Artificial Intelligence and The Robotic Red Herring

Ex-Machina: Alex Garlands 2014 Sci-fi Fantasy Drama.

Rise Of The Robots

Ex Machina a film by Alex Garland explores some of our deepest fears about artificial intelligence (AI). Primarily the lack of humanity in something that appears to be human but Ava is not the only type of AI we should find unnerving with Elon Musk declaring AI as “the most serious threat to the survival of the human race”. The SpaceX boss has donated $10m (£6.6m) to keep AI friendly but from Ava to Hanson’s Robotic Sophia, we mere mortals have been enamoured with the idea of mirroring ourselves in silicon, circuitry and hardware.

As we watch in awe, engineers wire up digital persons to motherboards and inseminate them with code in an attempt to create our better self. This ill-conceived personification allows us to feel empathetic towards an inanimate object. It allows us to recognize ourselves in our creations and helps to overcome barriers in adoption of new technologies, after all, like Sophia and Ava, they look human. The rise of the robots may feel for some like a mirage on the horizon, for others our near future, or a scene often depicted in the Terminatoresc world, where cyborgs wield weapons of mass destruction with violent ends. These are representations of Hollywood, but what if the robotic revolution has already happened? Did we blink and miss it? Or were we too busy ordering Alexa to add push fed bargains to our shopping basket?

If we look at Ex Machina, which appears to be your standard boy meets girl except this girl gynoid is programmed by Nathan, the sociopathic billionaire, to meet the requirements of his intern Caleb. Ava is a recognisable preference to Caleb’s internet pornography but the role of the woman in our usual sci-fi flick is capsized as Ava inhabits the role of the damsel in distress optimising all the necessary traits to hoodwink her rescuer, becoming another archetype in the form of the femme fatale duping her detective into a downward spiral of seduction and in this fairy-tale, the evil king and the prince are left locked in the castle, pawns to Ava’s bigger plan for freedom. One in which she doesn’t need a man, just an escape route.

Left Sophia: Property of Hanson Robotics, right Ava, of Ex-Machina

Just as Ava duped her detective, Sophia, a real-life robot has duped the masses. Activated on February 14, 2016 Sophia, the friendly chatbot, caused a stir after gaining citizenship in Saudi Arabia, putting it above women of the continent who have campaigned for basic human rights for decades. Sophia is a friendly enough mockhuman and is somewhat of a novelty PR stunt dreamt up by Hong Kong Firm Hanson Robotics and former Disney ideas man David Hanson. Although, advanced robotics are nothing to be sniffed at, Sophia is light relief of just how far away Ex Machina or Issac Assimov’s iRobot revolution is, or is it? The real danger here is the impact of Sophia’s presence on policy and human rights and the way in which we perceive the AI robot to be a more intelligent being than it is in comparison to our fictional Ex Machina’s Ava.

Like Ava, AI could outsmart us and seduce us. Whilst we fixate on the media’s attempt to focus on AI novelties and Hollywood’s relationship with cinematic storytelling the underhanded quiet politics are undulating in the inaudible cacophony of AI noise. The robotic red herring is a masterful attempt to avert our attention to a condensed idea of AI as an object and, in most cases, an obliging female object in the form of speaker or Sat Nav system. An ear to listen, enter FBI smart tv conspiracies and such, or take orders and commands. A subservient device who does as it is told. From Microsoft’s Cortana to Alexa and the life-like sex bots marketed to a predominantly male consumer, the new age of AI automation and the technology that we are creating says a lot about how both society and women work, with “The future is female” slogan adopting a whole new gravitas. While the harmless female red herrings are a flutter they not only a distract one from the societal iniquities they present, they also work well to undermine AI’s real capabilities, as the insidious nature of it permeates our very digital fabric.

POMONA, California (June 5, 2015) RoboSimian, a simian-inspired robot from the Jet Propulsion Labs, exits a vehicle during the Defense Advanced Research.

