And then there’s Piper

Before I start I confess I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I need to talk about it. But I don’t want to talk about it because my brain hurts and my stomach turns when I hear it being discussed.

As I listened to Geoffrey Hinton, the distinguished AI pioneer, talk about the dangers of AI and about how it’s gone past the point of no return and about how even the rich and famous and powerful will have no real control over the mechanisms of power I had the same blood trembling feeling I had when I watched Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth. The film introduced some new information but, in general, Gore was not saying anything I didn’t already know. Human behaviour is not going to improve significantly and the climate is changing. It’s a freight train situation.

Same with AI. It is already everywhere. We love it. We aren’t going to stop asking Siri how old Willie Nelson is. We aren’t going to stop “researching” the Internet for answers to our everyday dilemmas. “How widespread are peanut allergies? Should we continue to ban peanut butter from school classrooms?” AI has already seeped into our brains. Another freight train.

While the big boys fight over who controls AI, AI is controlling them. Here’s where my brain starts to heat up.

And the gods forbid regulating AI. That was never going to happen. As Elon Musk says, “It’s not fun to get regulated.”

I’ve never liked science fiction. I’m always unsettled by the non fiction sub text. But here we are. Living in one of the greatest science fiction stories of all time with our very own Frankenstein.

I relate better to the Biblical metaphor. No sooner had the great designer of the universe put his final and human touches on creation and set them in the garden did Adam and Eve, in Musk-like fashion, ignore the regulations. From that moment on the creator was in constant battle with his creation. And here we are. Climate change. AI.

“Siri, what’s next?”

I have a thought that I want to share because I’m unsure how long human thoughts will be useful. I’ve been thinking about how society, at least in the west, has been in a teeth bared, fists up, muscles pumped scramble about everything—left/right, male/female, white/brown, old/young, vax/antivax, rich/poor, open carry/ban guns, red/blue, sane/insane. We really do believe that our enemy is whoever is on the other side of the forward / slash.

I heard one of the screen-writer protesters say that on her work she is now required to identify herself as Susie Smith, human. That’s when I had what is probably an extremely naïve thought. I think I’m close to being right when I say we usually rally together when there is a common enemy.

Could it be that once we all are required to put “human” behind our names that we might realize that we are in this together? That we need to stick together? All of us. Could it be that all the other divisive arguments and identifiers will pale compared to the common challenge coming from what will be outside of ourselves? Oh we will still be able to blame THEM but THEY won’t be able to control the monster of their own creation, the monster they and all of us have come to adore and rely on.

I am not being facetious and I am especially not being disrespectful to people who have very real struggles to identify themselves but there is something I like about signing off as Sylvia Olsen, human. And as I willingly identify as human I do so acknowledging and embracing both the extremely nasty and the wonderful aspects of my species.