It’s not a new scenario; it’s been playing out in one form or other for almost a century. What’d happen if our machines develop consciousness and become smarter than us?? Matrix??!! Well, it appears the question’s moved from the realm of speculation and “science fiction” to be answered sooner, rather than later. We know that, behind the scenes, computer geeks were working feverishly on their coding – and whatever – for machines to move from simply following built-in algorithms to coming up with original thoughts, and even FEELINGS. No need to think of Ex Machina; just think of you asking Alexa to do all those chores on your computer!!
The research in this area was summed up in the expression “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) – which in itself was quite loaded. We were being told that it was “artificial” – that is, not “natural” – intelligence!! Till now, we took it for granted that only living beings could have any form of “intelligence” – that is, to think about the world and come up with answers. The key word being “THINK”!! Programming a machine to perform repeatable tasks wasn’t much different from a finely made watch that could tell the time!!
Well, reputable scientists are now assuring us that some of the AI creations could actually THINK – that is, they’re conscious!! And they’re coming up with original thoughts that aren’t predicted by their algorithms!! The question arises, then, as to what will they be thinking about?? The worry from one quarter is whether we are facing a Doomsday scenario wherein these AI machines could start thinking about destroying mankind!! Since they’re plugged into all sorts of applications that could commandeer the resources to execute (forgive the pun!) their plan!
Back in the last century, the Sci-Fi writer Asimov had predicted that scenario, and had invented the “Three laws of robotics”: ‘A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.” Problem is: we’re long past the point where those laws shoulda been programmed into every AI programme!!
What brought matters to a head is the amazing performances of the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) programmes used by some of the ‘big boys’ in the computer industry. Like Microsoft’s Chat GPT. It’s already given fits to the entire pedagogy industry!! There are a whole host of services that would likely be made obsolete by AI right now!!
So, some of the big names, like Gates and Musk, are asking for a pause. Is it too late??
…from geriatric threats??
Your Eyewitness just saw a Police Wanted Bulletin issued for the old fella – while leaning on his walker – who called on the Army and Police to “stand with Afro-Guyanese in resisting mainly Indo-Guyanese supporting the PPP/C.” And why would they do that? Well, they’re “kith and kin”!! Now, while the threat might sound treasonous, one has to consider the likelihood of the threat being carried out!! No need to bring out any artillery if a gnat’s threatening Armageddon. And those jokers speaking in echo chambers to other geriatrics are nothing but gnats!! In all the meetings they’ve held, have they EVER revealed – by simply turning the camera – their audience??
In one “conference” abroad, one geriatric “rabble-rouser” even had to be titivating with the camera!! At the most, the Police ought to be giving a warning to the old man. All he’s doing is trying to get some relevance in his fading years – if he’s arrested and can claim he’s a martyr!!
The bankruptcy of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), with assets of US$200 billion, is still roiling the integrated global financial system. But spare a thought for one depositor with US$13 billion – when the Feds only insure up to US$250,000!!