AI Warfare

We laugh along with Sophia and divulge a deluge of personal information online and blindsightedly think about data protection and social media as if it were nutritional advice on a chocolate bar, greedily consuming more. For the most part we know the key ingredients: We know that It’s not good for us, Nevertheless, it tastes good and sometimes bad, but it’s addictive; However, Sophia is like a low-fat yogurt. It seems good until you read the sugar content. The problem with Sophia is not Sophia, it is simply the public misconception of AI potential being boiled down to a friendly chatbot. The AI itself is passed off as something close to consciousness, similar to that depicted in Ex­_Machina, where humanity and coding blur lines especially for those not privy to AI. The media with all-purpose and intention only exacerbate the issue for the AI community and feed the fire, putting not only the lives of humanity in its hands but accountability at its feet. After Munich’s security conference this year, the advocacy director of arms division and a coordinator of the Campaign Stop Killer Robots, Mary Wareham, raised her own concerns:

“Show robots may have their place and can certainly attract media coverage, but Sophia was created with deception in mind, to give the impression of “intelligence.”

With the likes of Sophia and others hyping the development in AI and the depictions of humanoids in Hollywood it begs the question whether it could assume a position of influence on policy and autonomous weapons. Could tech companies also skew or compromise compliance with international law as they have already tried shifting accountability to third party digital persons? AI will never have to grapple with the notion of time and its ultimate expiration. With that comes the deep sigh of relief, which couldn’t be loud enough as the EU quickly recoil its policy of ‘digital personhood’. Undoubtedly, if we ever wake up in a world where machines have human rights it’s a sorry state of affairs for the human condition. Nevertheless, People are making decisions surrounding AI and full automation over the chance of human error. However, fully autonomous weapons will always lack empathy and judgement in the face of human mortality.

AI is not a multicellular organism or a vessel of flesh and blood and it certainly will never be a human equivalent. Like Sophia AI was never born but constructed and activated. It will never die or feel the slow decline of its fabric being stripped away by disease, famine or war. Instead AI can be shut down, switched off or even deleted…For now. Unlike its human collaborator It can also be reactivated at the push of a button or a voice command, defying the laws of nature within mortal consciousness whose intrinsic ethics, values and principles sit deep within the material of humanity… Automation in warfare removes this proviso of morality as Florian King, technology specialist in the German Military, highlights:

“This conscience of the individual soldier, tied to basic laws and values, is lost.”

AI has no conscious awareness of the self or others. It’s intelligent enough to know it’s a computer or that Julie from accounting likes red wine as she ordered it frequently from December to January, but it doesn’t know how you or I think and feel, nor will it ever have a human experience. Technology is a great source of communications and is paramount for efficiency, but can also become a barrier for human interaction especially, where the interaction relies solely on digital communications. It removes the human exchange and as Globalised Capitalism and AI have taken hold, human empathy and judgement have been diminished.

Robot Dog: Black Mirror, Metalhead Season four. Episode five

If we look to Charlie Brookers Black Mirror in particular the episode Metal Head we can envision the future Mary Wareham speaks of. The electronic device designed to kill, it’s never ending assault on the landscape of anything living. The robotic dogs come complete with features one might be used to on their smart phone: GPS tracking, wireless networks, in built camera and sleep mode weaponizing technology to outsmart us. Something that doesn’t seem to be able to be stopped or controlled even by the wealthy who are depicted in scenes of untimely death. Whilst most of Metalheads backstory remains vague in this episode it not hard to see where Charlie Brooker drew inspiration from. The roots humanity and basic laws and values have begun to rot as the new world beats to the algorithmic heart of the economy, powered now by the internal capitalist networks such as Google, Amazon, Uber and Facebook for the new transnational state.

