All posts by maxclement98

Employment and living with AI

When it comes to artificial intelligence, there are many people who believe that the introduction of artificial intelligence and robots could lead to a  dystopian world similar to that portrayed in “Terminator Salvation” (p.s. Terminator Salvation is a terrible film), where robots have enslaved humanity. Whilst not entirely implausible, the threat of unemployment is a much greater moral concern  surrounding unemployment, with the World Economic Forum  suggesting that as many as 5 million jobs, from 15 developed and emerging economies could be lost by 2020 (Brinded, 2016). In fact, many people are already starting to lose their jobs to machines with self-serve checkouts being a major example of the way machines have been able to do a job, previously undertaken by human employees, but with greater efficiency and lower cost.  However, I am more focused on investigating the threat posed by human-like robots, rather than machines in general. Why? Because that’s what society imagines when you mention artificial intelligence. They imagine machines that replicate our human bodies.

terminator-0-0
source

In countries such as Japan, many more jobs are now being done by robots. In fact, there is a theme park in Nagasaki, Japan that is about open a “robot kingdom” section where over 200  robots will work as bartenders, chefs, luggage carriers and more.(Niinuma, 2016).  At the 2016 Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, many of the guests confirmed that robots are slowly becoming employed by various companies, at the expense of us humans (Japan Today, 2016). The idea of robots or sentient beings in relation to the workforce, leads to a greater moral question: Could humans and robots co-exist peacefully?

In his book ‘Digital Soul: Intelligent Machines and Human Values ‘, Thomas M. Georges hypothesizes how the introduction of sentient beings in society might be received by humans. Georges states that “learning to live with superintelligent machines will require us to rethink our concept of ourselves and our place in the scheme of things” (Georges 2003, pg. 181). This statement raises many philosophical questions, which I will explore in my next blog post alongside an in-depth look at the 2015 film ‘Ex-Machina’. Georges’ statement does, however, imply that unsurprisingly living with robots would cause some conflict and would not be a smooth transition for humans. Having said that, many will say that we are already living amongst various forms of “weak” AI such as Siri or Cotana, smart home devices and the somewhat annoying purchase prediction. However, these are forms of “weak” AI and we are still a long way away from a society where humans co-exist  with sentient beings. All we can do, for now, is worry and imagine.

References

Brinded, L 2016, “WEF: Robots, automation and AI will replace 5 million human jobs by 2020”, Business Insider Australia, viewed 4th May 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/wef-davos-report-on-robots-replacing-human-jobs-2016-1?r=UK&IR=T

Georges, T. M. 2003, Digital soul: intelligent machines and human values. Boulder, CO: Westview Press

N/A 2016, “Rich and powerful warn robots are coming for your jobs.”, Japan Today  Viewed May 5, 2016, http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/rich-and-powerful-warn-robots-are-coming-for-your-jobs

Niinuma, O 2016, “Theme park’s ‘robot kingdom’ seeks to upend Japan’s service industry”, Nikkei Asian Review, viewed May 5 2016, http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Theme-park-s-robot-kingdom-seeks-to-upend-Japan-s-service-industry?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

Ethical Issues of AI

In the popular 1993 thriller ‘Jurassic Park’, Jeff Goldblum’s  character says to Richard Attenborough’s character ” your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” The reason I quote this, is that in this post, I intend to focus on the ethical aspect of AI. However, before I focusing on the ethical issues of relating to Artificial Intelligence, I will first attempt to differentiate ethics and morals, as they are often intertwined and confused with each other.

Separating the ethical and moral aspects of any particular topic is incredibly difficult, as ethics and morals often cross-over and are almost one of the same. Now for those of you who don’t know, the word ‘ethics’ originates from the Greek word ethos and ethikos and the word ‘morals’ is derived from the Latin word mores and moralis. In an article for The Conversation, Walker & Lovat state that “‘ethics’ leans towards decisions based upon individual character” whilst  ” ‘morals’ emphasises the widely shared communal or societal norms about right and wrong” (Walker & Lovat, 2014). So, if we follow these differences, where does that leave us, in regards to the various issues regarding Artificial Intelligence?

In regards to Artificial Intelligence, it is incredibly difficult to the ethical and moral issues, as they are often intertwined. The moral (societal) issues  are well-known to us: what happens if robots turn on us? what happens when we lose our jobs to robots? Can we feel truly safe in the presence of robots?  However, what are the ethical (individual) issues that are associated with Artificial Intelligence?

One ethics-driven issue that seems to be prevalent amongst the scientific community is that of technological singularity. Technological singularity refers to a hypothetical moment in the future when artificial intelligence surpasses the limitations of mankind and would therefore be the ones developing new technologies, rather than scientists. Why is this an ethical issue? Well, if you think about it, the scientists who are developing the technology for artificial intelligence are essentially helping create a possible future where humans are no longer useful  and are no longer in control. There are many ongoing arguments as to whether technological singularity is something we should fear or embrace. Which is why it can be considered to be an ethical issue of artificial intelligence and is arguably the most important.

