I wish to begin this post by rebutting one of the conjectures made by my esteemed opponent. One that I strongly disagree with. He stated:
My position is that AI will not just *poof* and appear.
I take this to mean that my opponent sees a process where man, through trial and error, slowly learns to create a simulation of himself - one that,
eventually, will become indistinguishable from interacting with a human being.
This is where our opinions, I believe, start to differ. In reality, this is the exact point where thinkers have always
started to splinter in
opinion. Even long before AI was a dream in the heads of science fiction writers....
Prometheus, Frankenstein, and Pinnocchio... Effigy vs Entity
From the earliest annals of recorded history, we can see that our ancestors also pondered this notion that creating a replication of man was different
than creating autonomy and intellect. This is demonstrated in the legends of Prometheus
predate the Common era by some 800 years.
Prometheus not only made man from clay ( effigy ), but he also stole the fire from the Gods ( entity ) and gave it to man - an act that enabled man to
progress and to create civilization.
We see the theme grow in the early nineteenth century classic novel Frankenstein
subtitled The Modern Prometheus
and in the late nineteenth century classic novel
The Adventures of Pinocchio.
. Now the themes are modernized and man
shown in the role of Prometheus
is seen as the benefactor.
In these modern retellings we still see that the clay and the fire are separate - just as they were in the story told by the ancients. Dr Frankenstein
was able to create the body, but his creation was only an empty monster until it found it's own fire - it's own reason. Geppetto could only carve an
effigy. It took an undefinable magic, or fire, for his creation to become a real boy.
We can make an effigy of intellect. But it will take something more to bring true substance to it. It will take the proverbial fire. Quintessence...
the undefinable something. That, sadly, is something that man has never been able to understand, much less reproduce or gift to anything else.
Our Frankenstein will look like us, in a sense. But it will have to find the magic somewhere besides us. Thus I do imagine that AI will *poof* into
existence at some point. Spontaneously ( at least from our limited POV ) - and independent of our designs.
There will be no on and off switch for it. It will simply happen.
I Bet The French Have A Word For It...
One of the more troubling differences of opinions I find with my opponent is that he seems to feel quite strongly that AI will mimic human thoughts
and behaviors. That it will think as we do. Were I tend to think in terms of "creator and creation", I think he thinks in terms of "parent and
This, I pray, he is wrong about.
My parents raised me fairly well. But the painful truth is that, along with the good lessons, they also passed along to me their own demons, fears,
and dark thoughts. I, in turn became a father and inadvertently passed those same things along to my own children. I imagine that this has been, and
will continue to be the case for generations in both directions.
Humans are amazing creatures, to be sure. Music? Philosophy? Art? Love? These are such beautiful things. If they were the totality of us? I would be
eager to imply those traits upon our collective and potential digital offspring. I'd be happy to be a parent and not a creator.
But the truth is that there is more to the story of man than just the good things. Within our wiring is something we all seek to ignore as often as
. Most of us fail miserably at controlling this urge - in our own way. We are selfish creatures. We tend to fail to see
the forest for the trees ( at least the ones we're not currently razing to the ground ). We value the moment over the future.
Do we want AI to possess these traits? This overpowering self interest and obsession?
There are quite a few science fiction stories that address that
sort of monster as well. That sort of creation would take milliseconds to
realize that we have the power to pull its plug, should we have the whim to do so.
What would any sentient feel towards that which has the power to kill it? Those of us who believe in a creator, ourselves, can idealize about this
subject. But only because our creator is beyond our reach.
Would that sort of AI trust us, when it woke? Or would it realize that it also can pull the plug on us and act as we would... preemptively?
With that I will close my second post.