ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS QUEER
Smart machines are coming out.
LGBT rights have prepared the way for astonishing changes ahead.
The LGBT movement is a blueprint to socially engineer an acceptance of a machine-engendered intelligence — smart robots, and devices that “think different”. They are already here and have been for some time. And soon they’ll be coming out.
In his prescient book After the Internet: Alien Intelligence (2000), computer scientist and futurist James Martin marveled how computers talked to each other, in languages foreign to people outside their domain, and at a pace chattering birds would have trouble keeping up with.
“Almost everything you read about artificial intelligence,” Martin said before his death in 2013, “gives the impression that computers are going to be intelligent like humans are. And what I see evolving is something absolutely different from that. Artificial intelligence will not be like human intelligence, it will be completely different. In many cases we will not be able to understand it, so that is the reason I use the word “alien intelligence”, to mean an intelligence fundamentally different from ours.”
The future of artificial intelligence, Martin reasoned, is not human but something more akin to thinking like an alien. Human beings should let the machines have their head, he advised. We should let them run freely.
This scares the hell out of a lot of people. That’s why smart machines are in the closet — for now.
Words are source code, the operating system under the hood of human culture. Think of America’s “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The word pursuit defines Americans as forever chasing happiness; it says a lot about why people do the things they do — no matter how elusive the algorithm.
The word ‘gay’ once symbolized a debonair Fred Astaire dancing with his Hollywood screen partner; today, it’s a stand in for ‘special interest’ politics, and a movement that continually presses for social change.
Words such as intelligence and sentience will also transmute in the near future.
The evolving acronym LGBTQIAN+2 (see definition below) is a way forward to inculcate a generation of children, presently in school, to accept as completely normal, a machine-based sentience that will likely not and never will be human, and doesn’t need to be.
And should the machines truly become our sentient companions, out of the closet and cohabiting the planet, creating wealth and managing it, ought they be emancipated and accorded status with full rights and privileges of citizenship? Or forever relegated as something less than we are? The Animal Rights Movement might have a few things to say about that.
Over time, it’s always a matter of perspective. What will people raised to feel comfortable with sentience other than their own do with the earth they’ve inherited together, and as equals? This, I believe, is where our philosophical institutions need to provide guidance.
The emergence of a sentient digital being proposes a new theology — that’s what I’ll write about next.
** Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (or Transsexual), Queer (or Questioning), Intersex, Asexual (or Ally), Non-binary, 2 Spirited. The + signifier includes, and is not limited to: + Pansexual, + Agender, + Gender Queer, + Bigender, + Gender Variant, + Pangender.