2021年3月20日 - 科技

本文摘要:One day last week at 9.29am I hunched nervously over my keyboard and prepared to do battle with an entity called Emma. We were each primed to write about the official UK employment data at 9.30am and file our stories to my editor. I was sure Emma would be quicker than me, but I really hoped I would be better.最近,一天早晨9点29分,我刀着身子紧绷地盯着键盘,打算与一台取名为爱玛(Emma)的机器一决雌雄。


One day last week at 9.29am I hunched nervously over my keyboard and prepared to do battle with an entity called Emma. We were each primed to write about the official UK employment data at 9.30am and file our stories to my editor. I was sure Emma would be quicker than me, but I really hoped I would be better.最近,一天早晨9点29分,我刀着身子紧绷地盯着键盘,打算与一台取名为爱玛(Emma)的机器一决雌雄。我们都打算在9点30分编写一篇有关英国官方低收入数据的文章,然后把文章提交给我的编辑。我确认爱玛不会比我速度快,但我知道期望我会写出得更佳。

Her creator, a start-up called Stealth, calls her an “autonomous artificial intelligence” designed to deliver professional services such as research and analysis. Since it is fashionable to predict that AI will supplant white-collar workers including journalists, I wanted to put it to the test.她的创造者、取名为Stealth的初创企业把她称为“自律人工智能”,目的获取研究和分析等专业服务。如今,预测人工智能将代替白领员工(还包括记者在)是件时髦的事,所以我期望测试一下。Emma was indeed quick: she filed in 12 minutes to my 35. Her copy was also better than I expected. Her facts were right and she even included relevant context such as the possibility of Brexit (although she was of the dubious opinion that it would be a “tailwind” for the UK economy). But to my relief, she lacked the most important journalistic skill of all: the ability to distinguish the newsworthy from the dull. While she correctly pointed out the jobless rate was unchanged, she overlooked that the number of jobseekers had risen for the first time in almost a year.爱玛显然速度迅速:她12分钟就递交了,我用了35分钟。




In truth, most people who work on artificial intelligence admit it is not going to make humans obsolete any time soon. It is simply not intelligent enough yet. What is beginning to happen, though, is more subtle but no less important. The lines are beginning to blur between work done by humans and that done by machines.实质上,专门从事人工智能研发工作的多数人否认,它会迅速出局人类。它就是还过于聪慧。

现在开始再次发生的情况更为错综复杂,但也很最重要。人类和机器继续执行的工作之间的界限开始显得模糊起来。For some workers, this could be a boon. I could imagine a scenario where an entity like Emma could do rudimentary reports on repetitive data releases, then send them to a human editor to newsify and beautify. The Associated Press already uses a program called Automated Insights to write simple corporate results stories. In these cases, humans have the advantage: machines not obliterating them but taking over the boring bits of their jobs so they can spend more time on the creative or valuable parts.对于一些工作者而言,这有可能是件好事。

我可以假设这样一幅场景:类似于爱玛的一台机器可以就重复性的数据公布撰写报导初稿,然后发送给人类编辑制成新闻并修饰语句。美联社(Associated Press)早已在用于一个取名为Automated Insights的程序编写非常简单的公司业绩报导。在这些情况下,人类具备优势:机器没出局人类,而是代替了人类工作中无趣的部分,使人类能把更好时间花上在有创新或有价值的工作上。But not all humans are moving up the value chain. There are some boring tasks at which machines are very bad. An army of low-paid people are quietly doing them instead.但并非所有人都在向价值链上方移动。


Take the workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a site run by the online retailer where “requesters” pay “Turkers” to do simple microtasks that are tricky for machines but easy (if dull) for humans: transcribing audio clips; tagging photos with relevant keywords; copying photocopied receipts into spreadsheets. Amazon calls these “human intelligence tasks”, or HITs, and they tend to pay a few cents apiece. The name Mechanical Turk comes from a fake chess-playing machine from the 18th century: while it looked like an automaton, a person was secretly hiding inside.以亚马逊(Amazon)土耳其机器人(Mechanical Turk)的工作者为事例,这是该在线零售商经营的一个网站,让“请求者”收费给“土耳其工人”(Turkers)继续执行一些非常简单的小任务,这些任务对于机器来说很难,但对人类而言却非常更容易(只是些乏味):把录音整理成文字记录;为照片张贴上涉及关键词作为标签;把打印的收据载入电子表格。亚马逊称作“人类智能任务”,往往每个任务收费几美分。

Mechanical Turk的名字源于18世纪一台欺诈的对局机器:这台机器看起来是自动化,只不过有真人藏在机器内部。Pinterest is a good example of a company that uses sites like this. One developer explains in a recent blog how it uses “crowdworkers” to evaluate the appropriateness of the “trending searches” generated by its computers. Humans are still better at making these judgments than machines. “We’ve built ‘artificial’ artificial intelligence,” she concluded.Pinterest就是一个公司利用这类网站的很好例子。一位研发员在最近一篇博文中说明了如何利用“众包在工作者”评估电脑分解的“趋势搜寻”否适合。人类仍比机器更加擅长于作出这些评判。

她得出结论称之为:“我们打造出了‘人为’的人工智能。”Some of the new chatbot and AI services also have people hiding inside: “humans pretending to be robots pretending to be humans”, as Bloomberg put it in a recent exposé. These people often review and edit AI-generated responses before they are sent.正如彭博(Bloomberg)最近在一篇透露内幕的报导中所言,一些新的聊天机器人和人工智能服务也有人类藏在里面:“人类假装是机器人,再行由机器人假装人类”。这些人往往会在由人工智能分解的恢复被发送到之前对其展开编导。


What about Emma? Is there a human lurking behind her? Shaunak Khire, co-founder of Stealth, says Emma has a team of human “trainers” but insists the output is all her own.爱玛呢?有人藏在她身后吗?Stealth牵头创始人Shaunak Khire回应,爱玛享有一个由人类“教练”构成的团队,但他否认,她是几乎独立国家已完成工作的。It is always going to be hard for laypeople using these services to know for sure.用于这些服务的外行人要确认这点总是很难。

Jeff Bigham, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, works as an adviser to Emma’s creators. He wants to find ways to make crowdwork less mindless and more fulfilling; for example, by making it a means to acquire skills. He asks himself: “What would make me proud to have my daughter grow up to be a crowdworker?” Even then, it is not clear how long this sort of work will last.卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)嵌入式研究所(Human-Computer Interaction Institute)助理教授杰夫比格姆(Jeff Bigham)是爱玛创造者的顾问。他期望寻找让众包在工作不那么机械而更加有成就感的方法;比如让它沦为一种提供技能的方式。他回答自己:“有什么能让我因为自己的女儿长大后沦为一名众包在工作者而深感自豪呢?”尽管那样,我们不确切这类工作不会持续多久。

He explains that when humans perform tasks that machines cannot yet do, they create an exhaust of “training data” from which AI can learn. In other words, all those crowdworkers and chatbot editors are working steadily towards their own obsolescence.他说明道,当人类继续执行机器尚能无法继续执行的任务时,他们不会产生海量“培训数据”,人工智能可借此自学。换句话说,所有这些众包在工作者和聊天机器人编辑天天在为出局自己工作着。

Should you welcome or fear the rise of intelligent machines? That depends on whether they will be working for you, or you will be working for them.你是应当青睐还是担忧智能机器的兴起呢?这各不相同他们将为你工作还是你将为他们工作。