If you were truly convinced that a robot has consciousness, will you accept the robot as a loving being?
We get attached to material things, so much so that we let those material things control the way we behave and think.
Think about something that you absolutely love and if gone missing or damaged by someone else you would be upset and resent the person that did it, how it would affect your day or your week.
Emotions don’t last long, “They are like spray paint on rust.” Gary Cox
To make this more interesting imagine that you couldn’t distinguish between machine and human. A real-life machine that resembles a human. A machine that can articulate and make you believe that they are an emotional being.
This topic is fascinating not because it is a science fiction staple, but because it is happening now at an accelerated rate.
Could we call people who are bionic, machines? What separates them from humans? Their minds.
So, what if we could create a mind?
Right now, artificial intelligence can teach itself. Before we used to input statistical data and we would get the output we anticipate out of the machine. Now we cannot predict what the machine’s response will be because the machine is imputing its own software.
What does this mean for humanity? Is it a step forward?
Along with artificial intelligence comes an ethical dilemma. Do machines decide what is morally right or wrong?
What is their decision based on? If not our input, then whose?
Those are scary scenarios to consider. We are all biased in nature, and if we have input this data into a system that becomes opinionated how will a machine distinguish what is morally right or wrong?
There will always be three sides to this equation, people who just don’t care and are indifferent. People who are optimistic and of course the pessimists.
What I am suggesting here is that not only should we care, but we must care and we must consider the consequences. The reason for this is because it will affect our lives. What affects us internally can either move us towards pleasure or pain.
Imagine a world where your only interaction is with a machine. Your wife or husband is made from parts, has a mind that is programmable and does whatever you tell it to.
Although that doesn’t sound like such a bad scenario, imagine further that this machine decides when you are right or wrong and punishes you for being wrong, or for being right.
Do you see where I am going with this?
What if we are wrong? What if machines could potentially destroy humanity?
What if we become dispensable just like an ant hill is to a construction of a building?
What if it is us who stand in the way of the machines?
Those scenarios are not far from reality. The fact we must consider is that the mind and consciousness are still a very murky conversation. We know little about the mind and consciousness. We have our assumptions, but no scientific proof.
We know that the mind is powerful, but can it be recreated?
Some futurists like Ray Kurzweil suggest that we are moving towards that evolutionary step.
“Our memories are stored as a sequence of patterns. Your brain’s interpretation of the image influences your experience. Identity is preserved through continuity of the patter of information that makes us.” Excerpt from How to Create a Mind.
What Ray suggests is that our minds are simple machines and that computers will inevitably be able to analyze, store, and depict information based on the vast knowledge they learn. They will be smarter because they will be able to process more than we ever can.
People such as myself have yet to be convinced. Although, there is no doubt that machines will soon be able to deceive us into believing that they are human like you and I. It is imagination that will stand at the brink of lucidity.
Marcus Aurelius reasons to “never let the future disturb you, you will meet it if you have to, with the same weapons of reasons that arm you against the present.”
I want to leave you with one last thought. Imagine this scenario; we can transfer our mind into a robot that will outlive us. Could we then live for eternity?
Thank you for reading this hypothetical, auto-suggestive post. To be continued….