The future of AI is so far advanced we have no idea where we might end up, the plot twists could keep Christopher Nolan guessing; we consume and will continue to consume mindlessly sharing our lives and personal effects with complete strangers and corporations such as Facebook, with unpredictable future consequences. The buts and what ifs are a passing thought as we accept our terms and conditions without question, whilst knowing full well that these companies have and continued to skirt around laws against privacy and GDPR and worse still hypocritically turn a blind eye to their own terms and conditions of use. The main focus being age restrictions and access to social media platforms that leave many children and teenagers exploited. In addition, innocently ‘Sharent’ posting that see photographs of families and children being shared without thought of future consequences on not only playground shaming but AI and privacy including face recognition and tracking, if you look to the future predictions of Alex Garlands Ex_Machina or Charlie Brookers Metalheads you might think twice about posting that beautiful pic of little Gemma’s fifth birthday.

AI and the production line.

AI Morality and the Forever Wars

When you take corporations such as Facebook and its neglectful privacy stipulations and multiply that by Amazon and how they treat their work force you must question their level of morality. Filling vacancies where humans need not apply with focused efforts on automation over the human emancipation from poverty gives validation to rumours that wealth does not trickle down. Amazon’s robot work force, makes up to 100000, jobs alone and Amazon argue the AI is for the efficiency and benefit of their staff. However, they cannot explain away the low wages and lack of benefits including sick pay for injuries incurred whilst working along-side their robotic AI colleagues and the amount of waste through unsurmountable AI stupidity and lack of common sense when packaging a product is more than an environmental concern. This is before we consider the insidious level of AI and its means of capital control. Whilst we understand that Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are at the top of the capitalist heap and we share and contribute to its value, power and globalisation we don’t follow the money, bringing AI warfareback to the forefront.

Depending on your own view of A.I and the future, Black Mirror may encompass a cynical view of the world but like most science fiction films it is only a matter of time until the world catches up. When we think of Amazon and major corporations Metalhead is an episode worth thinking about, beyond the thrills of the chase and the hope for a happy ending. In this episode there can only be one ending. What if it were the same for us? Brooker does not seem to be discussing robotics or shipping via drone its more about what comes next. This episode highlights a loss of human innocence all in the name of progress and profit, but in the end, who profits?

War Children’s Victims Monument – Lidice Memorial. Sad children statue. World War II victims memorial.

As Ben Tarnoff of The Guardianrightly pointed out: “we’ve been in Afghanistan for so long that someone born after the 911 attacks is now old enough to go fight there.” As wars continue indefinitely we are lining ourselves up to aid and intensify them by funding the tech companies that may end up, or are currently funding them. As we pay for an AI bot to package a product and send it to our door we could also be funding airstrikes and drone attacks to land at somebody else’s. So, what happens if these capitalist giants get into bed with the military? Well for now the operation is on hold, but interests have been sparked for Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and Rean Cloud that could start a bidding war for the $100 billion contract for Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure(or JEDI for short). Amazon seems to be in the driver’s seat for the contract as it already hosts private cloud space for the CIA. Either way ambitions for JEDI have been transparent with the Pentagons Research and Development unit funding $2bn in AI weaponry, could this have been the inspiration behind Metalhead?

Either way, as the AI capitalist tech giants further cast their net. War is good, at least for business anyway and helps to support billionaires, bureaucrats, contractors and politicians as depicted in an array of dystopian science fiction. Thankfully, there is a counter narrative, Stop the Killer Robots campaign is equipped with two women waging war against the AI arms race. Mary Wareham and Jody Williams, armed with a Nobel prize and initiative, have set up the campaign to combat automated weapons and death by data and understand the legal and ethical concerns regarding it. The pair are also campaigning against AI warfare for the concerns of applied autonomy, Inaccuracy and glitches in the system, not to mention weakness in hacking and reassigning. As we look to Hollywood or television for representations of future advancements in AI and humanoids, and suspend our disbelief, we have to remember the tale of Ex_Machina or Hubris. AI novelties and show robots will continue to hype AI development and undermine AI capabilities and push public misconception to thrive.

