[Humanist] 23.353 the invisible middle

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Oct 7 08:07:37 CEST 2009


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 353.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>                      (14)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.352 the invisible middle

  [2]   From:    amsler at cs.utexas.edu                                      (10)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.347 the invisible middle

  [3]   From:    amsler at cs.utexas.edu                                      (13)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.347 the invisible middle


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2009 11:01:54 -0400
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.352 the invisible middle
        In-Reply-To: <20091006083942.93BC63C61E at woodward.joyent.us>

>>> "Why do we persistently imagine that if human beings were to create an independent intelligence that it would result rebel against us, usually with apocalyptic results?"
>
> Hmmm, the sort of thing that makes us take a good hard look at our children perhaps?

Ha...yes, and as a parent with more than one child, I completely
appreciate this answer.  But many, many people regularly imagine
having children without imagining apocalyptic results.  They only face
apocalyptic results AFTER the fact.  So I tend to distinguish these
creation anxiety narratives from, say, the Oedipus story, in which the
parents were unique victims of fate, and stories about the Golem or
Pygmalion, in which Divine assistance (and by extension, approval) is
required for the creation of a new life.  Narratives about
technological creations are about a being we create all on our own,
sometimes in defiance of the Divine.

Jim R



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 06 Oct 2009 23:33:59 -0500
        From: amsler at cs.utexas.edu
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.347 the invisible middle
        In-Reply-To: <20091005052025.0EF8D3BE35 at woodward.joyent.us>

Quoting Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>:

> "Why do we persistently imagine that if human
> beings were to create an independent intelligence that it would  
> rebel against us, usually with apocalyptic results?"

I think we feel this way not because we feel intelligent computers  
would change who we are, but because we believe they would become who  
we are. I.e., we believe other people aren't to be trusted and hence  
the creation of an artificial 'other person' would imbue it with the  
same motives we distrust in in others and ourselves--the quest for  
power and control.



--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 06 Oct 2009 23:47:37 -0500
        From: amsler at cs.utexas.edu
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.347 the invisible middle
        In-Reply-To: <20091005052025.0EF8D3BE35 at woodward.joyent.us>

I would offer this hopeful view of the future creation of artificial  
intelligences. What we need to do is create artificial intelligences  
that embody our aspirations for the best of human qualities. That is,  
beings capable of greater generosity, greater self-less-ness, greater  
appreciation, greater empathy, indeed greater humanity than we expect  
of the average person. We have an opportunity to create intelligent  
beings who could serve as our own role models of how we would like to  
behave.

It is curious. I seem to have specified the creation of artificial  
intelligences as 'angels' to counteract the prevailing view of the  
creation of artificial intelligences as some sort of 'demons' that  
pervades much current science fiction. How would be go about creating  
an angel?





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