Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence: Boundless Prometheus

These are some mostly off-the-wall ideas occasioned by Kevin Drum’s article in Mother Jones last October, here. He has a more recent post on this topic here.

— Technology arises out of spiritual failure –our failure to concentrate– and must grow more complicated as our distractedness increases. (It also increases our distractedness.)

— “To be dominated by artificial intelligence is the same as to be dominated by thoughts of the future.” (Artificial intelligence is an embodied incapacity to live without forethought. Prometheus not only unbound, but boundless.)

Question. If “being in the moment” is in some sense the spiritual goal (or anyway, a desirable state) which is a greater impediment to its attainment: dissipation or technology?

True or false: “If we were all good Christians and Muslims and Buddhists there would be a steady decline in the use of technology.” (If we were all good scientists…?) (If we were all bad Muslims and Buddhists and Christians?)

Robots are the Ideal It’s said that we can’t arrest technology’s advance because we’re “all human” (we can’t help wanting the convenience and advantage technology provides so we couldn’t go backward in that respect if we tried). But perhaps it’s actually because we’re all, in our essence, robots that we’re really so drawn to technology? That robots are for us, not a necessity, but an ideal?

(To say it otherwise, human beings are the first robots, the first artificial intelligences, and are now in the process, as it were, of spinning these attributes off.)

The arts. Even if a computer could create Sly Stone (or his music) would it ever have an incentive to do so? One can certainly imagine a computer having both the capacity and incentive to create a Jar-Jar Binks. But (as it seems to me) there is no demand for Sly Stone until he has happened — one wouldn’t know to make him.

(This is to say: maybe artificial technology will have the same constraints as commercial radio, being without the incentive to create anything very lasting or unique. Supposing it could make a Sly Stone, would it have the incentive to make his music widely available?)

–Although I suppose artists to be as replaceable as anyone else by A.I., if not more so, I wonder if there would be a shift noticeable between pre-and post AI music that might be found, in the long run, to be undesirable; and that this too could extend toward other occupations.

Artificial intelligence, artificial knowledge? In reflecting on the possibility of a computer which is, from our point of view, all intelligent, all knowledgeable, it might be constructive to reconsider the limits of knowledge and intelligence. What do these do and not do for existence? Perhaps in some sense humanity’s lack of intelligence that is responsible for its evolutionary success? Perhaps un-intelligence makes existence seem worthwhile?

–How will A.I control human understanding of human history? Will the story of human history become — how it came to develop A.I?

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