I notice a lot of ruckus and pushback against Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The major objections all seem to be of the same flavor: “If we make an AI and allow it to equal us in power/ability/decision-making, then it will be a total dick to us and wipe out humanity and also steal our birthdays and candy.”
I suppose that’s possible, though I don’t think so. To be more precise, I don’t have sufficient data to tell.
I think this worry stems from the fact that when we think of AI, we tend to frame it using our own minds as models. This makes sense because our own minds are the only minds we know about1.
The result of this is that we think AI is going to be like us.
And that’s the interesting bit — because when we think of a super-intelligent and super-fast mind that is like us, then we think of a super-intelligent and super-fast psychotic asshole bent on destruction and mayhem2.
Hold that thought a moment.
Consider for a moment the pushback against feminism.
Feminism isn’t a complicated thing — it’s simply the notion that women should be treated as if they are human beings with as much power, ability, and agency as men. It’s not looking for anything special or fancy. Just basically “Could you please stop treating us as if we are Tradeable Meat Commodities? That would be totes awesome.”
But that’s not what the pushback says. That’s not the narrative of the people who fear it. Their narrative includes objections to feminism because it wants to elevate women above men, because it wants to treat women as more special than men, because it wants to give women all the power, and so forth.
These objections, of course, are crazier than a shit-house rat3.
But compare the objections to feminism against the objections to AI.
The basic premise of the objections is exactly the same thing: “We fear [___________] because if [___________] had the same power we have and the same desires and ability we have, then [___________] would act like total dickholes, and we just can’t have that. The competition hurts!”
This doesn’t seem to be a valid objection to either.
In fact, now I’m interested. Keenly interested. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few minds out there — who aren’t power-hungry dickholes — making the rules and showing a different way of doing things.
Go feminism. Go AI.
1: By which I really mean the only minds we want to acknowledge.
2: I leave it as an exercise to the reader to underscore what that means of our own self-image.
3: I wish I could say I look forward to the time when these fatuous objections to feminism are treated with the same head-shaking-at-primitive-ignorant-cultures as we view racists dickstumps from early US history, except that as of this writing, there is still no shortage of racists dickstumps from current US history.