there are a lot of sexy buzzwords being thrown around these days with artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, and when you go beyond that there are the singularity and advanced artificial intelligence. if someone says they know 100% what will happen with it all in our future, I would be wary. what I do know that is we are to bring systems into the world to really work, they probably will have to be closed to humans – who basically, will use the systems, but will not allow each person to have any control for the entire one. it is like planes, you can have them flying with no pilots today if you wish, but we keep a pilot in the cockpit for the various reason. go forward another 50 years and imagine where the ability and ways to travel will be when you consider aviation as we know it, is a very young industry.
I am fascinated by all of the possibilities of where the world and technology can and will go, yet, there is a discussion about ethics and machine ethics that really bothers me in the world of the reality of the human condition. humans are really amazing tool makers and well suited to move around and adapt to change -yet- we appear to be heading down a path where we are with controlled environments…we create this optimal place, space, and conditions for a plant to grow it. they do. will the same happen with humans? or will we simply go the way of wall-e and dumb down humanity for the masses and wonder, “what will humans do?”
the bigger question I have with all the technology is you are starting to hear rumblings about ethics and machines. the machines are further along, and the powers that be that created them probably did not intend their ideas to be used for what probably will be more about pushing security, control, and one group's ethics as a mask where the deeper issues of power, pride, and greed are the real fuel to the system.
in the last 100 years we have had Oppenheimer make a product and when he saw it unleashed became the destroyer, the Nobel prize was created because someone figured out a really effective substance to blow things up, and in the last 25 years, look at where Tim Berners Lee has seen the world wide web carved up more for commodification than allowing people to communicate and the world to be more democratic.
with artificial intelligence and machine learning, there is one area that I don't think humans realize, although we are getting a glimpse of it - it is that for everything you tweak, alter and change, with an action – there will be a reaction. what the computers of tomorrow will allow is really amazing processing and analytical power that humans simply will not be able to keep up with. when we allow the machines to learn and even build themselves – ideally in the realm of freeing up more time for humans to do other things – you are going to have a period where the problem will be that the machines might look at humans as a threat to the planet.
if the focus of all of these new technologies were coming from a path where we were trying to make the planet itself and give the humans in it a better way of life, or if we looked back in our relatively short human existence on this planet and the history books were not filled with tales of one group trying to prove it is superior to another – I might not have heartburn with, “what do you want to use this technology for?”
unfortunately, with ethics – someone has to make up some rules of what is acceptable, what Is not, and what are the consequences if the system doesn’t work. for example, the idea of love seems very simple, yet, how many of us fail miserably each day in loving our partners, friends, family, and enemies? if you read the words of the declaration of independence, there is a great ideal put on paper when the country was formed, “we hold these rights that all men are created equal…” was written in a time when the actions of the founders themselves did not match what they wrote. perhaps they were injecting “hope” into the idea that people would rise up and make a great place and love each other?
why do I wonder and worry about all the learned professors and leaders of this industry all calling for ethics with the machines? probably because of all the work we did in secret involving human emotion. our mission was to use technology to find ways to immerse people and modify their senses and emotional states. what I learned is that you can do this quite well. with where computers are today with the immersive sound fields (not really possible and/or will sound like crap with mere humans running the show and no computers) is that technology one day will be really smart and do some amazing things.
then there are the humans. the one element that for whatever reason can find itself thinking it is the center of the universe and somehow remarkably special in the world with trillions of stars and if you dig into the subatomic world, I don’t even know how you would calculate the number of particles in atoms, just on this planet. but there is man, and if you look at his track record, and the amount of time and money he spends with security, defensive and offensive ways to smite thine enemy, or the ways to make money without having to exert much physical effort – therein lies my concerns with any ethic
there are already and have been people working on the idea of autonomous and smart weaponization for years. we will be at a place soon where the machines will have the ability to create and do certain functions of which, it is doubtful one will ever have 100% perfection with operations. if someone writes the “ethic” of these machines like the founders of with the declaration of independence and holds each human to the letter of the law – what human will be available to live/work/play/dream if no one is perfect? you have some sci-fi movies about the chip and how society is one big happy homogenized land of pretty pictures, yet, sort of a lifeless heart and soul of the people walking around in it.
I didn’t become a weapons designer because I probably would be good at it, and I think that the best way to fight a war, is to not have to fight one. so when we got into sensory work, I realized that someone is going to take all this and use it for the commodification and desires of a few – yet – they will want to retain that edge over everyone else, as it allows for a giant competitive advantage. for example, when we wanted to rent some fMRI time to play with some ideas, it turns out all the major corporation were also renting the machines to figure out ways to get people to react so they could sell more products.
I think the country of China is the one that will be far advanced with the use of AI and machine learning for the masses. it is already in full swing in some cities. the difference is that you have a very different political/social/religious ethic there than other parts of the world. in the EU, where people are forgetting the reality of two world wars on their soils – you are watching a different element of globalization come in, where I had to learn as an immigrant, it is hard to assimilate into a place you did not grow up and are native to, yet, “when in Rome, do as the Romans” is probably the wiser tact until humans can evolve and simply treat and love each other. while I am optimistic that this is possible…I am not one to believe it will happen.
far greater minds and others who have prophesied have all said, “nope, that isn’t’ going to happen on planet earth.”
so while we can have robots and machines that help and aid us. the reality is someone will use them for their personal or selfish reasons that few are talking about the abuse of pride, ego, greed, or simply the psychological well-being of a balanced humanity. many people that possess great talents also tend to be a smidgen unbalanced and warped in their weaknesses that people allow or tolerate because the talent provides more than the weaknesses take away.
what these technologies of our future will have humans asking, and I think Pandora’s box was opened a while ago in the research and development labs – is not so much how do we use it? but “how can we keep tabs on it, and what is the rules everyone has to play with – and will we agree to abide with them?” it is doubtful this idea will hold true as you see much of the planet playing that game of trying to get the brass ring, or collect all the shiny objects that are, “valuable” to humans.
I do see one area of hope for all this, and that is that perhaps machines will evolve and learn and when advanced artificial intelligence that can suck the data and process it on the planet comes to fruition and runs all the various calculations and options – the machines might realize that human probably is not going to fix their inherent weaknesses and instead of destroying the threats to the plane, aka – humans – the machines begin to understand what the weaknesses are and teaches, instead of destroying.
it is ironic that if you believe in a higher being and love this is available now to everyone, no machines needed.
the bias in the machine system, constructed originally with the human bias that created it – simply have me think it will not bode well for what we consider living and life as a human.
that's my two cents on a rainy Saturday morning where I was going to write about what you can do in 23 minutes – the amount of time it takes a human brain to refocus after it is interrupted from a concentrated state.