This article, “We must transform into Cyborgs or become irrelevant as AI takes over the world, Elon Musk claims”, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4220202/Elon-Musk-thinks-AI-human-symbiotes.html), prompted me to pen my poem of 13 February, (https://newauthoronline.com/2017/02/13/mans-destiny/).
“Man’s destiny is …” they say
And, looking far away,
Weave fancies in the air
(For which I do not care).
To sit by an open pub fire
Fulfils my heart’s desire,
Yet they can not leave it alone
(This desire to transform skin and bone
I hear the ticking clock
And feel inner peace,
But they will not cease
In their search to unlock
That which, perhaps keeps us sane,
(This imperfect human brain).
“We must transcend
The human and ascend
To the sky.
We can be as gods, you and I”,
Shall I mention Icarus’s name?
A passing commotion
In the ocean
There was when the boy fell,
Or so the mythologists tell.
An interesting post on whether we can avoid a digital apocalypse by Sam Harris (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/can-we-avoid-a-digital-apocalypse).
Show me paradise where information pumps like an ever flowing river through the brain. Show me Eden where we are always connected, where sad thoughts are drowned out by the chatter of the information superhighway. Show me happiness where chips smaller than a grain of sand control our emotions, where reality and the virtual meet, but to what end? Show me pleasure unbounded, love without strings where virtual partners fulfil our wildest dreams. Show me a world of smiling, happy people where the god of pleasure reigns and I will show you a kind of hell.
An interesting book review of a series of books by the science fiction writer William Hertling, http://www.kurzweilai.net/book-review-william-hertlings-singularity-series-continues-with-the-last-firewall?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=8ce5c96683-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6de721fb33-8ce5c96683-281953165. In his books Hertling speculates on the future of artificial intelligence, a world in which ill intentioned AI threatens humanity while benign artificial intelligences team up with artificially enhanced humans to defeat the malign forces.
I’ll be checking out Hertling’s books as the reviewer makes them appear eminently entertaining and thought provoking. I am, however somewhat sceptical as to why artificial intelligences would take it upon themselves to enslave or otherwise harm humanity. Why would AI’s act in such a manner unless they had beenspecifically programmed by their human operators to do so? As things stand it is humans who possess motivation whether for good or evil. Machines are motiveless. Your computer may respond to voice commands but this is purely down to clever programming.
I can imagine an artificial intelligence which might massacre particular races or classes of people, however I find it almost inconceivable that a machine would take it upon itself to perpetrate crimes of this nature unless humans programmed it to so behave. Doubtless if a modern Hitler where to arise in the distant future he (or she) might employ artificial intelligence to commit genocide far more effectively than we can at the current stage in history conceive of. However the machines would be acting under the direction of their deranged programmers not of their own volition.
I am know scientist but what seems much more likely to me is that AI’s will arise which appear to be human. Such AI may, in the future act as servants to humanity although given the current state of the technology a machine which can perform the tasks of a human domestic worker, as competently as he (or she) can perform them seems a rather distant prospect. I can also imagine sexbots which provide, err personal services to their owners or those who hire them, however while these may replace those sex workers who offer a quick release I can not see them replacing professional escorts who provide much more than a sexual release.
I could, of course be wrong about all of the above but on reading Kurzweil and other proponents of artificial intelligence I’m struck by their belief in the coming of a technological utopia. A utopia in which death shall have no dominion, we can all live forever and the sun always shines. I’m struck by the similarity of technological utopia to the utopia postulated by Marx’s followers in which the state withers away to be replaced by a classless society in which conflict is consigned to the dustbin of history. Marx, as with all utopians was wrong and I suspect that Kurzweil despite his tremendous abilities as an inventor will be proven, in time to have been at the least rather optimistic in his speculations concerning the possibilities of AI.