Deus ex machina

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break from our little everyday worries, like what it would be like to live among super-massive dinosaurs, or whether we’ll be consumed by a massive black hole, or whether global warming will alter the jet stream, or whether the Raiders are going to move, again, and focus on something truly horrifying?  Yes?  Good.  How about artificial intelligence (AI)?  Now, I’m kinda smart-ish (you know, like everybody), but I’m nowhere near the kind of smart that people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steven Hawking are smart.  So, here’s a question, If I had the choice to create these guys (if I somehow could), should I do it?  Now, they (my creations) might turn out to be great folks and do good things (kinda like the real ones)–or, they might turn out to be evil and kill me.  The point is, they would be more powerful than me.  If we ever had to compete for resources, I would be at a hopeless disadvantage.  So, when these guys (the real ones) worry about AI, I worry, too.  They worry that we will create something that is not just better at solving problems (like engineers do), but that is conceptually smarter than we are and that is self-aware–as in, when we panic and reach for the plug, it says no (and then kills us).  Maybe this is inevitable.  Maybe we simply cannot avoid creating the technological means of our own destruction.  But, then, won’t the AI that we create do the same thing we did?  Or, will it learn from our mistake?  But, then, why wouldn’t we have learned?  We know what we do when we encounter a weaker species that is in our way, or tastes good, or threatens us, or somehow can’t manage to survive among us.  We know what we do to our own species when one group is stronger than another.  Why on earth would we ever create something self aware that is more powerful than we are?  So, there it is–perhaps the end state of life is merely to create the means of it’s end, ad infinitum.  In a thousand years, humanity will be remembered as the first batch of suckers who were too smart and not nearly sensible enough.  Unless, of course, this trick has been played before, and we’re really all just living in a simulation.  Is everything we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?  I wonder.  Sleep well.


1 thought on “Deus ex machina”

  1. Stupid (or smart) is as stupid does. All those anemic “smart” guys would be dead if we didn’t live in a greater society. If the machines killed us they wouldn’t be smart either because they would “die” unless they reproduce.

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