wealthy companies.

谁会为这些工作支付薪水?这时候那些有大量财富集中在少数人手中的领域就该起作用了。在我看来,由人工智能创造的财富有一大部分要不可避免地被转移给那些因之失去工作的人。看起来,这一点似乎只有通过实行增加政府开支的凯恩斯经济政策才能做到,而政府开支的增加或许可以通过对有钱的公司征税实现。

As for what form that social welfare would take, I would argue for a conditional universal basic income: welfare offered to those who have a financial need, on the condition they either show an effort to receive training that would make them employable or commit to a certain number of hours of “service of love” voluntarism.

至于这种社会福利将是什么形态,我会赞成提供一种有条件的普遍基本收入:也就是给有财务需求的人提供的福利,条件是他们要么显示出接受培训、以便让自己有受雇资格的努力,要么承诺做一定时长的志愿“爱心服务”。

To fund this, tax rates will have to be high. The government will not only have to subsidize most people’s lives and work; it will also have to compensate for the loss of individual tax revenue previously collected from employed individuals.

要给这些福利提供资金,势必要提高税率。政府不仅必须给大多数人的生活和工作提供补贴;还必须填补此前从受雇个体那里征收的个人税收的损失。

This leads to the final and perhaps most consequential challenge of A.I. The Keynesian approach I have sketched out may be feasible in the United States and China, which will have enough successful A.I. businesses to fund welfare initiatives via taxes. But what about other countries?

这会给人工智能带来最终、或许也是最重大的挑战。我设想的凯恩斯政策方案在美国和中国或许是可行的,这两个国家会有足够多成功的人工智能企业来通过税收资助福利措施。但其他国家呢?

They face two insurmountable problems. First, most of the money being made from artificial intelligence will go to the United States and China. A.I. is an industry in which strength begets strength: The more data you have, the better your product; the better your product, the more data you can collect; the more data you can collect, the more talent you can attract; the more talent you can attract, the better your product. It’s a virtuous circle, and the United States and China have already amassed the talent, market share and data to set it in motion.

它们将面临两个难以克服的问题。第一,由人工智能创造的大部分财富将流向美国和中国。人工智能是一个强者更强的行业:你获得的数据越多,产品就会越好;产品越好,收集的数据越多;数据越多,就能吸引更多人才;人才越多,产品也会越好。这是一个良性循环,美国和中国已经积聚了足够多的人才、市场份额和数据来启动这个循环。

For example, the Chinese speech-recognition company iFlytek and several Chinese face-recognition companies such as Megvii and SenseTime have become industry leaders, as measured by market capitalization. The United States is spearheading the development of autonomous vehicles, led by companies like Google, Tesla and Uber. As for the consumer internet market, seven American or Chinese companies — Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — are making extensive use of A.I. and expanding operations to other countries, essentially owning those A.I. markets. It seems American businesses will dominate in developed markets and some developing markets, while Chinese companies will win in most developing markets.

比如,以市值论,中国语音识别公司科大讯飞,以及旷视科技和商汤科技等几家中国面部识别公司已经成为所在行业的领导者。美国则引领着自驾车的发展,由谷歌、特斯拉(Tesla)和优步等公司占据领先地位。至于消费者互联网市场,有七家美国或中国公司——谷歌、Facebook、微软(Microsoft)、亚马逊(Amazon)、百度、阿里巴巴和腾讯——在大量运用人工智能,并扩展它们在其他国家的业务,基本已经占领了这些人工智能市场。看起来,美国的公司将主导发达国家市场和一些发展中国家市场,而中国企业将在大多数发展中国家市场获胜。

The other challenge for many countries that are not China or the United States is that their populations are increasing, especially in the developing world. While a large, growing population can be an economic asset (as in China and India in recent decades), in the age of A.I. it will be an economic liability because it will comprise mostly displaced workers, not productive ones.

中国和美国之外的许多国家面临的另一个挑战是,人口在增加,尤其是发展中世界。尽管不断增长的庞大人口也可以成为经济资本(就像中国和印度最近几十年的情况),但在人工智能时代,它会成为一个经济责任,因为这些人口会构成大多数的失业工人,而不是多产的员工。

So if most countries will not be able to tax ultra-profitable A.I. companies to subsidize their workers, what options will they have? I foresee only one: Unless they wish to plunge their people into poverty, they will be forced to negotiate with whichever country supplies most of their A.I. software — China or the United States — to essentially become that country’s economic dependent, taking in welfare subsidies in exchange for letting the “parent” nation’s A.I. companies continue to profit from the dependent country’s users. Such economic arrangements would reshape today’s geopolitical alliances.

所以如果大多数国家无法从利润极高的人工智能企业征税来补贴自己的工人,它们还有什么选择呢?我能想到的只有一个:除非它们愿意让民众陷入贫困,否则就必须与供应最多人工智能软件的国家——中国或美国——谈判,最终成为这个国家的经济依赖者,以允许“母”国的人工智能企业继续从依赖国的用户身上获利,来换取福利补贴。这样的经济安排将重塑现有的地缘政治联盟。

One way or another, we are going to have to start thinking about how to minimize the looming A.I.-fueled gap between the haves and the have-nots, both within and between nations. Or to put the matter more optimistically: A.I. is presenting us with an opportunity to rethink economic inequality on a global scale. These challenges are too far-ranging in their effects for any nation to isolate itself from the rest of the world.

无论如何,我们都必须开始考虑如何将日渐临近的、由人工智能加大的贫富差距最小化,不管是国内的,还是国与国之间的。要么就得把这件事看得更乐观一些:人工智能给我们提供一个在全球范围内重新思考经济不平等的机会。这些挑战太过广泛,任何国家都无法将自己孤立起来,独自解决。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表