After yesterday’s post, I thought more about logic, AI, human-computer interfaces, etc., and I realized a couple of things.
I realized the utility of computers and AI is entirely dependent on how humans define the purpose of an individual’s existence and the collective existence of all humans. Depending on this perspective–either individual or collective–the work performed by AI would be very different. Furthermore, the perfectly-logical solutions to what we consider human problems are going to require sacrificing things we consider fundamental to human existence.
For example, if we tell AI to solve climate change, it might start by killing all humans, since we seem to be the species that’s fucking that up. In fact, killing all humans is probably the most logical solution to a lot of problems. It would solve world hunger and achieve world peace at the same time!
But there are less-extreme examples too. If we cure all diseases, our population would increase exponentially, and we’d eventually exhaust our planet’s resources and start eating each other.
Wait…that wasn’t a less-extreme example at all. I guess that’s the point though. The most logical, most efficient solution to any human problem creates an outcome that is shockingly different from what we might expect. We don’t want to die…but we don’t want to give up our bodies either. We don’t want to age, but we don’t want to give up the pleasure of eating.
Obviously, we’d have to program some serious limitations into AI. And in the process, we’d be defining the parts of human existence that we don’t want to give up. But once we’ve placed enough constraints on AI, eventually we’re going to have to give it a purpose that aligns with the purpose of human existence. What is that, exactly? To avoid death? To avoid suffering? To explore the unknown? To experience love?
When you realize that AI will eventually have the power to achieve any outcome, it seems obvious to me that the individuals controlling it must have the purpose of human existence already figured out. And despite my personal obsession with logic, I hope the creator of AI has the foresight to protect the life and free will of every human equally, and to program it to help us all feel more love and happiness.