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Artificial Intelligence, Morality and ... the End of the Human Race?

Alice          2 July 2015 01:56 AM

With today's developments in research and technology, it seems only a question of time (and probably not a very long time), when artificial intelligence will surpass the human one. Without getting into a deep debate of what it means to have a robot that is equally or more intelligent than a human, let us assume that the robot can do every task a human can do, and much more. I see 3 possibilities of how to handle this:

1. A legislation that will ensure that robots have a subservient status to humans - maybe enforced by hardware that must be installed in every robot, such as, for example Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. In this situation we have a more intelligent race artificially kept in a subservient status to the less intelligent race, which does not seem a very moral solution.

2. Give equal rights to robots and humans. Since it seems likely that the robots' intelligence (and their numbers!) will grow fast from generation to generation, unlike the humans' ones, this almost surely means the end of the human race as we know it. We basically give robots the power to do as they see fit with humans.

3. Stop all research that can lead to an Artificial Intelligence breakthrough - needless to say, this seems to be a bad decision.

Keep in mind that each country makes a decision for itself, so, for example, while Western countries may choose to go with (1) or (3), other countries (say China) may make their own decisions, and end up with more powerful robots. This makes the issue even more complicated.

I can see a possibility of a fourth option that may help solve this: namely research in genetic engineering, maybe combined with research in artificial intelligence, that will either increase the intelligence of humans, or create some sort of hybrids between humans and robots. But it's not clear if this is feasible, or how this would work, when we have (semi)-humans with vastly different abilities and intelligence levels. This also probably means the end of the human race as we know it.

On the other hand, maybe robots are just the natural next step in evolution and we shouldn't worry so much about the future of the human race.

What do you think?

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FrameBenignly 17 July 2015 10:48 PM

If there is a slow takeoff, meaning AI intelligence increases at a slower pace than governments can legislate it, this might become a matter of public debate. However, if computing power is still doubling every 30 months when AI reaches general intelligence, this seems like a lower bound for intelligence increases. The upper bound is unknown. The entire planet could change in a matter of minutes. Under these faster singularity takeoff scenarios, the future of the planet will be decided by the first company to make the breakthrough, not by a government. Nick Bostrom's book has a long, multi-chapter discussion of how to optimize the AI's utility function for the takeoff. The solution is not simple which is why there are entire organizations trying to solve the problem.


Alice 18 July 2015 04:22 AM

It seems ironic that many companies and scientists funded by government or industry are working hard, some dedicating their whole careers to what seems will likely lead to the end of the human race, and no one seems too concerned about it. Of course if this happens slowly enough, there is a chance we'll be able to stop and think at some point. But there is a real chance that this will snowball fast. This is crazy.


ChristianKl 2 July 2015 07:16 AM

There plenty written on how to think about AGI at LW and in books such as Bostrom's Superintelligence. Suggestions (1) and (2) both go completely besides the point of what strong AI is about.


Scotty 26 July 2015 03:03 PM

I think Robots should be limited to business and industrial usages.

I know people may not agree with this statement. But I think they should not be allowed for people to use their homes. We don't need personal robots. We need more ways to communicate socially than isolating ourselves as these new gadgets are doing.

I am also the use of drones, except for military usages.

I am against my privacy and potentially of my privacy being invades. I for one do not want to give up my privacy and freedom for security. My personal freedom is more important than security. If laws were enforced that are already on the books, we would have no security problems.

The liberals of our times want to play on our fears, and they are the ones that want to invade our privacy.

This country has become like the WILD, WILD WEST again, because we allow the love and lust of money to rule us. I know it takes money to live. But taking from one and keeping it for yourself or taking from one to give to another is also making it a WILD, WILD WEST.

But why not allow people to promote some good ideas of the WILD, WILD WEST, such as letting the Bible be taught in Schools. They already had a Constitution and the teachers knew what it said and a the Liberal arts colleges also knew such as Harvard and Yale were started as Bible colleges.

Why not allow disciplining of children according to way that the Bible says to do it. Doing it with a rod of correction. Teach our children respect for the law

If the crooks and lawbreakers are caught and found guilty by a jury trial. Allow the punishment of the criminal to be carried out quickly.

Also bring back the stocks and bonds and allow people to punish people for certain crimes and that by public humiliation they would cease from there criminal behavior.

This would be a way to improve our security.

Secure the borders of our country. Welcome people who want to come to America legally and want to learn our language and obey all our laws.

Those that here illegally deport, even if it means breaking up families. They should not be treated better than an American citizen who is a prisoner and does not enjoy their families. All criminals should be treated alike when it comes to considering families.