Arguably the more recognized and acknowledged ethical issue, “The Frankenstein Complex” is an issue that remains significant even today and is one that can be discussed with enormous depth (on this note, this issue will be further explored in my podcast series). “The Frankenstein Complex” refers to the “almost religious notion that there are some things only God should know” (McCauley 2007, pg. 10). Although this idea may be more prominent in science-fiction than in everyday life, “The Frankenstein Complex” is still a prevalent issue amongst the scientific community and one that continues to cause debate.

frankenstein-bladerunner1

Image from: https://rhulgeopolitics.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/ships-brooms-and-the-end-of-humanity/

 

To conclude, there are many ethical issues associated with artificial intelligence, yet many of them are intertwined with the moral aspects (which I will discuss in next week’s blog post). Having said this, technological singularity and “The Frankenstein Complex” are both issues that stand out from an ethical perspective and are issues that continue to divide.

References

McCauley, L. 2007, “The Frankenstein Complex and Asimov’s three laws”, AAAI Workshop – Technical Report, pgs. 9-14

Walker, P & Lovat T 2014, ‘ You say morals, I say ethics – what’s the difference?’, The Conversation, September 18th, viewed 19th April 2016, <http://theconversation.com/you-say-morals-i-say-ethics-whats-the-difference-30913&gt;

ASIMOV’S THREE LAWS OF ROBOTICS: ARE THEY IMPLEMENTABLE?

As you may or may not know, Isaac Asimov was  a key figure in the history of Artificial intelligence and was famous, not only for his sci-fi literature, but also for his creation of the three laws of robotics. therefore, as part of my research into artificial intelligence, I thought that this would be a great place to start. So, for this week’s blog post, I have decided to conduct a literature review on Lee McCauley’s journal article ” The Frankenstein Complex and Asimov’s Three Laws” in order to form a strong foundation for further research which will then be presented through a series of podcasts.

As I started reading McCauley’s article, I immediately thought that it was far too one sided. It is written in a way that completely rules out  the possibility of the three laws ever being implemented, should sentient beings ever become part of society in the future. So, in that regard, a counter-argument that embraces the possibility of those laws being implemented, would have immensely improved the interest of the article. Having said that, McCauley’s arguments are very well structured and incredibly well researched. McCauley makes an interesting point when he states that “we are asking that our future robots be more than human-they must be omniscient” (2007, pg.11).The idea that we imagine future robots to make the most logical decisions and still maintain a sense of humanity is a fascinating one which I will explore to a greater extent in my digital artifact. This point is raised in response to a statement made by David Bourne a robotics scientist in California who is quoted in the article.

Additionally, one of the most interesting aspects of McCauley’s article is the age-old idea of “The Frankenstein Complex” which refers to the fear of man attempting to play god by creating life but then vilifying their creation. This idea is, for me, the most interesting aspect regarding Artificial Intelligence and is in the background of the film “Ex-Machina” and countless other science-fiction films.

In conclusion, Lee McCauley’s article on Asimov’s law of robotics and “the Frankenstein complex” was a great place for me to start my research into artificial intelligence, despite the article’s shortcomings. I look forward to update you on my research on this fascinating area of cyberculture.

References

McCauley, L. 2007, “The Frankenstein Complex and Asimov’s three laws”, AAAI Workshop – Technical Report, pgs. 9-14

 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has always been a fascinating aspect of cyber culture, particularly for someone like me, who grew up on thought-provoking science-fiction films such as ‘Her’ and ‘Ex-Machina’. In fact, ‘Ex-Machina’ was one of the reasons for which I chose to explore the idea of Artificial Intelligence for my digital artifact. My intention is to create a 4-part podcast exploring the historical, moral, philosophical and ethical aspects  of Artificial Intelligence.

Alan Turing
Source: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03092/SHOT_11_029__3092453b.jpg

The origins of Artificial Intelligence are commonly traced backed to the revolutionary mathematician Alan Turing, who first questioned whether machines can think. His adaptation of a the imitation game, which eventually became famous as ‘the Turing test’ , and according to prof. Noel Sharkey is “a useful way to chart the progress of AI” (Sharkey, 2012). Turing’s revolutionary research into Artificial Intelligence set the way for authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, whose three laws of robotics have evolved from just a literature device into sort-of rules which are upheld by robotic scientists and researchers.

Another interesting aspect of artificial intelligence that I intend on researching, is the way that artificial intelligence has been represented in science-fiction films, from ‘Blade Runner’ to ‘Ex-Machina’. In presenting this idea, I will review the 2015 film ‘Ex-Machina’ and examine how the film deals with the fore-mentioned aspects of Artificial Intelligence. I have already begun extensive research into each individual aspect and look forward to presenting my progress through each blog post.

References

Sharkey, N 2012, ‘Alan Turing: The experiment that shaped artificial intelligence’, BBC NEWS, 21st November, viewed 10th March 2016,  <http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18475646&gt;