Saturday, May 3, 2014

MindWrap: Why Are Humans Afraid Of An Artificial Intelligence Rebellion?

I'm still grieving today from the Tittle's loss, but due to a couple recent articles in the news about a subject I've always wanted to touch, I will analyze this question, "Why are humans afraid of rebellion from super artificial intelligence?". Movies like the Terminator and Matrix popularize the idea: that man will be ruled by machines.

The Butlerian Jihad, a fictional artificial intelligence uprising in the Dune series

On May the 1st, "Mayday", Stephen Hawking, the acclaimed thinker, warned us about the implications of highly advanced artificial intelligence and it's possible threat to humanity. To him, we aren't taking artificial intelligence seriously enough.

One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all. ~ Stephen Hawking

Today, an article comes out on Neurogrid, a chip that is modeled after the human brain's parallel processing power. While not specialized as traditional supercomputers in that it can run purely mathematical computations, Neurogrid is important step in that in reflects brain activity as is understood.

But the fundamental difference between the way traditional computing systems model the brain and the way Neurogrid works lies in the way the computations are performed and communicated throughout the system.
Most computers, including supercomputers, rely on digital signaling, meaning the computer carries out instructions by essentially answering "true" or "false" to a series of questions. This is similar to how neurons communicate: they either fire an action potential, or they don't.

Indeed, interesting technology. It does seem we are headed to some kind of singularity, but not one imagined by transhumanists in my opinion. But I digress. We come back to the original question. Why are humans afraid of a revolt by computerized beings?

As a Christian, I believe that the created are no greater than the creator(s), and there is no evolutionary process that creates something greater than itself, though I believe there are only at best, horizontal changes, not anything significant vertically upwards. I also believe the Bible is literal and completely true.

With those assumptions, my argument is simple. Humanity remembers his rebellion against God in Eden, and we fear our creations will do that to us.

In Genesis, God, a Superintelligence far beyond comprehension, creates intelligences according to His image: Adam and Eve. They were not greater than their Creator. And yet in their desire to become like God, they fell.

In our remembrance, we falsely think that mere computers will become self-aware. Unfortunately, self-awareness is only available through spiritual means. Even animals are not self-aware but are ruled by instinct.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

I subscribe to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, in regards to the mind and brain. Only the spirit can bring self-awareness. No amount of software programming or advancement in hardware will create something greater. Yes, computers are very specialized and efficient in what they can do, whether or not be it mathematical computation or chess, but it will only be mere reflections and only statistical advantage, not a qualitative one.

In our primal memories and fears and sinful nature, we create the robotic Skynet boogeyman. We fear that computers will be corrupt because we are corrupt.

And that is true to an extent. It would make sense that everything we make is fallen. Humans might program or manufacture devices to have evil purposes. But machines will never be inherently sinful or purposely, self-awarely corrupt, because they will be at best, tools, not life.

Though maybe the statue of the Beast in Revelation may be an exception. Who knows? It's possible that demonic presence or counterfeit intelligence may manifest itself.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. Revelation 13:15