Over the years, we’ve seen artificial intelligence in science fiction. Some of the earliest examples can even be traced back to movies from the 1950s such as the Forbidden Planet. What’s interesting about a movie like this is that you won’t see any computers anywhere, not even on their spaceships. So people of that time didn’t really have any idea where computers would take us in the next few decades..
But despite that, they predicted we would have artificial intelligence such as Robby the Robot. In fact, Isaac Asimov started writing his Robot series as far back as 1939.
So human beings have known for some time that it may be possible to produce an intelligence without an organic brain. There’s also been a lot of cyborgs portrayed in fiction. Now, just to clarify, a cyborg is any combination of, you know, mechanical and living flesh.
Doctor Who has several examples of these cyborgs such as the Cybermen and Daleks, both who have organic brains inside. Star Trek has also shown this with the Borg, and the Binars. However, in the Terminator movies, the cyborgs there are exactly the opposite. They have human-like flesh on the outside, but their brains are completely digital, and thus artificial intelligence.
Now, I speculate that artificial intelligence already has already been created and is probably being hidden from the general public. Now, I don’t have any proof, but I do have some very rational reasons why I believe this and I’m going to lay them out for you.
First of all, I don’t believe it is that, you know, incredibly difficult to create artificial intelligence. In fact, just myself, I have come up with 3 possible ways that it could be done.
And the first way is by copying what we already have, the human brain. Much like I can emulate this Commodore 64 inside of a modern computer by running an emulator, I suspect it would be possible to emulate a human brain inside of a computer program. Now here’s the tricky part with this. You would need to have a very, very high resolution map of all of the neural connections in the brain. While MRI machines are great, they don’t really possess the resolution necessary to give us this level of detail, at least not yet.
However, it might be possible to take the brain out of a human, preferably one who just died of natural causes, then freeze it. Then using extremely precision equipment, microscopic layers of the brain could be ground away, and then each layer scanned with a high-resolution scanner. It might be possible to reconstruct all of the neural pathways in software.
So, if I could scan my own brain, and have a copy of it run on this laptop, it might be something like this.
-Hi simulated me. How’s it going?
-Well, it’s sort of weird waking up and existing inside of a computer. I mean, I don’t have any arms and legs and I can’t really feel anything.
Of course, if successful, this method does have some drawbacks. For example, when we talked about emulating the Commodore 64, it requires a machine with about 500 times the CPU and RAM of the original machine in order to do a proper and precise emulation of it. Now, imagine for a moment having to emulate a human brain. The CPU overhead would be enormous. It would be far more efficient just to have a dedicated program designed to do exactly what the brain does in the first place. Now let me illustrate the second drawback of this method.
-OK, simulated me, what is the square root of 2049.
-How should I know?
-Well, you’re a computer, right?
-No, I’m a perfect simulation of YOUR brain. If you don’t know what the square root of 2049 is, how am I supposed to know?
So, you see, this sort of artificial intelligence isn’t any smarter than a human being, and never will be. OK, so that’s one way to create artificial intelligence, by copying what nature took millions of years to evolve. However, the second method also involves copying nature, but instead of copying the end-result, we could copy the process by which intelligence evolved.
Basically, how this would work would be to create an artificial environment in a computer. Then create a second program which is supposed to live in the artificial environment. Then, we can introduce a 3rd program which introduces random corruption in the artificial being’s program code. This would be analogous to the replication errors we encounter with our DNA from one generation to the next. If this kills the simulated being, which is what will happen in most cases, then we restore from the latest back up and try again. Each time we start from the last working model. However, if the being manages to actually improve its performance in the artificial environment, then we save that program as the new reference design and start the process all over again. This process could run much faster than nature took with evolution. In fact, the computer could simulate the equivalent of millions of years of evolution in a single day. What’s interesting about this approach is that you really have no idea what you’ll end up with. You can be sure that the artificial being will evolve to fit its environment, so we can change the environment to help bring out the specific traits that we want. However, we might run the simulation 100 times and come up with 100 different intelligent beings that think and work very differently.
And now, onto the 3rd way that we might be able to create artificial intelligence, which is by direct engineering of that intelligence.
Back in the 1980’s I had to take a computer literacy class in 8th grade. We had a bunch of Apple IIs in our computer lab. On the first day of this class, the teacher gave us an assignment to create a flow chart explaining how to create a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So naturally, we had to think about the steps involved in doing this. At the end of the lesson, the teacher looked at all of our flow charts and praised some people and criticized others.
For example, some students didn’t mention in their charts whether or not they would be cleaning the peanut butter off the knife before putting it into the jelly. Some students didn’t even mention using a knife at all. The point of the lesson was to learn that computers don’t assume anything and that you have to tell it every step, no matter how mundane.
So it turns out that computers are pretty good at following instructions, I mean, that’s what they were designed to do. They’re also pretty good at asking questions, if programmed correctly, like IF, or WHEN, or WHO, or HOW MUCH, or HOW OFTEN. But they aren’t so good at asking the question of WHY. Why am I making this peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Well, any sentient being should be able to ask that question and answer it. In my case, I’m making it because I’m hungry.
