Wednesday 13 November 2019

Why are so many mainstream media concerning with the danger of takeover by evil A.I.s (artificial intelligences)?

I was watching the most recent 'Terminator' movie and I wondered - not for the first time - why 'Hollywood' has been so keen on 'warning' us about the perils of takeover by evil AIs (Artificial Intelligences). Probably my first recollection of this theme was the computer HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey; and there have been many examples since.

These cannot really be intended as serious warnings, since the same Establishment that funds major media is also engaged in a massive, unrelenting programme to introduce AI (e.g. the interlinked 'internet of things' aka. smart devices) - whether we like it or not. So what is going on?

The first idea might be along the lines of that apparent 'law' by which evil is 'required' to tell us what it is going to do to us, before it does it - as if our tacit consent is necessary.

I suppose this is the origin of the 'monologuing' of all the villains of stage and screen, who almost invariably do this to the hero before attempting to kill him (So, Mr Bond; after I have rushed off to deal with some urgent problem elsewhere, you will be cut in two by this slowly-moving laser beam which I have linked to...); and are then (notoriously) thwarted as a consequence of the delay.

But I think there must be more to it than that, particularly since AI is 'not a real thing'. Computers cannot think, have no will nor personality - and are never under any circumstances going to become living, conscious Beings...

So what is it all about?

My understanding is that the triumph of AI will not be when it becomes sentient, but when people believe it is sentient.

This is the crucial step in mass populations consenting to their own thought-control; which is the ultimate aim of the vast totalitarian bureaucratic System that already covers the world, and is continuously narrowing the mesh of its net to embrace as much of Life as possible.

Therefore my theory is that the evil AI is simply a plausible 'soft sell' of the core idea that there is such-a-real-thing as AI.

Given that it would be nigh impossible to convince modern people into believing that an AI could be the benign controller of a Utopian, it may be that dystopian movies about evil AIs are an indirect and more-plausible way of brainwashing the populace into believing that machines can become alive and conscious and potentially do nearly all of the things that humans currently do.

Once that crucial point has been got-across, then the next stage would be to get people to accept that things-called-AIs could be trusted to do things like drive cars and trains, pilot delivery drones,  fight enemies, do police and government surveillance etc. - so long as there is some kind of human 'supervision'.

Which would - inevitably, nowadays - be bureaucratic surveillance; since demon-serving Establishment seeks - ASAP and as a matter of urgent priority - to monitor and control everybody in the world by one single linked bureaucracy.

In a nutshell - the intent is that things-called-AIs would-be/ will-continue-to-be integrated int The Bureaucracy.

Then things would be set-up for the AIs to be blamed for whatever nasty things the world government bureaucracy has in store for us.

AI: the ultimate fall-guy! (i.e. one who is utterly obedient and who never answers back)

Note: This post is not arguing that AI is impossible. It assume it is impossible and I believe it is impossible; but I am not arguing the case here. The argument is a deep one, to do with the fundamental nature of life and consciousness - and it is not a matter of science; because scientific proof or demonstration depends on prior assumptions as to the nature of life and consciousness. We can't prove or disprove AI with 'evidence' until after we know what counts as evidence and how to interpret it.


dearieme said...

"I was watching the most recent 'Terminator' movie": good Lord, is it confession time? Repent and atone, BC.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - I would give it three stars (from five) - an entertaining evening while it was happening, but forgettable. Worth watching, if you like that sort of thing; but not rewatching.

Brad said...

This is right on point. It will never be alive, but if you can't functionally tell the difference, for most, there won't be one.

Keri Ford said...

"My understanding is that the triumph of AI will not be when it becomes sentient, but when people believe it is sentient."

I liked this, the smartest AI, application that can beat a chess champion or play ping pong at the level of a professional still has no consciousness, no thought, but the developments of thought in modernity, through materialism has increasingly devalued the inner life of thought. A scientific theory is not a brilliant idea but the inevitable outcome forced upon the experimental scientist by external facts. Our conception of our own thinking is moving toward the image of the machine.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Keri - Agreed - except:

"A scientific theory is not a brilliant idea but the inevitable outcome forced upon the experimental scientist by external facts."

I would say that true theories (which are pretty rare, a product of some level of genius) are intuitive, and come from some kind of direct apprehension of reality which goes beyond and deeper than 'external facts' - after all, what counts as 'external facts' and which of these are relevant is a product of prior conviction.

There are an 'infinite' number of wrong theories, and very few that could be regarded as (even partially) true - so there must be a positive 'attraction' between true theories and the thinking of real scientists - real scientists being genuinely motivated by truth.

When the scientist is merely careerist, or motivated by politcs or ideology, his motivation is not truth-full - and then there is no limit to the error, to the falseness of theory - as we see all around us.

Keri Ford said...

Sorry I was being unclear with the sentence you quoted of mine, what I was saying was: that is the idea of what a scientists thoughts are, not the reality. Scientists even the most materialistic ones still have ideas, intuitions etc, but they like to think that they don't.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Keri - Thanks for the calrification - I thought it seemed an uncharacteristic statement!