Now days I have a lot of time on my hands, and have a routine of watching a movie each evening. I also have a lot of time I use just thinking – some would say maybe I think too much…but then no one knows whether I am thinking or just awake, not thinking, right? The last statement applies to every human being, and will one day apply to “robots” and other types of artificial intelligent (AI) “entities” (“beings?”), so this makes for a crafty segue to the main topic of this post.
I watched a film last evening called “More Human Than Human.” It is a recent documentary that explores several facets of AI…and there are many facets now, and in the near future we will experience countless applications permeating each moment of our lives. Several questions of ethics were touched on in the film, all quite valid concerns. Being a thinker, I have come up with a few others that extend what the film covers, and perhaps one or two that my stimulated mind produced. Here goes….
As with any human creation, AI in many forms is or can be used for good, but also for “bad” purposes. AI already is proliferating military systems, and this will only increase exponentially. So, it is likely I believe that one day our military (and “their” military) will not even have humans, or at most just an insertion of a small group, in the theater of battle. In fact, once the shooting begins….excluding cyber warfare for the moment…and the robots and other AI are “released” to fight, will these weapon systems and fighting robots and androids just take over the entire war…..the planning, strategy and tactical ops? So we human generals and sergeants just sit back on base in the clubs sipping martinis until notified we won, or suddenly find a swarm of enemy bots engulfing our relaxation? The next question I have, is once the AI weapon systems become fully autonomous and have the capacity for high level war planning and execution, along with all the logistical subsystems, what if they decide to just turn on their “owners?”….or all humans? Of course this scenario was considered decades ago, but I see no signs that anything is being done to inhibit this happening.
Here is another question? (I have no answers, just questions about this subject.) Will robots assimilate extant religions, perhaps the dominant religion of their creative societies? Certainly the creators can either set up conditions for teaching robots to learn ethics, “right from wrong,” et cetera, but will it go further? Will there one day be Muslim robots, Christian robots, Buddhist robots, and so on? If a robot develops a sense of self-awareness, with the ability to feel “love” and other human qualities, why would it not seek out a relationship with the larger universe of reality? But then what will be its reality? Like human reality, each person has one’s own reality in the quantum (and Eastern spirituality) universe, so will each robot develop its “personal” relation with the “over lord” of its reality?
Also it is a given by all accounts that one day humans will cohabitate with, copulate and otherwise have robotic partners, and even marry androids. In fact I suspect that for many robotic developers this is rather high on their agenda…the ultimate sex toy. So then comes questions such as will robots be able to have human step-children, in-laws, and so on. What about laws of property inheritance…..will robots be allowed to inherit estates?
Death and taxes: the two sure things right? So likely robots could live forever or just be upgraded and the “line” of that one robot series live forever, building on the experience and knowledge and wisdom of all its ancestors: truly standing on the shoulders of those who came before. Will the passing on of a robot’s consciousness include all its negative, even evil or manic tendencies as well, or will there be a way to purge, to launder, its memory just to pass on the “good stuff.” Taxes: if robots are productive, will they be required to be paid and to pay taxes directly? Deal with the IRS (for those not in USA, that’s our infamous tax collection system)?
Will AI increase drug addiction and suicide among humans, especially in the present and near future, due to robots displacing humans at the workplace? This probably is already happening and we just aren’t tracking it.
Violent robots. For years now there have been robot fighting contest. Encouraged, taught, abetted and promoted for our youth especially to participate in. Team sports for nerds. This is just an extension of re-enactments of dinosaurs fighting to the death, right? Since they don’t exist in reality and are just lizards or “old birds” then this is all great fun. But what fundamentally is difference of such activities from Roman blood and gore in the arena, or dog fights in every urban area today? In my mind, it speaks to the same primal psyche we humans carry, and which we need to recognize and control. But now comes robots. If robots can have all the qualities, more or less, that humans or even animals have, will there come a time when we have MMA to the death with robot opponents? Since they are not human, then its all ok, right? I think not.
So really we have to ask, will AI just infinitely expand our presently feeble level of enlightenment, perpetuating both our good and bad qualities, or will the creators….this young generation and successive gens…comprehend that they are in the god-seat, and choose the higher road, giving their robots the values that perhaps will save our planet, rather than exacerbate its present path of destruction?