For some reason I started thinking the other day about mathematics and mathematicians. As I often do I was exploring alternate arguments for “proving” the non-existence/current impossibility of AI when I stumbled upon an interesting train of thought that led to an even more interesting thought experiment, which is the following. Imagine you are a professional mathematician. if you like you can be the world’s greatest or the worlds worst professional mathematician. Of course even the world’s worst professional mathematician must be quite gifted at math to make it as a professional, and is still no doubt significantly better at math than yourself. In any case you are wondering about the impact of “AI” on your field, and are worried that your career choice might have been a poor one indeed. Being a computer an AI would always be superior at computation to even the most talented human. However you console yourself by thinking that it is in the higher maths where humans remain superior. No AI has yet to propose a novel math theorem, or solve a great unsolved math problem, or publish a groundbreaking math paper, or win a Field’s medal, etc.
The question then becomes if it is truly “intelligent” shouldn’t it have done all those things? After all it is far superior at computation and all of the “rules” of math. In fact it can, theoretically at least “know” everything there is to know about math. If it were intelligent it should be able to easily apply those superior foundational math skills, along with its superior processing capabilities, memory, etc. and be the world’s greatest mathematician. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that by its very nature an AI would be (would have to be) the worlds greatest mathematician. And I would go one step further and say that if it were not, then it could not be/is not intelligent and therefore there is no AI. Unless of course the computer running my city’s street light systems or running my smart phone or driverless car is secretly moonlighting as a math professor and publishing unheralded genius math papers under a pseudonym on the side. Until there is no more need for human mathematicians there is no AI.