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mark211Are we all well and truly s____d? 2015-04-28 12:11:49
mark211Yes, OK so apologies for the deliberately attention-grabbing headline for this latest QM discussion, but if you are wondering what is meant by "Are we all well and truly screwed?" in the title, I am referring specifically to something Michele Dutcher drew my attention to – an interview between Elon Musk and scientist Neil de Grasse Tyson in which Musk expressed his fear that developments in Artficial Intelligence are like 'summoning the demon' and that, as reported in the UK's 'Daily Mail' newspaper " Robots will use humans as pets once they achieve a subset of artificial intelligence known as 'superintelligence'. This is according to SpaceX-founder Elon Musk who claims that when computers become smarter than people, they will treat them like 'pet Labradors'."2015-04-28 12:19:23
mark211So, reader dear, what are your thoughts on this? Is AI really this dangerous to human cultures and society? What does this mean for humanity at large or, failing that, that portion of humanity that consists of writers of SF short fiction? Are we all well and truly screwed? Thoughts, people!2015-04-28 12:19:31
Pippin91First of all, I think the majority of the population were screwed a very long time ago when the complexity of science and technology passed the point where they could ever understand it. Those people have already seen their standards of living drop as their lack of skills ensures them a future of flipping burgers, cleaning floors, or other low-paying jobs. So what Musk and Tyson are talking about is the more educated "technocracy" which still makes a decent living by applying their specialized knowledge in the labor market. And there, I do think AI is a threat - for medical doctors, legal people, and IT specialists for example. People are going to have to come up with some other way to sell their labor because being a tech guru, or medical professional, or whatever, isn't going to have much value after a machine has all the professional knowledge. So what high-value work will be left for humans to perform? There's our opportunity, SF writers!! To come up with ideas for things humans can do once machines do all the doctoring, and lawyering, etc.2015-04-28 16:36:41
IronspiderOddly enough, if you read the T'City series by Mark Adlard (Interface, Volteface, and MultiFace), one of the few artisan professions left is hair-dressing, as machines cannot adapt to performing the task. But, anyway, I think humanity is already screwed and we won't need AIs to lead us around on leases to prove the point - we've just about ruined the biosphere. A recent (16/4/15) Science for Environment Policy News Alert from the European Commission, titled Four of nine ‘planetary boundaries’ exceeded (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/four_out_of_nine_planetary_boundaries_exceeded_410na1_en.pdf), relates to the rapidly diminishing ability of this planet to maintain life. I hope any AI that does emerge has some inkling of Asimov's Three Laws and takes charge. I, for one, wouldn't mind being reduced to the role of 'gardener' to help restore some kind of balance, while the AIs work out how to reverse the problems humanity has caused.2015-04-29 00:13:43
r.tornelloRead "The Glass Cage" by Nicholas Carr It addresses this and more. RT2015-04-29 12:05:29
micheledutcherThe world building group - Orion's Arm - has an AI showing up named GAIA who kicks the majority of the humans off the planet and makes 'gardeners' of the humanity remaining, so maybe Ironspider isn't so far off. It amazes me that as humans we're so free with handing over our lives and our world to AIs. It's as if scientists are still searching for a GOD to save us - even if we have to create it with our own hands. Dangerous territory: building gods... 2015-04-30 09:15:28
r.tornelloI'll say it again, a very good discussion is made in The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr. It's worth the read. RT2015-05-01 05:13:34
jessbaumWe're pretty good at screwing ourselves as it is. If AI gets there, maybe they'll do it better, maybe not. I know everybody thought we'd be on Mars by now (say what you want, it still hasn't happened yet) and when those little robot vacuum cleaner disks came out some people thought it was the apocalypse. Clearly they haven't taken over yet. (Although there was a really fun Simpson's episode with them) Who knows? 2015-05-01 05:53:30
Pippin91The comments about humans becoming gardeners expressed here remind me of God's Gardeners in Margaret Atwood's great novel The Year of the Flood. In this book, giant corporations produce bio-engineered life forms and make people dependent on them. God's Gardeners live outside that system and so are treated as dangerous subversives, though they are really harmless pacifists. If you haven't read The Year of the Flood and it's companion novel, Oryx and Crake, you've missed the two greatest novels of the 21st century, IMHO.2015-05-05 05:40:50

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