In short the long-tail problem exists as a result of AIs’ attempts to interpolate an arguably infinite number of circumstantial oneofs, or “edge cases” as termed in machine learning parlance, comprised of all those odd or unique situations which can arise in our diverse world. Human beings are inherently able to associate situational data into often many coherent interrelated groupings and sub-groups, and adapt quickly to slight but contextually significant changes, whereas AI in it’s current state often struggles to incorporate subtle new conditions into existing frameworks.
Computer scientists and AI researcher Ali Yahya explains some fine points around this complex topic…
In the past decade, our progress in Artificial Intelligence has been staggering. We’ve gone from barely detecting cats in YouTube videos to building cars that can drive themselves. And yet, as our aspirations for AI have become grander, it has slowly become a game that only tech giants can play. The knowledge and resources that are necessary to innovate in the space are now simply out of reach for most individuals and startups. How can we change that? The only answer is to build new technology that levels the playing field.
A common refrain in 2018 was “AI is communist; crypto is libertarian.” It was said first by Peter Thiel as a tongue-in-cheek observation that, while crypto is a technology movement that strives to decentralize power, AI is another that can’t seem to help but centralize it. This might ring true: crypto is a technology that is all about building systems that are owned and controlled by diverse communities, whereas AI today is one that relies on consolidation of data and tends to supercharge a central entity’s ability to make top-down decisions.
But what if such intelligence could actually emerge bottom up? What if it could be born, not from the efforts of just one company, but from the aggregate knowledge of countless people working independently from far afield to contribute diverse signal to the collective?
A Decentralized World Computer
At its heart, crypto is a tech movement that offers us new tools for the bottom-up governance of large systems. The very term “decentralization” in the space refers to a class of power structures whose balance is tilted in favor of communities instead of central points of control.
The tools for decentralization that crypto has brought to bear have led us to build a kind of logical “world computer.” It is made up of a distributed network of physical machines that are owned and operated by members of a broad community. Ethereum is the first example of such a computer. It extended the ideas behind Bitcoin by including support for a general purpose programming language. Since then, it has unquestionably become one of the most important projects in the space.
But why is this kind of computer even useful?