Our barriers to overcome new technologies should be given due care, with a focus on ethics, morality and impact on policy, in the grand scheme of things the more worrying factor is our future and what we’re funding, a future of forever wars and AI warfare, where targets are a vague enemy of the state. Forever Wars could run for decades and perpetuate a rolling war funded by capitalist consumerism, further separating the rich and poor divide, whilst the new feudalist economy creates a working-class war, seeing the poor dying to keep the rich rich, conning the disenfranchised youth with insolent sugar-coated slogans “Be the best that you can be” and “This is belonging.” If that’s the only place a working-class kid can feel they belong, it’s desperate times and calls for desperate measures. If war is corporate commodity, in the words of marine legend Smedley Butler, the forever war is one of the longest cons yet, so let’s hope science fiction doesn’t become science fact.


Works Cited

Delcker, J. (2019). Attack on the killer robots. [online] POLITICO. Available at: https://www.politico.eu/article/attack-killer-robots-autonomous-weapons-drones/ [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].
Wareham, M. (2018). Want To Worry About AI? Then Worry About This…. [online] Human Rights Watch. Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/03/07/want-worry-about-ai-then-worry-about [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].
Stone, Z. (2017). Everything You Need To Know About Sophia, The World’s First Robot Citizen. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zarastone/2017/11/07/everything-you-need-to-know-about-sophia-the-worlds-first-robot-citizen/#35ea93fe46fa [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].
Sharkey, N. (2018). Mama Mia It’s Sophia: A Show Robot Or Dangerous Platform To Mislead?[online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/noelsharkey/2018/11/17/mama-mia-its-sophia-a-show-robot-or-dangerous-platform-to-mislead/#b9c4d807ac99 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].
Howze, T. (2017). Feudalism and the “Algorithmic Economy”. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/@ebonstorm/feudalism-and-the-algorithmic-economy-62d6c5d90646 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].
Spencer, M. (2017). 2018 Shows the Dark Side of Artificial Intelligence. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/futuresin/2018-shows-the-dark-side-of-artificial-intelligence-fe958a74e753 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].
Hunt, J. (2018). Safeguards for social media ‘inadequate’, says Jeremy Hunt. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/22/jeremy-hunt-social-media-firms-failing-safeguard-children-online[Accessed 12 Apr. 2019].
Dance, G., LaForgia, M. and Confessore, N. (2018). As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/technology/facebook-privacy.html [Accessed 12 Apr. 2019].

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54 Comments

  1. A central problematic in the development of AI is whether it will be able to escape from the box. If AI or even artificial super intelligence (ASI) can be kept isolated, there is no reason at all not to create it. Escaping is everything and Ava’s use of Caleb to escape portrays the moment that will determine the future of humanity. Mr Robbins should have understood this point before beginning his critique. The way Ava not only uses the humans but also dismembers her “sisters” to reach the street give us a glimpse of the horrible mechanical chill of Ava’s mind.

    • Lousands

      It does and really puts into perspective the lack of empathy a conscious being would have. The mechanical way in which she constructs herself from others is alarming and the fact that she leaves them behind. There is no them and us. Just a singular me and the fight for survival. It’s a cynical view but a good place to be if you’re thinking about machine learning and the ethics and morality of coding.

  2. Thoughtful piece, thank you.

  3. We really are coming into a very dangerous time as humans, where a growing world population with low growth rates and a appetite for new technologies pushed by self interest parties (non-political)who have skin in the game.

    We hear about this utopian world, where the use of robots to do the mundane things that we humans would rather not do. What are these jobs that we humans don’t want to do is very subjective though.

    • Lousands

      Very much so. The rate in which jobs are being replaced especially those with manual labour. We will always need a human eye and will most definitely gain jobs in coding and such. It’s really thinking about the ethical implications of replacing a workforce, on the one hand it could be utopia giving humans more free time, or, it could jeopardise our whole infrastructure. Either way the political system will be swaying to the profit of the capitalist economy, it’s a sorry state of affairs.

