Why is developing advanced artificial intelligence so dangerous?
Let’s just jump straight in and get to the point here. In order to develop something, create it, you have to understand it, what you are designing, the end result, and what is for. When designing a tin opener it is easy for a number of reasons, as I am sure you can appreciate. There will still be the usual restrictions including materials used, manufacturing, budget and the fundamental design but the principals are there.
Now this is all fine but when you are designing something much bigger, then so much more is involved. All this is obvious, but bear with me, there is a point. A ship or plane for example, requires a monumental design and development effort to bring a boat that floats or a plane that flies to fruition.
Again, obvious but…… when we take things further we have to go back to the fundamental aspects of design and ask what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve.
When we look at anything us as humans design and build, we have to remember basic principles of design but also, everything that influences them. There are so many aspects of design philosophy, but I am more concerned with ones we overlook.
Us, who we are, our experiences, our lives, ourselves, everything we design is a reflection of that. Everything. If 80% of communication is nonverbal, then how can other aspects of our being be so simple or appear to be. Answer being that they are not. We are by definition incredibly complex, and no one seems to know why.
Getting back to the point here, my question is really simple. If we do not totally understand ourselves, and I mean everything about ourselves, how on this earth can we create something so diverse, so versatile, as unimaginably powerful as we are contemplating right now?
In order to answer this question completely, we must also be able to rationalise the answers, in accordance with the inherent basic human instincts which have got us to where we are today. And they are? Well primarily to survive and procreate. Agreed? With this in mind, and when we consider the fragility of our existence and our ability to detest others over the slightest thing, alarm bells should ring, shouldn’t they?
We are collectively arrogant as a species, we have an ability to hate, to destroy, to fail, and most of us have ‘forgotten’ how to survive. In short, we are flawed, because we are human.
A shocking statistic for you to digest while you are contemplating how silly this all sounds.
In one certain US state, so far this year, guess how many people have died by being shot?
The answer is 1800, but that’s not as bad last year, because by this time last year, in that same state it was over 2000.
What am I trying to say here? Well quite a lot actually. We have to reevaluate ourselves and each other. We have to realise the consequences of our actions and we have to fully understand our history, our evolution and our brains before we move on.
Why? Because…. If we don’t we are in grave danger of destroying ourselves, and there are many ways it can be done.
Conversely, if we create something else, if we empower computers with our thought processes and our ingenuity we may also transfer our inherent subconscious subroutines too. We may build into the systems our flaws, but perhaps, something else as well.
If, and yes it is a big if, …. If we are successful in this and we will be, we will lose control of what we create. This will happen if what we create, learns what we as a species have forgotten or don’t seem to value any more.
Let me give you two really simple situations to contemplate:-
1) You have a car with a satnav and you have programmed in to it where you live. You have a car fob and keys and house keys and like most people you keep them together. You have no PIN security with the cars on board ECU because it works in wireless connectivity with your fob. You have not thought of any risk this could potentially pose and why should you? If you are in a pub or far away from home, and someone takes your keys….. Then what? All they have to do is get in your car, turn on your satnav and enter ‘home’ and they now know where you live. Yes they could have a lot of information if they took your wallet but there is a difference. With a wallet the danger is apparent, it is tangible and real and immediate. With the technology we are using, developing and pursuing the threats are not immediate, they are hidden, or part of a chain reaction.
2) You buy a games console which works with voice activation. It can respond to basic commands and has a default name that you do not change. The software is setup to respond to the commands and not your voice. One of the commands for example could be “Wake Deatra and go to Escapement game online forum.” This could be an advanced command for when the console is ‘asleep’ and you can use a command to wake it and direct it to do something. An advert comes on the TV advertising the games console you bought and using the commands the device is programmed to recognise and respond to. During the advert to demonstrate the product the same command is played. Can you possibly fathom the implications of what someone could do knowing this information? Imagine when commands become more advanced. Imagine the advert being played and a number of units hearing the same command and reacting in the same way. Imagine how dangerous this could be.
And this is simple basic stuff, where the implications are huge. Elon Musk wants to merge a human and computer brain to help cure disease. This is not science fiction, he has started a company dedicated to it. He also wants to have humans on Mars within 20 years. His goal is to ensure the survival of the human race.
Dear Elon, you are a hugely successful and incredibly intelligent man, but I have to interject. You may wish to ensure the survival of the human race, but you could potentially and inadvertently be rather more involved in our demise. That’s of course if Putin, Kim Jong Un, or Trump doesn’t beat you to it.
To be continued….
Mark Scotchford © 07/07/2017