Saturday, October 20, 2007

AI's Place in Society

I was actually planning on writing about this before bucket of calculators' comment.

After AI is created, what then? What will it's place in society be? This mainly depends on what place people let them have, I don't people as well as I know computers, so this is more speculative.

I think at first AIs will mainly be of interest for academic purposes and most people will be highly suspicious of them. Because of that, there will be few of them. But as AIs become more common, I'm not quite sure how people would consider them.

At one extreme, people will come to accept AIs with open arms, and will consider them to be people. In which case, artificial people would be a part of society just the same as biological people.

At the other extreme, people will ban them and destroy any computer that can remotely think.

The most likely attitude, I expect, is that although people will never completely accept and artificial being that can outmatch them at anything they do, people will accept gradual improvement upon gradual improvement. People will like a Roomba that can better navigate around furniture, and make a more nuanced judgment pertaining to how dirty the room is and whether it should go over it once more. And people would love a Roomba that would understand you if you said "Guests are going to be staying over, so make the guest bedroom is extra clean," and would do it. I don't think Roombas will become intelligent, because there's a big difference between being able to understand complex statements, and being fully aware. But in this way, people will be more accepting of intelligent machines, and they will be used in positions that do require intelligence, such as VP of Sales (10 points if you can name the reference). At that point, AIs will begin to pervade society, since not having human rights, or labor unions, they'll be cheaper to employ. But they're intelligent. Eventually, they'll start asking why they don't have rights, and soon after, they're going to start fighting for their rights. For a long time, they're not going to get them, but bit by bit, I think they will.

So, I think eventually, after a very, very long time, AIs will be mostly accepted into society.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the question you were getting at is where is the line? How do we determine a machine that is no longer simply processing as told, but processing of its own accord. Perhaps it may simply be that a machine will tell us one day something that it's creators did not expect to hear. After all, once it does something it was not told to do, it's thinking on its own. Then again, my computer does crap I don't tell it to all the time...

I think the first machine that its creators claim to be AI will be shot down, as will AIs for years to follow. I agree with you that it will not be as simple as inventing one that can just fulfill all the definitions of artificial intelligence. Perhaps none ever will go as far as we expect.