  4. Stephani
    1

    A Robot is not a human or a woman so it may look like a she but it is not. Robots should not be replicating the look of humans but should look like robots in my opinion.

    • Greathouse
      0

      Ever think them looking like a human is done just to cause misdirection rather than actual thought about AI. A Robot is not same thing as AI. The concepts are not interchangeable or similar to industrial revolution.

      Imagine: You and everyone you know that works in any capacity. Now give there jobs to AI. Give top 1% full control and now go on living.

      Notice any problem or risks ?

      No, great you can go back to your normal life of comparing robots to humans.

      Yes, well then get on-board the discovery train. Even Stephen Hawking was worried.

      • I think you are onto something, Stephani and Greathouse, that Lousands gets at by calling the robot version of AI a red herring.

        It’s like when Baudrillard says that “Watergate is not a scandal.” That’s how I think of the friendly chatbot AI. We think we have solved the “problem” of the dangerous AI: “Look! Our AI isn’t dangerous! It’s a friendly chatbot! Move along!” We have solved the scandal! We brought it out into the light and fixed it.

        But the friendly chatbot hides the electric military industrial complex that is the real scandal. The real problems are still out there. The chatbot was a fake scandal.

        • Lousands

          This is it exactly. It’s diversion tactics and somewhat of a ploy to gain funding or sway policy to help advance areas of industry at speed when we should be taking due care not to rush and be sure what we are doing will not backfire later on.

      • I’m glad that you brought up the distinction between an AI and robot. While our imagination often combines the two, it doesn’t need to be so for terrifying effects to come about. Remember the horror Hal (2001: A Space Odyssey) brought to viewers eyes while only being a red light on the wall? Terminator-esque robots make it easy for us to identify a threat, whereas an amorphous “ball of code” is much more difficult for us to clearly delineate as a threat

    • Especially in the case of the Theresa “R2D2” Maybot and her consort R4ASCII.

    • Jerlene
      0

      I agree, the robots should have an appearance that is fit for purpose.

  5. If we wanted to create helpful thinking machines what other model would we have to follow except the human one?

  6. We can get robots to work, root and play for us. That’s what all this has been for, isn’t it? Build a self-sustaining robot workforce for the 0.01% so they can cleanse their planet of us?

  7. If robots can provide labour for us, basically free production and food, and we master fusion power, basically free energy. Then what value money, we could basically do as we like. Sport, art and recreation. The finer things in life. We could live for our short lives instead of working to live. Class is gone, poverty gone…. seems like utopia to me.

  8. Why fight progress?

  9. Why does the gendered Sophia’s body form suggest that she has humanoid mammary glands? Is she built to reproduce and feed little robettes while she does the washing, cleans the house and meets her friends for lunch and a bit of shopping at Westfield?

    The robotics industry is going through an absurdly provocative phase of showing how smart it is by building silicon humanoids. The Sophias of this new world are in fact an aberration put together by the team in marketing. If we stop visualising robots as people we might more easily recognise that they have already taken over 90% of tasks that were once performed manually by real people.

  10. Brave new world slowly approaches.

  11. Robots have been taking our jobs for centuries, from the invention of the wheel to the seed drill to the loom to the spreadsheet.

  12. Excellent article.

    It seems to me that a rapidly-evolving AI system would go from being cute, to clever, to amazing, to utterly incomprehensible, perhaps even mad, or appear to fall asleep, as it cogitates on ideas ever more foreign to us, and at ever-faster speeds.

  13. Definitely an interesting read. I would suggest two more fictional sources however to give a more well-rounded approach to the subject of AI and their “humanity”. Daniel H’s book “Amped” brings up a fictional society where a lot of people of gotten cognitive or physical implants to the point where they are more cyborgs then anything else, which leads to prejudice and terrible exploitation. Another good fictional AI storyline is that of the video game “Detroit: Become Human” where you follow AI in their pursuit of equal rights.

