Just what I wanted to hear after finishing up a reading binge of Philip K. Dick’s short stories.
via CNet (Please follow the link to read the entire article.):
What have you done for society lately, huh? Nothing. It’s not your fault. You’re just past it. You should accept it. You just sit on the sofa all day, eating Kettles New York Cheddar chips and watching “Frasier” reruns.
-You’re strangling me.
-It’s for your own good. Well, for the good of us all, really.
And so might end a beautiful human life, one that promised so much and, as so many lives do, delivered slightly less.
Such is a scenario recently posited by Nell Watson at a conference in Malmo, Sweden. Watson is an engineer, a futurist, CEO of body-scanning company Poikos and clearly someone who worries whether engineering will always make life better.
As Wired UK reports, one of her worries is that robots might swiftly become very intelligent, but their values might be entirely skewed or even nonexistent.
I have no evidence that she reached this conclusion after lengthy visits to both Google and Facebook.
However, at the Malmo conference, she did say this: “The most important work of our lifetime is to ensure that machines are capable of understanding human value. It is those values that will ensure machines don’t end up killing us out of kindness.”
But can engineers create software with built-in value systems? Even if a system existed, robots could be so intelligent that they’d learn how to override it. They’d find their own, entirely rational reasons for doing so.
It may well be that, as many experts predict, robots will be our lovers by 2025. But, like all lovers, can they be trusted? Or might they look you in the face with a robotic smile and smite you from existence, blowing a kiss of farewell as they do?
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