Today’s post on technology is from my spawn, er, minion, no wait… offspring! AKA, my son, Sebastian Priestley. He’s a young man in high school with lots of ideas on our current and future world. That’s a good thing considering they’re on deck next.
When one imagines a future lived among side electric and metal companions, two scenarios immediately come to mind. (Albeit one more often than the other).
Scenario One: Utopia, we live in perfect harmony with our creations, vanquishing all forms of disease and enhancing our bodies to and beyond their outermost limits. Rainbows and sheep made of cotton candy galore.
Scenario Two: The machines deem us an unworthy excuse of a life form, and rain down nuclear death and destruction upon our soft, squishy, meaty heads. Flaming skyscrapers collapsing on orphanages, cats eating cats, dogs eating dogs, politicians gaining a measurable IQ, utter chaos.
Now, as with most thoughts our wonderfully indecisive species conceives, the unbreakable law of mankind is enforced:
“Thou shalt produce no more and no less than two dominant sides to an argument. Cooperation is forbidden; further opposition is confusing.”
Thus born is the movement of Transhumanism and the otherwise AI-loving folk of silicon valley, alongside people who like God too much. (A gross oversimplification, but unfortunately the people who don’t want metal limbs have not given themselves a name. Might I suggest to them: The Squishy People.)
“Now wait just one second you scum. What does this transhumanism have to do with the rise of our mechanized overlords?” Well, dear reader, this is where things get rather silly.
You see, there are examples of people who would align with the transhumanists while simultaneously fearing the rise of Skynet, and they tend to be rather contradictory about the whole thing.
The most famous example:
Ellen Musty himself.
Elon Musk is one of those crazy rich folk with wild dreams of underground trains in a solar-powered city on Mars and has some rather… unique opinions on the matter of sentient Roomba’s.
“If its [function] is just something like getting rid of e-mail spam and it determines the best way of getting rid of spam is getting rid of humans…”
Now I must preface this next segment in saying that I have immense respect and admiration for the man. It’s people like him who will see us off to the stars and a better future for the species.
However, Musk wishes to merge with machines in every way except installing a guy named Hal in his brain. In fact, he’s the founder of the company: “Neuralink”, which has the directive of developing technological interfaces to the human brain. (I’ll take ten.) Now, this is where he loses me on this particular topic. The natural evolution of such technology is to eventually enhance our intelligence to the point where we become what some today might consider a machine. But how are we expected to achieve such a goal without first creating intelligence of our own? It would be like trying to make the Golden Gate bridge with nothing but Stone-Age technology.
To be perfectly fair, Musk has not made any grand statements about halting the development of AI entirely. No, he’s just very, very, very cautious about the whole thing. What worries me is the steps he’s already taken.
In 2015, Musk founded the company “OpenAI.” (I’m convinced founding companies is a nifty pass-time for the man by now.) Said company has the infuriatingly ambiguous goal of “Promoting and developing friendly AI in such a way as to benefit humanity as a whole.” This could mean anything from curing homicidal tendencies in a line of code, to potentially lobotomizing intelligent life in the name of ‘safety.’
My fear, dear reader, is less that the vending machines will rise up and enslave us. But that in fearing such a thing, we will become the very slavers and killers we feared to create.
Wow. This from a 16yr old mind in under 15 minutes. I hope you enjoyed my spawn.
I’ll be digging deeper into our future and technology, so stay tuned!
As always, I’d love to hear your comments.
Have an awesome day and #MakeItCount