By Jo Nova
We’re on the cusp of the Quickening in Artificial Intelligence
Jordan Peterson wonders if we have thought through how fast things are evolving:
They’re not building autonomous cars ….they’re building fleets of mutually intercommunicating autonomous robots, and each of them will be able to teach the other, because they’re nervous system will be the same. And when there is 10 million of them, and one of them learns something, all ten million of them learns it at the same time. So they’re not going to have to be very bright before they’re very very very smart.
We’re not connected wirelessly with the same platform. But robots, they are.
Once they get a little bit smart, they’re not going to stop at being a little bit smart for very long. They’re going to be unbelievably smart, like overnight.
Armed robots are frightening, but so is an artificial “best friend”
Homo Sapiens is a gregarious species. It’s hardwired. What happens when the scams, politics or fake romances are served up by a machine with infinite patience? When the machine knows our full history, our quirks and how we score on every aspect of personality and which approach worked best with thousands of others of similar inclinations?
Maybe instead of superhuman intelligence, we should fear superhuman cuteness.
I’m imaging a world where everyone has a personal AI assistant. Perhaps you’ve had it for years; perhaps eventually people will have them from childhood. It knows all about you, and it just wants to make you happy and help you enjoy your life. It takes care of chores and schedules and keeping track of things, it orders ahead for you at restaurants, it smooths your way through traffic or airports, maybe it even communicates with other AI assistants to hook you up with suitable romantic partners. (Who knows what you like better?) Perhaps it’s on your phone, or in a wristband, talking to you via airpods or something like that.
Would people become attached? Probably. When my daughter was in elementary/middle school she was very into Neopets, a site that let you create your own synthetic online virtual pets. If you didn’t tend to them, they got sick and sad. Before that, millions of kids doted on Tamagotchis…
Unlike these elderly platforms, though, your AI Buddy would be very animated, and not just in cheesy 1990s LCD graphics or even early 2000s VGA graphics. And it would know you better than anyone else, and it would be trained via machine learning to emotionally connect with humans in general, and you in particular.
But. Underneath the cuteness there would be guardrails, and nudges, built in. Ask it sensitive questions and you’ll get carefully filtered answers with just enough of the truth to be plausible, but still misleading. Express the wrong political views and it might act sad, or disappointed. Try to attend a disapproved political event and it might cry, sulk, or even – Tamagotchi-like – “die.” Maybe it would really die, with no reset, after plaintively telling you you were killing it. Maybe eventually you wouldn’t be able to get another if that happened.
And when ChatGPT posts comments on Twitter en masse under different names, how can we tell? The uber gregarious human will unconsciously shift their thinking to match the consensus they see around them…
Who or what controls that consensus?
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April 17, 2023 at 11:15AM