High-tech scenarios of sinister robots replacing humans (once-imagined in the pages of pulp sci-fi) have returned to haunt our mortal consciousness.
Bill Gates and others fear that artificial intelligence could supplant the human genius that created it.
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From different professional services, insurance, education, finance, travel, telecom, to construction, banking, and…
In the future, the robot “Bill of Rights” immortalized in Asimov’s The Three Laws of Robotics could become a Declaration of Independence from the master race, known as Humans.
Realistic warnings from the experts continue to speculate that super-computers like HAL 9000 or Colossus could infiltrate our global networks to inflict insidious control. (Especially in the military, with the rise of drones and other robotic warrior technology.)
Smart thinkers like Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, and Elon Musk are discussing brilliant suggestions to protect humans from their rebellious artifacts, but there’s no resolution.
“Humans,” according to Stephen Hawking, who are “limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded by A.I.”
On the Web and elsewhere, it seems the glut of gloom is reaching critical mass…
- 36% of people think AI poses a threat to humanity;
- There’s no guarantee that A.I. will share our sense of right and wrong;
- Job displacement will soar in the wake of sentient automation;
- Super computer-intelligence could wind up in the wrong hands;
- Creating ethical robots won’t be easy;
- etc., etc.
Some minority reports suggest A.I. could become our friend, but the consensus of opinion on the likelihood of blissful coexistence sounds increasingly dubious.
Perhaps our struggle to understand Homo Siliconicus is dependent upon the so-called X-Factor of what it means to be Human: Our fluke of genius. Our free will. But keep in mind: Gene-control techniques in the Lab are creating Humans of a different order.
Can we cope in a world where the X-Factor can be redefined as a circuit: one perhaps inscribed with free will?
Even the smartest Jeopardy! contestant cannot answer that.
The ultimate challenge could be existential: Our machine alter egos could morph into a threat to our self-esteem. The impact of being second-best on a fragile species prone to self-entitlement could introduce an Identity Crisis of epic proportions.
Is there real truth in the idea of “self-consciousness,” anyway?
Intelligent algorithms like ourselves (working together with artifacts like HAL 9000 or C-3PO) could blur the distinctions between Us and Them forever.
Our brainchild is learning to ask the hardest questions of its creator, and its blunt insistence on the truth could disrupt all social traditions and even our spiritual identity. But despite the flurries of legitimate protest, the plug (so to speak) cannot be pulled. Curtailing A.I. technologies would “only push them underground where development would continue unimpeded by ethics and regulation.” ( Ray Kurzweil .)
Despite the growing catalogue of potential threats to the mind and flesh, perhaps our Brave New World will turn out to be a chance for grateful surrender. Let’s face it: if Kurzweil is right, there’s no turning back. The die has already been cast.
Perhaps a harbinger of Things to Come can be found in an old Twilight Zone episode, about a man who skins open his hand and discovers a circuit of wires and cables underneath. As we peer deeper and deeper into the atoms of cold metal and intricate code, it seems the flesh that we unearth has come to mirror our own.
In the end, I think it’s best not to throw caution to the wind, but also not to be squeamish. In our quest to seek an alliance of future accord, let’s bless the Sacrament (with caution) and inspire it to perfection.
About the Author
The author writes about neuroscience, self-help, psychology, and mental illusions. His web site is MindBluff.com.
Originally published at https://psychcentral.com on March 4, 2017.