Siri as a therapist, Apple is seeking engineers who understand psychology

PL – Looks like Siri needs more help to understand.

Apple Job Opening Ad

“People have serious conversations with Siri. People talk to Siri about all kinds of things, including when they’re having a stressful day or have something serious on their mind. They turn to Siri in emergencies or when they want guidance on living a healthier life. Does improving Siri in these areas pique your interest?

Come work as part of the Siri Domains team and make a difference.

We are looking for people passionate about the power of data and have the skills to transform data to intelligent sources that will take Siri to next level. Someone with a combination of strong programming skills and a true team player who can collaborate with engineers in several technical areas. You will thrive in a fast-paced environment with rapidly changing priorities.”

The challenge as explained by Ephrat Livni on Quartz

The position requires a unique skill set. Basically, the company is looking for a computer scientist who knows algorithms and can write complex code, but also understands human interaction, has compassion, and communicates ably, preferably in more than one language. The role also promises a singular thrill: to “play a part in the next revolution in human-computer interaction.”

The job at Apple has been up since April, so maybe it’s turned out to be a tall order to fill. Still, it shouldn’t be impossible to find people who are interested in making machines more understanding. If it is, we should probably stop asking Siri such serious questions.

Computer scientists developing artificial intelligence have long debated what it means to be human and how to make machines more compassionate. Apart from the technical difficulties, the endeavor raises ethical dilemmas, as noted in the 2012 MIT Press book Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics.

Even if machines could be made to feel for people, it’s not clear what feelings are the right ones to make a great and kind advisor and in what combinations. A sad machine is no good, perhaps, but a real happy machine is problematic, too.

In a chapter on creating compassionate artificial intelligence (pdf), sociologist, bioethicist, and Buddhist monk James Hughes writes:

Programming too high a level of positive emotion in an artificial mind, locking it into a heavenly state of self-gratification, would also deny it the capacity for empathy with other beings’ suffering, and the nagging awareness that there is a better state of mind.

Source: Quartz

 

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The Rock Teases Surprise Movie With Siri as co-star #AI

Johnson took to Instagram to announce what seems to be a film project with Apple entitled Dominate The Day.

“I partnered with Apple to make the biggest, coolest, sexiest, craziest, dopest, most over the top, funnest (is that even a word?) movie ever made,” Johnson wrote in an Instagram caption showing a poster for the upcoming project. “And I have the greatest co-star of all time, Siri. I make movies for the world to enjoy and we also made this one to motivate you to get out there and get the job done. I want you to watch it, have fun with it and then go live it.”

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Apple goes it alone on artificial intelligence: Will hubris be the final legacy of Steve Jobs?

Apple founder Steve Jobs as ‘the son of a migrant from Syria’; mural by Banksy,at the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais, France, December 2015

Apple founder Steve Jobs as ‘the son of a migrant from Syria’; mural by Banksy,at the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais, France, December 2015

Apple’s release of Siri, the iPhone’s “virtual assistant,” a day after Jobs’s death, is as good a prognosticator as any that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be central to Apple’s next generation of products, as it will be for the tech industry more generally … A device in which these capabilities are much strengthened would be able to achieve, in real time and in multiple domains, the very thing Steve Jobs sought all along: the ability to give people what they want before they even knew they wanted it.

What this might look like was demonstrated earlier this year, not by Apple but by Google, at its annual developer conference, where it unveiled an early prototype of Now on Tap. What Tap does, essentially, is mine the information on one’s phone and make connections between it. For example, an e-mail from a friend suggesting dinner at a particular restaurant might bring up reviews of that restaurant, directions to it, and a check of your calendar to assess if you are free that evening. If this sounds benign, it may be, but these are early days—the appeal to marketers will be enormous.

Google is miles ahead of Apple with respect to AI and machine learning. This stands to reason, in part, because Google’s core business emanates from its search engine, and search engines generate huge amounts of data. But there is another reason, too, and it loops back to Steve Jobs and the culture of secrecy he instilled at Apple, a culture that prevails. As Tim Cook told Charlie Rose during that 60 Minutes interview, “one of the great things about Apple is that [we] probably have more secrecy here than the CIA.”

This institutional ethos appears to have stymied Apple’s artificial intelligence researchers from collaborating or sharing information with others in the field, crimping AI development and discouraging top researchers from working at Apple. “The really strong people don’t want to go into a closed environment where it’s all secret,” Yoshua Benigo, a professor of computer science at the University of Montreal told Bloomberg Business in October. “The differentiating factors are, ‘Who are you going to be working with?’ ‘Am I going to stay a part of the scientific community?’ ‘How much freedom will I have?’”

Steve Jobs had an abiding belief in freedom—his own. As Gibney’s documentary, Boyle’s film, and even Schlender and Tetzeli’s otherwise friendly assessment make clear, as much as he wanted to be free of the rules that applied to other people, he wanted to make his own rules that allowed him to superintend others. The people around him had a name for this. They called it Jobs’s “reality distortion field.” And so we are left with one more question as Apple goes it alone on artificial intelligence: Will hubris be the final legacy of Steve Jobs?

Source: The New York Review of Books

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