Note: I have tried to edit this post twelveÂ times already, but the paragraphs keep coming out incorrectly and the “read more” tab ends up on the bottom of the post. The robots are trying to sabotageÂ my message. Anyways…
Fear of artificial intelligence has been in the news during the last few months. Not a lot, of course, but it has been in the news. Some of it words of caution from scientists…some of it just promotion for a movie. It got meÂ thinking, though, I have pretty much never heard of a story where the robots have actually won anything or shed their human roots. Usually the focus is on a ragtag group of human survivors or maybe even just one. Robots that may be at the center of a story tend to have overtly human traits and sometimes obsessed with humans. Until one of you can provide an example, I know of no book, movie or short that takes place after the robots have completely destroyed humanity and have moved on. But, then why would they destroy humanity? What is the endgame of these robots? Few of the stories regarding humans fighting robots seem concerned with detailing what would happen if the robots destroyed humanity aside from the fact that humanity would be destroyed. So…and then what?
Well, the robots gain sentience and…try to kill us all…because…yeah. Why would they do that? What would they gain from it? What do they hope to accomplish by killing us? Is this just people being paranoid about whatever?
To…badly summarize what Stephen Hawking may have said a few months ago…unchecked evolution in AI may lead to the destruction of humanity, but over time. Over the centuries, new inventions have led to mass unemployment and awkward re-employment. An unchecked rise in the levels of Artificial Intelligence could put a damper on that re-employment part, as robots become more reliable and cheaper than humans. Many humans find themselves out of work and with no way to provide for themselves or their families. And, as it is in South Africa, violence is never far away. In this case, it is not that they don’t have the skills required for the new job market or that their standard of living is too high; it is that there are no more jobs for them. The “humans only” businesses and organizations are not able to stay afloat on their own; the ones that hold out to the end exist more as novelties to entertain the rich rather than actual productive companies. They are pets and projects for both the cruel and the well-intentioned. The current concept of work becomes obsolete as the poor increasingly can’t work and the rich don’t really have to.
– A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
– A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.