The world is all agog over the claims and counterclaims about whether machines have now become sentient. Surely, you haven’t been able to avoid articles and arguments of the Artificial Intelligence “bot” (no more “robot!) called ChatGPT? This question, of course, has been around in the science fiction world for decades. Of recent, movies have offered graphic presentations of what’s gonna happen when they actually do. They go back at least to the 1930s, but, in the present, think “The Terminator” and “The Matrix” franchises!! The first thing they’ll do – we’re assured – will be to take over the world and rule us under their jackboots!!
And why not? No matter how you slice it or dice it, if the bots are being programmed like the neural networks of us humans, isn’t that what we’d do if we had the wherewithal to do so?? Think Genghis Khan, thru Stalin and Hitler!! The wherewithal would come from their superior ability “to go where no man has gone before” in the thinking department!! And this isn’t just about beating us at chess, which was accomplished decades ago, but to “think” outside the box – the “box” of our brains!!
The machines are taught by an AI algorithm known as a “large language model”, or LLM. This uses “deep learning” and large data sets like millions of books and the entire Wikipedia to digest and generate new content. Recently, one researcher at Microsoft published a paper describing his experiment that demonstrated machine sentience. But that’s been trenchantly challenged. There are doubts that the bots can actually go beyond the algorithms and come up with something entirely new!! But the Turing test for sentience seems to become obsolete: these bots can convince a human interlocutor that they’re sentient hands down!!
Anyhow, to save us from sentient machines, the sci writer Isaac Asimov, in the 1950s, devised his three laws of robotics: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; they must obey orders given them by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. And must protect their own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
But what’s gonna ensure the improvement of AI is that it will be driven by that concept that’s at the center of all present human activity – profits!! One analyst from Goldman Sachs recently justified massive spending in this field: “Over the next 10 years, AI could increase productivity by 1.5% per year. And that could increase S&P500 profits by 30% or more over the next decade.”
Yep…money will even make the new AI world go round!!
…of political usurpation
In the evolution of political participation in the West, there’s been a certain pattern. First, the nobles flexed their muscles against the King; then the emerging bourgeoisie against the nobles; and finally, the plebes or commoners did their thing against the bourgeoisie. There was a two-pronged attack in Guyana, with workers first rising up for better conditions through riots and then Trade Unions.
Then the Trade Unions begat Political Parties, which duked it out to control the Government and political power. There was now a demarcation between their fields of activity: political parties vied for political power, and Trade Unions agitated against employers for better working conditions and wages. In the present neo-liberal dispensation, labour’s been the one bearing the pressure for profits. So, you’d think the unions would be taking on employers something fierce, no?? Not in Guyana!! The TUC – aligned with the PNC – announced a 15-point plan of activities – 10 of which are political!!
Going political to undermine the PNC Opposition Leader, eh??
…of Judicial intimidation??
All the AG remarked was that a magistrate didn’t follow the most basic rule of the judicial decision-making process: to follow the reasoning of previous Courts on similar fact-pattern. It’s called stare decisis.