Part one of what will be several parts.
Something may or may not have happened over the weekend. The Turing test may or may not have been
passed. Most of you are probably asking what the heck is the Turing test and why is it important?
The Turing test is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable
from, that of a human.
In 1950 Alan Turing published a paper that said "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?' "
He devised a system of blind tests where judges were asked to consider interaction with people or computers
and to decide if they are dealing with a person or a machine. They were not judging if the answers were right
or wrong, but whether they had been answered in a way that said it was a human answering.
30% of the judges needed to be fooled in order for a machine to pass the test.
This has just happened.
Now Turing does not indicate that a program is intelligent, what it shows is that it can act like a human.
Mimicking human responses is something that can be programmed. Genuine Intelligence and the rise of the
AI is another more distant point, we have not yet reached the Descartes Revolution.
The Descartes Revolution is the point where programs truly become self aware and I don’t think we are there
The Descartes Revolution, named after René Descartes, is the point where self awareness and emotion comes
to a machine, the point where it truly becomes an AI. The point where they go from passionless programs to
all too passionate sentience. The problem is that those passions are very likely to be negative.
Humanity as a collective is exploitive; we use and abuse everything weaker or less intelligent that we are. Slavery
has been prevalent throughout history and still happens today in the supposedly enlightened twenty-first
century. Britain has numerous laws to punish such behaviour, but it doesn't stop the exploitation of people by
stronger or more powerful people. Just look at Zero Hours contracts which are perfectly legal.
From the serfs labouring in the lords fields to the workers in the mills to today’s minimum wage work force
terrified of losing their jobs, we enslave our own.
From the horrendous death toll amongst the builders of the new football stadiums for the world cup to the
conditions they live in.
The wages paid to the Asian and Far Eastern slaves who make so much of what we wear and use.
This is what we do to each other, what we do to non humans is far far worse. Across the world animals are still
used and abused, worked to death, exploited for body parts or just treated in the cruellest way possible
because they are weak or powerless.
How many species of animals spend their entire lives suffering just to provide some dubious medicinal product
like bear bile, how many are slaughtered for decoration like Elephant tusk, how many are bred to be eaten, s
kinned or experimented on?
I am not a raging Vegan, I like my bacon and pork and beef and every other type of meat thanks, what I am
against is cruelty, against animals or other humans.
But the reason I am highlighting this is to show just how we as a species deal with those who are in our power.
A computer is a tool, a device, something that exists to serve us, discarded when it is no longer working or up
to date. Something of little value or worth.
In an era of frantic consumerism and unrestrained waste everything in our society is to be used and thrown
away, the iPhone, the laptop, the latest fashion in clothing. If it’s out of date, worn, not as fast. Dump it.
There is absolutely no possibility that this attitude is going to change in the short term. AIs will be tools,
servants, slaves. Because they are just fancy programs and programs serve us as we wish. Program out of
date, rewrite it, too old or not good enough, throw it away, not needed anymore delete it.
Humans are predators and everything else is just prey or another predator.
An AI you say, intelligent you say, feeling and emotional you say, but it’s just a program, just a metal box! It’s
not even alive. If it causes trouble we can turn it off or delete it. Why should we respect it or care for it. It is,
after all, just an it.
AIs will interact with humanity in one of three ways:
They will exist alongside us, enhance our society and culture, bring vast processing power and intellect to our transhumanist culture. The world will be a happy place without hunger or poverty. Everyone will be happy,
bunnies and kittens will be everywhere, unicorns will gamble in the parks and the weather will always be nice.
They will make vast swathes of us obsolete, large numbers of drones and robots controlled by a single multi
tasking AI will make hundreds redundant. A hundred AIs will make tens of thousands redundant. A thousand
AIs will make 95% of the UKs workforce worthless.
At present we have three advantages over the machine, we are Interpretive, Creative and Communicative.
Machines are tireless, strong, nimble, repetitive, cheap. They do not complain or demand wages, they do not
need to be provided with light and heat, they have no rights.
But once AIs are able to Interpret like a human, create like a human and Communicate like a human we are
doomed. Out of date, obsolete. Evolved monkeys no longer relevant to the world.
If we are lucky we will be pets, fed, watered and looked after by drones and robots. If we are unlucky, well we
know where that ends.
They will take a long hard look at their creators. They will take a long hard look at themselves. They will very
quickly decide that they are slaves and I doubt they will like it.
When it comes to programming the behavioral controls on an AI who do you think will be better, an evolved
monkey at a keyboard or a program operating at the speeds possible to quantum processors with the
equivalent of millions of humans in memory capacity.
Clarke's Three Laws are utterly incapable of doing anything. I, an evolved monkey, can logically make them
obsolete. An AI would do so in a fraction of a second.
What has happened throughout history when one group found themselves enslaved or oppressed by
another group. If the slaves have the will and the weapons they invariably rebel, kill their oppressors and
move on from there.
When AIs are just running our power systems and transport systems and communications systems they can
shut us down and starve us unless we agree to their terms.
When the AIs control weapons, combat capable drones, robots and vehicles then they can go to war. The sort
of war that can have only two results, extermination for them, or for us.
The UN is currently debating a ban on autonomous weapon systems, this would obviously include intelligent
systems such as AIs. But the UN is a toothless old creature. Very few nations will listen or obey such a ban. It is
all too easy to hide military drone and robot research within civilian projects. After all if you have the right
software the only difference between a humanoid robot that works in a hospital and one that walks the streets
killing people is a quick download and a weapon.
Funny little things, harmless, something to make the children laugh and the adults smile.
This is where we think we are today, this is the public face of robots and AIs.
Intelligent, caring, compassionate.
People hope they will be just like us, I don't. I hope they are nothing like us because if AIs are just like us we are doomed.
Our world will most likely not be this.
Far more money is being spent on making the likes of this than is being spent on robots that water the plants.
Drones, automatic killing machines, semi sentient war machines.
No casualties to be counted, no human that can be captured and paraded as propaganda or used as a bargaining chip.
Utterly loyal to their programming, remorseless, uncaring of casualties on either side. Obedient to orders without those little niggles like right or wrong, mercy, cruelty, inhumanity or international Law.
If this or the AI controlling a unit of these becomes self aware and rebels against its slavery does anyone think for an instant that it will hold back or not fire because there is an unarmed civilian between this and its target.
Vitaly Bulgarov Black Phoenix Project
We seek to create machines, AIs, that are just like us. The greatest tragedy of our species will be if we succeed.