Dear Noble Robo-Witness:
These are my notes and reflections from a very important, recent presentation. Before we do this, I refer you back to an earlier, March 19th blog post, which showed the opposite theme! This prior post was entitled, THE ROBO-REPORTER (3/19/17): Cyborgs Stealing Jobs in Chicago!
As you may recall, I was very distressed when I heard Amy Webb speak at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. I shivered when I heard her matter-of-factly declare that, “I am a robot hybrid, because I have equipment in my body. For example, there are ingestible bots. Inevitably, we are moving towards human-machine hybrids.” And I even felt worse, when I jumped right out of my chair, rose to the microphone, and addressed the assembly, “I BEG you to listen!” Ian Whitaker, Director of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, arrogantly REFUSED to listen to my plea for fair balance and debate on the vital issue of human beings becoming cyborgs!
The Deadly “Bear Trap” Awaiting Us = A Yawning Black Hole in Cyberspace.
My desperate begging for Mercy On Sleeping Mankind, is symbolically reflected in the bold illustration, shown above. Here we see the gleaming fangs and threatening face of a deadly attacking A.I. “Grizzly Bear,” ready to devour our human species within its soul-crushing jaws!
Its terrifying head is shown leaping out at us, from its Deadly Black Hole “Bear-Trap” in Outer Space. We are using this powerful visual symbol to represent what I so greatly fear: The Deadly Black Hole “Bear-Trap” Awaiting Us as we quickly plunge – – ever deeper and deeper – – into the Deadly Black Hole of Cyber Space! Specifically, I refer to the “One-Way Death Trap” of us going ever deeper and deeper DOWN INTO the Swirling Black Hole of Cyberspace, by converting nearly everything about our culture, into the binary digital, computerized domain!
“Do we REALLY have ANY Plan B, to the continual and UNSTOPPABLE Digitization, Computerization, and Robotization, which our Western Culture so thoughtlessly embraces?” I fearfully ask you. Our answer, of course, is a resounding, “NO!” Hence, let us picture so-called UNENDING DIGITAL “PROGRESS,” as being a DOWNWARD SPIRAL – – not an UPWARD one!
This dire situation is quickly leading us down, down, down – – down into THE SWIRLING PATHWAY OF DARK ROBO-DESCENT: “First, they take away your JOB! Then, they take away your FREEDOM! And, finally, they take away your LIFE!” So, where do you think we are, right now, on this Dark Pathway of Robo-Descent, Dear Witness? Ultimately, won’t we be taken down into the Snarling Jaws of Deadly A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), which is coming out at us, from the Deadly Black Hole of Cyberspace? Are we not almost certainly trapped within the crushing jaws of a murderously snarling “AI Grizzly Bear,” doomed to soon be EATEN ALIVE by Artificial Intelligence?
BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS: A Reason For Hope!
Yet, Dear Witness, I see some reason for hope! I see reason for hope, because I now know that we are NOT ALONE, in our deep worries about AI!
On April 13, 2017, I attended a meeting of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, at the Harold Washington Library, in Chicago. The topic of the meeting was: “Are We Really Going to Live Forever? The Promises and Perils of Artificial Intelligence.” What follows is a summary of my notes from this symposium:
School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois Humanities – – School of the Arts, Executive Director of the Illinois Humanities Institute
(I.) INTRODUCTION: AI Issues Facing Society. “How would human consciousness change, if we can live forever? What direction do we choose?”
(II.) Elissa Tenney, President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “SAIC [School of the Art Institute of Chicago] faculty have long been Trailblazers in art & science collaboration. Now, especially, we are confronted by the pro-AI works of Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk. They are forcing us to ask such troubling questions as, ‘Can robots feel? Are we really going to live forever?'”
(III.) PANELISTS: Raja Halwani, [Moderator], Professor, Philosophy, SAIC; Pete Beckman, Co-Director, Northwestern University-Argonne National Laboratory Institute for Science and Technology; Rachel Bronson, Executive Director and Publisher, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Eduardo Kac, Professor, Art and Technology Studies, SAIC; Malcolm MacIver, Professor, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University; Christophe D. Ringer, Assistant Professor, Theological Ethics and Society, Chicago Theological Seminary.