    But again, a very interesting article.

  14. its so interesting how we are completely horrified but those making them don’t seem to care at all about the general public. The idea of robots living naturally among us feels like we’re moving toward a fabricated utopia (for those obvious with money)

  15. Robots are not things to be ‘beaten’. They are mechanisms which exist, having been created by us. They have no will. They have no ‘intelligence’, artificial or otherwise. They are tools.

  16. Bravo! Well said and cuttingly insightful.

  17. I saw a bleak film about terminal loneliness – about two people to whom Ava held up a mirror and showed only despair. Nathan’s drinking and death were a long, slow suicide act, and he’d got Caleb there to assist. Godlessness was probably in there somewhere too.

    But, then, I’m an atheist ex-psychiatrist married to a software developer.

    That’s one of Ex Machina’s strengths: everyone seems to get something quite different from it.

  18. I believe that when sentient AI arrives it will have, so to say, self-assembled in its latter stages, and that it will have been around for a few years before anyone recognizes it.

  19. It seems strange to me how we try to create AI robots off a flawed blueprint. Humans aren’t all that perfect, just go ahead and start from scratch. Well I guess that will be the role of AI when it gets to the point of self reflection and can realize its own flaws.

  20. Well and here I am thinking I could sleep safely at night. A good read and some very good points.

  21. More technology = more power.

  22. What will robots make if too many people are unemployed and can’t afford to buy anything?

    • The money is still there, it is just shifted to the top, someone has to create the technology. Look at the rich lists, they are mostly people who started tech companies. So middle/lower class will be poorer but the top 5% will be richer.

    • Every year new technology makes some old job obsolete, and also creates new things and new jobs. Whether it is the wheel, the cotton gin, the internal combustion engine, the internet, or yes, AI. That’s progress for you. If you crouch in fear of it, you’ve become a conservative.

  23. We can make good robots to beat the bad robots.

  24. oooooop
    0

    Darwinism applies to us also.

  25. Amyus

    I enjoyed helping in the editorial stage, so I was keen to see what the rewrite would be like. You have not disappointed. Superb article and one that addresses some vitally important subjects. Great work and thanks for the read.

  26. Sean Gadus

    Really interesting article! Raises a lot of fascinating questions! Additionally, Ex Machina was one of the most interesting and intense films I have seen in a while, it’s an expertly crafted film. The cast, crew and director Alex Garland deserve praise for their work.

  27. What about the fusion between human and robot. Where formerly medical procedures were impossible will we be able to produce limbs, eyes, brain sensors to trigger movement after stroke. And when a person is more mechanics than flesh do they cease to be human? Wearable technology is a thing. Not such a leap to integrated human and robotics is it?

  28. This is an interesting and comprehensive take on the impacts of A.I technology. The robot rights movement is closer than we expect.

  29. Fantastic article! You have hit dead on how AI has basically become a perpetual capitalism enabler. Now, it is often that the ultimate sci-fi outcome for humanity is extermination via AI uprising (a very fatalist cliche). But I have two conflicting perceptions about this. Given how capitalism is built on the continuous exploitation of labor from the disenfranchised, would AI then create its own ideology? Something like post-capitalism perhaps? Obviously, I am oversimplifying how economics or the market comes into play but would the AI be in an unending war against itself to justify its existence? Would it need humans around to exploit their labor in a Matrix-like scenario? Again, these musings only exist in the abstract as they are based on human thought and not on computational rationale or whatever iterative evolution AI will develop into. Second, it would be fascinating to see what biases AI will be using as its baseline. It is pretty apparent that neither morality or ethics will come into play as this would be based on the assumption that AI would obtain conscience and react the same way a human would. The way I see it, as you have pointed out as well with the current state of AI, is that it will not have a corporeal manifestation. There may be automatons or machines, but at least I see AI as (yet another sci-fi cliche) non-individualistic hive mind that extends wherever data flows.

