[Reading 13] Piracy….ehhhh

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that makes it an actual criminal offense for producing and spreading technology, devices, or services that are used to get around safeguard against copyright infringements. The main thing it is concerned with is the liability (or not) of internet sites in which copyright infringements take place by its users. It recognizes that piracy is very real and is unacceptable, and requires for routes to report infringements on these sites. There are certain “safe-harbors” for these internet service providers that protect them from the consequences of their user’s actions that lead to violations of copyright infringements. A lot of people have major problems with the law written the way it is, and it’s being challenged quite often.

I would say it is technically unethical for users to download or share copyrighted material because it’s against the law. The law was set up for a reason and therefore should be followed. If someone owns a version in another format, then they technically should just use that format. Realistically if they already bought a CD with a song, I think it is pretty reasonable to upload it to your computer as long as you’re not sharing it with others. If they just wanted to do some “sampling” or “testing” of the material but not keep it or spread it, then it really should matter. The problem is that it is basically impossible to know whether someone really deletes it afterward or not.

So really my justification was that “I didn’t know if it’s illegal so I just won’t ask”

Personally, now that I think about it, I have participated in the sharing of copyrighted material. Mainly through websites that take youtube videos and make mp3s out of them. That’s how I got all my first saved music. It was quite the arduous process to do each song that way, and sometimes it would have some weird ad at the end of the video so the songs would not end well. I’m not sure if I knew it was technically illegal, but I kind of decided to not think or ask about it. So really my justification was that “I didn’t know if it’s illegal so I just won’t ask”. I think this is what most people do. But it’s also pretty easy to just not care about downloading music or even movies illegally. People are pretty entitled to being able to listen to and watch whatever they want, so I think they really don’t consider it to have a negative effect on anything. There have been many times when someone just finds a movie on a site that I guess was illegal. The attitude toward it is very nonchalant and dismissive of any threat of getting caught.

I also think the artists whose music is being pirated really aren’t suffering too much as a result.

Honestly, with the rise of these new streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify, I think it cuts down greatly on illegal music sharing. It’s just so much easier to pay for the service and have really good quality stuff. The technology has become worth the cost. The cost outweighs the hassle you’d have to go through to get things illegally. Even longtime pirates have switched over. While I think it’s made piracy decrease a lot, people still find it very easy to keep pirating music and movies for the sake of not paying a subscription. I really don’t think there is going to ever be an end to piracy altogether. The best thing to do is to keep trying to shut down websites whose sole purpose is to pirate movies or music. Many of them are just an easy google search away. I also think the artists whose music is being pirated really aren’t suffering too much as a result. It could potentially be costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars, but when you’re as rich as they already are, I’m not losing sleep over it at night.

[Reading 11] AI will never become a Conscience Being

Artificial Intelligence(AI) is basically when I computer can do something that would normally be associated with a human person acting intelligently. How it goes through the process of doing so is not important, but the fact that it can do it is generally the criteria. It turns out there are more specific types of AI: Strong AI, weak AI, and the things in between. Strong AI is AI that is aimed at genuinely simulating human reasoning that can be used to not only build systems that think, but also to explain how humans think as well. There has yet to be a system that can do this, but it is what many are ardently attempting. Weak AI, on the other hand, is just aimed at getting systems to work. It is systems that can behave like humans, but the results will tell us nothing about how humans think. An example of this is the chess playing Deep Blue, a system developed by IBM. In 1997 it was the first machine to defeat a chess master. The in-between AI systems aim to be inspired by human reasoning, but are not totally concerned with going about things the exact same way. An example of this is Jeopardy winning Watson, also developed by IBM.  Overall, the important thing here is that in order for a system to be considered AI, it doesn’t have to work in the same way humans do. It just needs to be smart.

I think that AI is very different from human intelligence because it really has no way of computing feelings. No matter how good it is at reasoning through information, there will never be a true emotional response. Never that feeling in the chest when something hurts you. They may be able to be programmed to simulate a similar response to inputs, but the actual substance of emotion and empathy will never be there. This is what I think the main different is.

According to the technical definition, AlphaGoDeep BlueWatson, and AlphaZero are all AI. But when it comes down to it yes I think they are all basically just interesting tricks or gimmicks. I mean its great that we have something that can, for information sake, be an extremely smart person. This can help is an incredible number of ways scientifically. With such a high level of technical intelligence, an AI program might be able to discover the cure to any number of diseases. Because of its extremely high capacity of information storage and analysis, this seems likely to me. But in the end it’s just a tool that humans will be using toward our own end. They are not an end in themselves.

The Turing test seems like quite the arbitrary measurement. Where does this 30% number come from? And why does it even matter if a computer can convince someone it is a human in light conversation? Is that somehow reflective of a functioning brain. I think the Chinese Room is a great counter argument to the Turing Test and is basically what I was saying before. It’s great if something gets really good at manipulating inputs to produce an output that is identical to a human being, but that is not what makes something human at all.

The only concern I see is the fact that since computers don’t have empathy, the human aspect of mercy will not be present if the particular AI is used for evil of some sort. A computing system cannot be considered to have a mind, or even be subject to morality in itself. Any moral questions are placed on the creator of the program if it is doing something evil. Humans are so much more than just a biological computer. Humans have immortal souls. We have spirits. These kinds of things cannot, and will never be able to be programmed into any AI.