This week we have learned that the Urgent Spanish Foundation (FundéuRAE), promoted by the EFE Agency and the Royal Spanish Academy, has chosen as the word(s) or expression for 2022: ‘artificial intelligence’. But I think that most people don’t know what ‘artificial intelligence’ is, but they also don’t know what ‘intelligence’ is, either plain or human (‘artificial’ is easier and more intuitive).
The RAE Dictionary of the Spanish Language says that ‘intelligence’ derives from the Latin ‘intelligentia’ and that it is the “ability to understand or comprehend”. And that ‘artificial intelligence’ (in computing) is the “scientific discipline that deals with creating computer programs that execute operations comparable to those carried out by the human mind, such as learning or logical reasoning”.
But a brief etymological investigation of the term ‘intelligence’ may provide us with some more clues about its original meaning and its subsequent evolution. According to the Brief Etymological Dictionary of the Castilian Language, by Catalan Joan Corominas, the Latin noun ‘intelligentia’ comes from the present (active) participle ‘intelligens’ of the verb ‘intelligere’, which, in turn, derives from ‘inter’+’ legere’.
‘Legere’ originally meant ‘to pick, choose’ and that is where ‘select’, ‘collect’ or ‘gather’ come from (the ripe fruit, in a primitive agricultural society). E ‘inter’ is the preposition ‘between’. So the verb ‘inter’+’legere’ would mean ‘choose between’ (several options). The intelligent person is the one who, among several options, knows how to choose the best one, because he is the one who knows or understands a subject.
But there is another possible etymological explanation that I personally like very much and that is not contradictory to the previous one, but complements it well. ‘Legere’ also means ‘to read’ and ‘inter’+’legere’ would be the ability to ‘read between’ (lines). And, indeed, the intelligent person is the one who is capable of seeing things that others do not see and that helps them choose the best option among several possible ones.
2022, the year of Artificial Intelligence
Many say, not only the FundéuRAE, that 2022 has been the year of artificial intelligence. Although it would be more accurate to say that it has been the year in which artificial intelligence has ‘exploded’ (there has been a real boom) or has become popular, because artificial intelligence has existed since 1956, when the American computer scientist coined the term John McCarthy, at the Dartmouth Conference.
Much of the credit for the popularization of artificial intelligence in 2022 has gone to companies like OpenAI, which define themselves as “a research and implementation company for Artificial General Intelligence (highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at work economically). most valuable), whose mission is to ensure that all humanity is benefited”.
“The non-profit organization was created in 2015 and aims to ‘collaborate freely’ with other institutions and researchers by making their patents and research open to the public. The founders (notably Elon Musk and Sam Altman) are motivated in part by suspicions about the existential risk of artificial general intelligence.
In June 2018 OpenAI presented GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), “an ‘autoregressive’ language model that uses deep learning to produce texts that simulate human writing”. In May 2020, the 3rd version was opened to the public: GPT-3, and in November 2022, the chatGPT application, which interacts conversationally and has caused a real sensation.
In January 2021, OpenAI introduced DALL E (a name between WALL-e and Dali). “an AI system that creates realistic images from a natural language description.” A year later, in April 2022, DALL E 2 was released, a new version that generates more realistic and accurate images with four times higher resolution and is available in beta version, with ‘security mitigations’.
2023 will be an even smarter year
But OpenAI is not the only company or institution that is doing great things in artificial intelligence and 2023 will undoubtedly be an even smarter year than 2022. Because this has only just begun. AI is in its infancy and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, anticipated that artificial intelligence technologies will come in the future that will seem like a ‘boring toy’ to ChatGPT.
The European Union has its own Strategy and Approach and Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence, based on excellence and trust, within which a proposal for a Regulation on Artificial Intelligence is being processed, which addresses the risks to fundamental rights and the security of uses of AI and which will probably be approved during the Spanish Presidency of the EU.
In Spain, the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence has designed a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (ENIA), among whose lines of work for 2023 is the realization of a first pilot of the AI regulation sandbox in the EU and the start-up of the Spanish Agency for the Supervision of Artificial Intelligence (in A Coruña) and 32 AI chairs.
So let’s all get ready to use Artificial Intelligence in the new year, which not only has risks (which, without a doubt, it does, both legal and ethical, which must be monitored), but also offers us great opportunities. The smartest thing to do is to combine human intelligence with artificial intelligence to choose the best one among several options, thanks to the fact that an expert knows how to read between the lines.
It only remains for me to wish you, dear readers, that you have a very Happy New Year. And, since the most intelligent thing that a human being can do is try to be happy and make those around us happy, since that is why we have come into this world, I wish you a very intelligent New Year: that you know how to read between the lines, choose between several options the best, make good decisions and try to be happy.