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  • 《景观设计学》2019年第2期

    作 者:
    龙瀛(LONG Ying),张昭希(ZHANG Zhaoxi),李复(LI Fu)等
    类 别:
    出 版 社:

To Be Alarmed by the Trap pf Intelligence Tools, By Yu Kongjian





① 来自唐纳德•J•特朗普于2019年3月12日发布的Twitter内容。

On March 10, 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashed six minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board. On October 29, 2018, a Lion Air plane of the same model crashed in a similar way, killing all 189 people on board. Investigation teams for both suspected that a loss of control by the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) on the 737 MAX aircrafts caused these crashes.[1] In announcing the decision to ground all Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts in the United States, President Donald J. Trump tweeted: “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT… and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain… I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”①

I am not able to judge whether a negative correlation exists between machine intelligence and aircraft safety. However, when it comes to applying new tools to daily life and work, including landscape architecture, I do have several thoughts. First, artificial intelligence is an extension of human intelligence. It should be used to help us solve problems rather than to bring intellectual burdens. There is no need for humans to ask intelligent machines to help on all physical and mental work, such as eating, tea-tasting, and poetry writing, which are the fun and add value to mankind. Similarly, architecture and landscape design work consisting of not only repetitive work such as data collection and calculations, but also thinking and beauty creating, should never be handed over to the intelligence tools. Otherwise, what meaning would have been left for the existence of mankind? Second, when the intelligence tools are out of control or too complex and difficult to use, they can potentially put a burden on human life and work, or even threaten human lives. A perfect example was the aircraft with high intelligence that pilots could not control, eventually putting passengers' lives in danger. Therefore, humans should not give up active control over the tools before reliable intelligence tools are created.

I am passionate about the use of intelligence tools in human activities, especially in the field of landscape architecture. Before sitting down to write this essay, I noticed that my smartphone had tracked the details of my walk through the alleys of Xixinan Village in Huangshan City, Anhui Province. Matched with the digital photos, I am able to accurately record the information of each building and landscape. At the same time, my students have been using drones and laser tools to measure several sites they are going to design, and have completed the digitization and visualization of the data overnight. Now they are preparing for a site visit to the Fengle River Basin by accessing digital data on the hydrologic history and stories. When I was a student, I had to climb roofs for site measurements, and then spent days and nights drawing on grid paper to complete maps. For information on local places, I could easily spend a few days looking for ancient books in the library. In short, intelligence tools have undoubtedly freed our hands for more creative and interesting work while acquiring more accurate data, helping us realize the value of being designers. 

Intelligence tools are no different from ancient stone axes, both of which are tools created and used by humans. Efforts to replace our creative behaviors with such tools are essentially denying human values, leading to boring lives and risks with a loss of freedom - this is the trap of intelligence tools.

① From Donald J. Trump’s tweets on March 12, 2019.

[1] Pasztor, A., & Tangel, A. (2019, March 29). Investigators Believe Boeing 737 MAX Stall-Prevention Feature Activated in Ethiopian Crash. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/investigators-believe-737-max-stall-prevention-feature-activated-in-ethiopian-crash-11553836204