Thursday, May 11, 2017


In March I wrote The Robots are Coming, a piece about Pluto in Aquarius. Here are a few more thoughts:

I think the greatest danger from Artificial Intelligence is not that it will surpass us, but that we will dumb down to its level. Every time we answer a multiple choice character quiz on Facebook, or select options from a machine on the phone, we are becoming part of a world that tries to reduce what we think to simple, discrete categories of someone else's choosing. A world that has no place for thinking outside the box, or for just not having an answer. In this way AI becomes one more means of keeping the population docile.

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We've got rid of our gods by proving their non-existence. And I think that's part of what this drive towards Artificial Intelligence is about: filling that gods-shaped hole with something that surpasses us. But which, in this case, we fear will also destroy us. A bit like the Old Testament God, maybe. It's like we can't help but live out the old patterns underneath our shiny new technologies.

The thing about Artificial Intelligence is that it thinks in boxes. And developing AI amounts to giving it more boxes to think with. But they're still boxes, and that is why it is artificial. Humans have to make an effort to think in boxes, because our minds are more like a stream of water - that's on a good day, and like a stagnant puddle on a bad day.
But it still all connects up, it's all one thing. And when we think, we're being informed by this thing called feeling, which is primary and which you can never get to the bottom of. And to some extent feeling can be modelled and predicted, particularly when it's a stagnant puddle. But when it's a stream there's this other thing that can't be predicted. People surprise us. It's the Mariana Trench connection. And that is why robots will only ever be cleverer than us in certain ways, and we'll always be able to draw in something from somewhere else that outsmarts them.


Bernd said...

Yes, Yes, and Yes. So true. And that's why there is nothing to fear! Thank you for your ponderings. Bernd

weaver said...

great illustrations for explaining your points.