Say ‘Machine Intelligence’, not ‘Artificial Intelligence’

This should be a quick —

Stop saying “Artificial Intelligence”

Start saying “Machine Intelligence”

Artificial carries a negative connotation. Artificial somehow imitates, is fake, or is subpar. It is negative, dare I say: icky.

When we think of olestra vs. pressed organic olive oil, we think artificial vs. natural. One will have you running to the bathroom, the other promotes healthy levels of cholesterol. These examples are ingrained in media, reinforced over, over and over again until we forget that we can generate original thoughts. Don’t be mad or sad. It’s just how the mind’s biases work. They’re biologically useful, but can be fooled.

When we say Machine Intelligence, it creates new conceptual territory. It opens up new avenues.

Kudos to you if you’ve seen this episode of ‘Futurama’. If you haven’t, you’re not nearly nerdy enough to be reading this

It helps people realize:

“This new thing has serious potential to fundamentally improve ourselves and the planet. We should help!


“Oh sh#t, they made Skynet. Better start making picket signs…”

Ok. If you want to stop there, be my guest. If you’re interested in some rationale, let’s keep going —

We somehow forget that, we are nature. That our authentic self expression is nature. We separate ourselves from our environment like we separate ourselves from each other. I see the urban jungle just as natural as the rain forest. There is no good, or bad. They are just different. Both equal expressions of nature. I love hugging trees as much as any hippy (seriously), but I also love hopping on a 747 and waking up on the other side of the globe.

Mosquitos are natural. Some have argued that they play a role in the food chain, but I can’t help but wonder what Earth would be like without them. I also wonder what NYC would be like if it was completely jackhammer free at 7am in the morning. Again no dichotomy of good and evil. Just nature, doing its nature thing.

Do you see opposition? Don’t. See complements. Both fun. Both expressions of humanity doing what it does best

We, as a species still have a long way to go in terms of understanding ‘intelligence.’ We haven’t even settled on a definition of what intelligence is. We haven’t proved that intelligence is purely material, and some will argue that intelligence or consciousness is external, the prima materia of our reality.

But (a big but) until we collect more evidence, all we have at this point in our cycle is this beautiful phenomenon and some hypotheses. So to say one is not pure or limited due to the way in which it happened to arise is limiting.

I think that humans not only should pursue developing digital forms of intelligence and robotics, but it could even be the catalyst which takes us to a new level: Transforming healthcare, energy, finance, maybe even governments.

So, don’t cut off the legs of brilliant researchers, scientists and practicioners by making them jump over cognitive hurdles based on word choice and an established negative perception. Let’s see how this thing evolves…because it’s going to.

Let’s start off on a positive note and shed the skin of ‘artificiality’ and leave it behind.

‘Machine Intelligence’, not ‘Artificial Intelligence’

Like this? Agree? Please share!

I’m on twitter too.

Written by

Data Scientist

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store