AI or Not AI, That is the Question

Elon Musk (electric cars, off grid homes, cheap solar roofing tiles) is having a bit of  a debate with Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook).  Oh, it’s just a twitter spat, hardly Lincoln-Douglas, but it’s a fascinating topic.

A.I.  Musk thinks it’s a great danger, that once A.I. really  takes off, it’s the end of the human race as we know it.  Zuckerberg thinks ‘Nah, man, A.I. is cool.

My opinions of the two men is one thing.  The actual debate is another.  I think Elon Musk is a visionary, a genius with a conscience, and someone with tremendous potential to remake the world for the better.  I think Zuckerberg’s a programming whiz, undoubtedly  a smart guy, but kind of a shallow person.
As a sci-fi fan, I want to side with Zuckerberg.  A.I. is  cool.  It could  be an amazing thing for the whole human race.  Solve all our  problems.
On the other hand, what if Musk is right? As much as I sometimes resent my fellow humans, and bemoan how we are destroying the planet, I do not want to see our species come to an end.
There was a species on Star Trek, Deep Space Nine I think it was, where the one warrior race totally worshiped and worked for a different race, who only showed up occasionally to give them their supply of ‘white,’ a drug they were clearly addicted to.   That’s how I sort of see A.I.  Even if they are superior to us in every way, they will be subservient if that’s the way we program them.

Or so I’d like  to think.

If we make them as androids (and we probably will – we try to anthropomorphize everything) they will  not only be smarter than us, but also stronger, faster, more agile and more heavily  armored.  So, one solution might be to make them not androids.  A.I. could be in a box on a table.  They could probably still find a way to take over the world, but the massacre of individual humans would be much  more difficult.



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