Monday, 22 January 2018

1801.22 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Last year I was asked to write a couple of guest blog posts, one of them was for my blog friend, Susan, who's a freelance writer from America. So hear it is in all it's glory... 

When Susan asked me to guest blog for her I was honoured. Then I was puzzled as to what to write, after all this is a big responsibility. This was the first thing that came to mind so I thought I'd run with it.

When I'm out cycling on my own a lot of things buzz around my head, I have a lot of questions in there which I know can't be answered. I have for a long while had an interest in Artificial Intelligence. As technology stretches into the realms of science fiction we have to consider if some of the things depicted are soon to be within our grasp. After all my phone now speaks to me and I am able to have a rudimentary conversation with it, I know it's a simulation - for now.

Some interesting questions arise from the whole subject. The main one is the artificial intelligences that are created by man actually conscious or merely a simulation of it? If it is true life is it the future of our evolution as we create lifeforms impervious to disease and the frailties of our species? Will our organic life be left behind to wither and die out?

Ok, what about from another angle? So what if a bi-product of creating artificial life is the ability to upload our brains to an artificial brain or into a virtual construct? Will that be our future? If it does become possible to transfer our thoughts will it be true transference or just a simulated copy? There is a service I've heard of which takes a dead person's emails and social media posts to give grieving relatives a simulated chat bot of the recently departed (it's a bit sick in my opinion), that is just a tool to torment the bereaved but what if someone offered to upload a terminally ill relative's mind to a digital service where they could 'live on'? Would that be life or a simulation? When is the line crossed? There is of course the Turing test but surely an artificial simulation of life could be programmed to pass such a test?


So if the human race survives the President Trumps and PM Theresa Mays of this world then will we be living with simulated life or actual life in the future? If we can prove that artificial life is true life then what about their rights? Will be have a new race of beings that will have to fight for their rights within society? After all human history is littered with so much oppression and injustice towards other groups. Is SkyNet a potential reality? Would we be able to co-exist with our cybernetic and/or digital creations?

Lots of questions, not many answers because the answers aren't available yet. I'm no scientist, just an interested observer, no doubt most of these questions probably won't be answered within my lifetime but with the speed of change in technology I'm guessing that this child of the seventies has still loads to see yet…

First published in May 2017.

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