The creation of a sentient being, biological like Frankenstein or electronic-positronic like Nestor the NS-5 robot from the novel “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov was and it is a fascinating subject.
The above examples are fictions, created by the imagination of some very talented writers.
Today, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a reality, not in a 100% sentient sense but is getting there. There is serious research done by the major IT companies, some governments and some military research institutes.
From a technology point of view, the AI devices (stationary or mobile) will be a blessing, all these inventions like smart cars, smart appliances, smart buildings and smart cities will be exponentially upgraded to super-smart/semi-sentient devices which theoretically will make our life better, safer, longer.
It is easy to imagine, in not so distant future, being permanently connected to the AI hub of your household and everything you need being delivered the way you want and like and at the moment you want because the AI robot will learn your needs and habits and seamlessly adapt to fulfill those needs. It is also easy to imagine, those AI units manufacturing everything for us and manufacturing other AI units sooner than later.
With the last sentence I just opened the Pandora box of AI challenge because the inevitable question will come into one’s mind: What is going to happened when the AI units will become more intelligent than us and, more, what is going to happen when the AI units will become fully sentient robots?
Well, in the SCI-FI literature and movies, we have the three laws of robotics created by Isaac Asimov which are:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
The problem with these “beautiful” and fail-safe for humanity laws is that they are not real and we do not have the technology/mechanism to implement them. There are many Doomsday scenarios regarding the future wars between us and the machines and in almost all these scenarios we lose. The reality is that there is an unseen/unadvertised race to create the pre-sentient AI and I am afraid that the fail-safe mechanism is neglected. Today, there are several prominent scientists trying to rise the alarm, including Stephen Hawkins and I am not sure that the hidden powers behind the AI race are willing to listen.
Now, let us assume that the AI sentient machines will not kill us, will help us and will be our friends and servants forever. This scenario is actually much scarier than the first one because it will gradually drive us towards a rapid involution of humanity. Just think that we will not need to work, drive, create, yes create, because the super-intelligent AI machines will do all of the above for us.
What will be left for the mankind? Watch TV, eat, drink (all these free!), have sex, procreate and start the idiocracy process. Our lifespan is getting longer, the planet will have more and more old people, but will be healthier old people and capable of work in a huge variety of domains. If the AI robots will replace the human workforce, not only the old people will not have a job, but the majority of the population will be in the same situation.
I believe that the process of protecting the mankind intelligence, creativity and imagination should start now. No, I do not have the answer how to proceed with this enormous task, but I know that right now, there are enough smart and talented people able to find a solution.
I hope that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will have an active life, using their brains at full capacity, creating and inventing things, writing novels and poems, travel to other worlds and galaxies and not becoming some vegetables with a pea size brain and huge sex drive.