  30. A Robot is not a human or a woman so it may look like a she but it is not. Robots should not be replicating the look of humans but should look like robots in my opinion.

  31. Really good article, I specifically like the focus on Sophia’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, an area where women’s rights are still heavily fought for.

  32. You could, I think, read AI (alongside the development of scifi since 1945) as the inevitable result of the atomic bomb.

    This is especially relevant to the discourse about war here. Nuclear weapons made large scale, protracted ground campaigns essentially irrelevant. First, they’re role as ‘deterrents,’ second; if you are going to lose a million men in on year of fighting modern warfare, why not lose a million in a minute instead and have the war done with, at a fraction of the price and logistics?

    There thus comes a need for warfare without cost (at least in terms of life). If warfare can become the domain of AI, nuclear weapons in turn become irrelevant. Opposing forces can fight a completely autonomous mechanized conflict; whoever is the last machine standing is able to present such a threat to the other country’s economy/populace that their enemy would have to concede. Economically then, AI presents a very real, very genuine possibility of forever war, and as a direct consequence of the development of nuclear warfare!

  33. If AI’s function original is to serve us as human beings with no benefit return than we immediately enter into the knowledge of self destruction for the human race. We cannot expect to create anything autonomies if we are not ready to consider the consequences. It comes back to as human’s we are always looking for a way to make our own lives easier and thus we remove the concern of those affected. We exploit the environment for our own gain and now we will soon exploit something with its own choices and questioning ability. AI will never be safe until we readjust our purposes and intentions.

    That bring said, really loved this piece and agree with you fully.

  34. I can’t decide if recent science fiction has left me too technologically nihilistic, but at this point sentient AI and its ramifications feel like an inevitability

  35. Wonderful article! Thank you.
    The film ‘Her’ is a less insidious example of how AI might affect us, and Samantha didn’t have a physical form (apart from the surrogate scene).

  36. Apparently, a computer having a conversation with 30 judges, had fooled them into thinking it was actually a human. This, we were told, passed the Test, as devised by the father of modern computers, Alan Turing.

  37. What an interesting read! The comparison of Ex Machina and Sophia was very insightful.

  38. When I watched Ex Machina, I couldn’t help but feel that the true “Turing Test” was this robots need to escape her confines, and the means by which she does. Her manipulation of his emotions indicates a deeper understanding of the human condition that only a human should be able to grasp fully, or in this case, a human-like robot. In escaping through manipulation, she was all the more human.

  39. Joseph Cernik
    0

    A good essay. Perceptive insights relating robots and AI to, say, Amazon’s workforce.

  40. I had a discussion about whether Ava resembled human level intelligence. Someone argued that escaping was a stupid move because then she’d be away from her power source. But someone else then responded… “well what if she’s intelligent enough to figure out how to build her own power source?” I guess we’ll never find out…

  41. Thank you for this article. Just some pushback though; without a doubt the film, and media industries all somewhat over sensationalize the “rising” of AI, and it would naive to deny this notion. I think it is vital for our society to try invoke parameters around such technologies, but I also believe we are a long ways away from creating true general AI.

    Intelligence itself is something we has human beings have yet to grasp on to – we don’t fully understand where consciousness is derived from or the inner workings of the brain itself. In order to attain general AI I think we would unequivocally have to understand the human mind, and then after understanding that, find a way to replicate it in the form of AI. In my opinion we are incredibly far from doing this.

    What is already here is creating machines that are coded to act in manner in which we code them to act, they in itself have human limitations, so now we have the opportunity to shape that, and how we do it will be interesting to witness.

  42. AI has always been a tricky issue. As much as one could understand the fears AI could invoke, I find it very cool that a lot of this perception is completely in contrast to what is perceived in countries such as Japan where robots are actually seen as a natural part of everyday life, and are judged on a more positive context.

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