I know, I know, it’s the last thing you’d ever expect here…
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In recent months, Artificial Intelligence (or “AI”) has become the subject of increasing discussion.
Not merely in the sense of predicting what our lifestyles will be like and how we’ll all be served in a veritable Utopia of Satisfaction, but also with a more cautionary note included.
Some people are actually beginning to worry about “the machines taking over”.
The prospect, it seems, is no longer viewed as the output of a deranged or paranoid mind. There are those, including some very deep and highly-regarded intellectuals, who evidently believe with all sincerity that a “Terminator”-type scenario could yet play out at some future date.
Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates are two widely-regarded individuals who have voiced such concerns. Earnest as they are, the comparisons to characters like the brilliant professor portrayed by actor Sam Jaffee in the 1950’s Sci-Fi film classic, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” are inescapable. Only the smart guys seem to be concerned and everybody else seems willing to laugh them off as a couple of eggheads detached from reality.
I, for one, am not convinced they are detached from anything.
Our culture has a sorrowful talent for acting first and considering implications later. From what I can gather A-I is all about doing things in the opposite order. When it comes to Human Nature, that seems a recipe for a dystopian outcome that would rival the world painted in George Orwell’s “1984” or Ira Levin’s “This Perfect Day.”
At this point, all I’m saying is let’s get this into the public dialogue and start thinking about protocols. Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics may have the aerodynamics and tail fins of the 1950’s about them, but it’s as good a place as any from which to start.
The hyperlink below will take you to the article that spawned this little post in the first place:
What makes all of this especially ironic is that most of my work these days involves wearing a uniform and a badge!
When a life ends, we are all of us confronted by the enormity of the eternal.
The mysteries of the universe can be held at bay by the business of our day-to-day existence, but when the hand of the Almighty touches one of those closest to us, all our efforts to distract ourselves fall short and we are all — sooner or later — obliged to acknowledge how much of our existence remains unknown and unknowable.
For those with faith, there may be some level of comfort.
For those without faith, there is confusion, anger, resentment, fear and the sensation that modern Western culture finds most despicable: a sense of helplessness.
Sometimes, even those with faith feel these things.
Even as life begins with an experience that none of us can clearly remember, so it also ends in an experience that none can truly foresee. That is the closing of the circle.
I can claim no special insight into such things, but it occurs to me that a Death is meant to transform the survivors who must go on living. It unifies us, if only for a moment, in a sense of loss and mystery.
Perhaps that, too, is part of its purpose.
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