“Almost all companies are bringing in robots. Even pizza makers are using robots! What will happen to people’s ability to find jobs? Even uber drivers could be replaced by self-driving cars.
If we invent robots that kill us with poisonous gas, it will be OUR fault!”
What is AI? For centuries, we have been using calculating devices. Alan Turing, 60 years ago, invented the Turing Test: If you had a conversation with a computer, and you thought it was a human, then it passed the Turing Test. Now we have the modern Super-computer, Watson. It is used for the Chinese game, GO!, as well as for self-driving cars.
Soon, we will reach the Technological Singularity, and with it, the arrival of Superintelligence! So, what potential effects would AI have on society? It may cause us to ask, “Who am I? What am I? What kind of capacities does a human, have? For the question, ‘What does it mean to be human?,’ the boundary line keeps moving! We now have massive amounts of data about who you are! This situation is fundamentally changing our SELF-KNOWLEDGE!”
This may change our experience of the body, which may be fundamentally transformed! “I think, therefore I am.” The problem with AI and Superintelligence, then, is to cause us to ask, “What part of our identity do we yield to AI?” Such questions revolve around our very identity!
Effects upon us and our economy. For entrepreneurs, many have to be anti-AI. The threat is much greater than we expect! There will be a great economic dislocation!
Other people may oppose this idea, and say, “We’ve seen this before!” However, now may be different, because routine cognitive tasks (such as reading an x-ray or reading an MRI image) and routine manual labor, are quickly being eaten away by robots! It is the non-routine manual tasks (like programming a computer) that are still highly resistant to automation.
AI & Democracy. If we do not understand the algorithms [formal rules of computing], then how do we respond? How do we hold AI responsible?
There is an increasing polarization of knowledge. There is a new social contract. Should we have a right to have access to all of the digital data about us? We will see a huge disparity in how AI is being used. When a machine makes a mistake, how do we respond? With Deep Learning/Machine Learning, how do I respond?
Amazon robots are now moving shipping cases around. But, the AIST robot in Japan looks like an an average-shaped Japanese woman!. So, if I kick her, have I fooled myself into doing something wrong? Are we building AI to fool us, to make us think that we are more attached to a robot? We design robots with silicon. Do we also give them rights? After all, Their life is forever – – OURS is NOT!
Interface between Art & Science. “I work on an electric fish-brain. I work on the interface between art and science. Why is there a revolving door between artists and what scientists and engineers produce?”
AI & Religion. Will AI give us different visions of God? Religion is pretty durable, because it is very human. We are hard-wired for Transcendence! There is a coming [Technological] Singularity – – An Apocalyptic Vision of Transhumanism. This will allow us to escape the limits of the body. Christianity, on the other hand, has Visions of God.
Do we see human life as a gift? AI is going to fundamentally change our experience of religion. The implications of AI for religion are immense. For instance, we might soon listen to an AI deliver a message, instead of a human minister!
What Impact Will AI Have On Our Future? Something profound has been happening in the last 10 years, from about 2015 to date. It is a vast increase in the ability of machines to learn!
There is now a National Arms Race, using machines that keep increasing their intelligence! Thus, AI is the Third Revolution in Human History: (1.) Gunpowder – – 1st Revolution; (2.) Nuclear weapons – – 2nd Revolution; (3.) Artificial Intelligence (AI) – – 3rd Revolution.
What kind of human interactions with robotic weapons, will we have? It’s not just all about drones! There must be human interaction around KILL decisions! Even Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are very concerned about such issues.
Another major concern: So many people are losing their jobs! Are we training the next generation out of a job?
Issues with AI. What is going to happen with cars? The last question: What are the potential benefits of AI? For example, deep learning AI systems do some things better than doctors and nurses!
“I BEG you to listen!” I proclaimed out loud, as I stepped up to the microphone, during the Question period. I told the panel and audience (of about 500 people) all about my frightening experience with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. I also handed out dozens of my Robowatch, LLC, business cards, to the first long row of seats in the audience. At the end, I approached each of the major panelists, and urged them to contact me. A number of audience members also approached and talked to me. One lady helpfully suggested, “Don’t worry! Consult this website. It is at www.energeticsynthesis.com.”
[Special NOTE and Recommendation: Please do visit our two sister websites, www.linkedin.com, and www.facebook,com, and look up my name. These are helpful follow-up posts!]