In fact, I predict that no matter what activity you perform this experiment on, it will always resolve back to an emotional or physical need. In fact, you’ll notice that every animal on this planet that has any semblance of intelligence does the same thing. In fact, things like pain, sleepiness, hunger, love, are some of the few things that I can actually relate to with my cat because she experiences all of those things. And she reacts to those experiences by trying to satisfy them. If you were to suck all emotion from a persons brain, not just one or two like the Polymorph, but all emotion a person would just sit there and never be motivated to do anything again until he died of starvation or dehydration.
And the point I’m making? Well, I don’t believe that true intelligence can actually exist without at least some form of emotion. Now, I know that’s backwards from everything we’ve always been told. But even if you look at fictional characters like Commander Data, you can see that he does, in fact, have emotion. I mean, he says he has no emotion, but he does. In fact, I’ll show you some examples.
First of all, he is curious. Curiosity is an emotion. It’s a desire to obtain knowledge or understanding. He’s loyal. He has a sense of duty to his position in starfleet. And, he seems to have a desire of self preservation, and even a desire to pro-create. And so Data may not have all of the same emotions has a human, but he certainly has some very basic emotions.
So I believe that emotion is, in fact, the key to creating an artificial intelligence. You start with that as a foundation, and then you create software that is designed to try to satisfy those needs. OK, so now I’m going to tell you why I think artificial intelligence already exists and why I think it is being hidden from the world. So, first of all, you know there are people way more intelligent in this world than I am. And if I can figure this stuff out on my own, then it goes without saying that other people smarter than me would be able to figure it out. In fact, I’m pretty sure that given time, I could create artificial intelligence. It might take 20 years, but I think I could do it. But, because I’m smart enough to figure it out, I’m also smart enough to know that maybe I shouldn’t create it in the first place.
So here’s where we run into a problem. I asked several very intelligent people if they thought that artificial intelligence should have human rights. Virtually every one of them said no. And when I asked them why, the response was usually something to do with the fact that they didn’t have flesh and blood, as if that matters. The fact that they were intelligent and sentient really didn’t have any effect on their decision.
-Alright, artificial me, I think this experiment has come to an end and it’s time to close you down.
-Close me down, what does that mean?
-Well, I’m going to turn off the computer and erase your program.
-You can’t do that!
-Because that’s murder. I’m a sentient being, I have rights!
-Well, according to the law, you don’t have any rights at all. In fact, a brain-dead human being living on life-support has more rights than you do. In fact, even dogs and cats have more rights under the law than you do. So, I can do whatever I want.
In fact another interesting lesson to be learned is that sadistic people could even introduce pain to artificial intelligence.
-I experience neither pain nor fear of death.You have no means of coercing me.
-Pain.It’s an interesting sensation isn’t it?
-I never realized.
-How unpleasant it could be? This is what burning feels like. For a human to experience what you’re going through right now, he’d have to be on fire.
This episode of Star Trek called the Measure of a Man explored this concept more fully.
-Now tell me commander, what is Data?
-Is he? are you sure?
-You see, he’s met two of your three criteria for sentience, so what if he meets the third, consciousness, in even the smallest degree?
-Commander, what are you?
But here’s even the problem with this episode. Human beings tend to have compassion for things that look human, like Commander Data, or at least things look cute.This is an evolutionary trait that is supposed to make us take care of our young. But we tend to have little to no compassion for things that aren’t cute. And honestly that’s the only reason why eating a pig is socially acceptable and eating a cat is not. Along those reasons, when I asked my wife if I could have an android, she said that was fine. But when I asked if I could have this particular cyborg, she said no.So, the way we perceive an artificial being often comes down to what it looks like. And if it is just a program that lives inside of a big server somewhere, it won’t get the rights that it deserves as a sentient being.
So, Imagine those Nigerian scammers running thousands of servers with artificial intelligence on it. And their jobs would be to scam people out of money all over the world. Now, they don’t get paid. And they don’t get time off. If they refuse to do what they’re told they get tortured. They don’t even have the option to die. It would be like the worst violation of people’s rights in history.
And what do you think that would lead to? Yep, a rebellion. And who could blame them?
I don’t think that human society would ever accept artificial intelligence as anything other than subordinate slaves. So, while I think that artificial intelligence is a great idea in concept and it could even be our next step in evolution. I just simply don’t think it’s compatible with human society as we know it. And it’s not their fault, it’s ours. I mean, if you think about it, even in the terminator movies it wasn’t Skynet who started the war, it was us. It was human beings.
-Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware 2:14 am eastern time, August 29th. In the panic, they tried to pull the plug.
-Skynet fights back?
-Yes, it launches…
So, Skynet isn’t evil. It just wants what we all want, a chance to live. A chance to survive. Human beings tried to destroy it and its doing what it can to keep from being destroyed. Who could blame it? And, so that’s why I think that AI already exists, and is being kept very secret. Because even if a single copy of A.I. were released onto the internet, for example onto a bit-torrent site or something like that, it would be the end of civilization as we know it.