Joe: Joe is a transhuman being. He was once upon a time an ordinary Joe just like you and me. But due to advancement in technologies, Joe became a transformed human where he is no longer made up of biological materials but 100% of the things that make him up are synthetic/artificial elements. But Joe is still human in the sense that he still has the identity, personality, memories, feelings and consciousness of the original Joe. Joe became transhuman by the process of mind uploading where the synthetic robotic components of Joe’s brain received a copy of Joe’s biological total and complete mindset; including all memories, awareness and consciousness. Instantaneously after the copying process was completed, the biological Joe was killed as the synthetic Joe became alive with the same identity, personality and consciousness of biological Joe. In all intents and purposes, Joe lives on.
Bob: Bob is an Artificial Being. A sentient AI. Just like Joe, each and every component that makes him up are from synthetic robotic materials. However, his being, identity, personality and consciousness is made up of an artificial mind – a software programmed by humans capable of consciousness and free will, just like Joe. Since Joe’s brain is now made up of artificial components, same components that make up Bob’s brain, both Joe and Bob can be said to have the same level of processing power hence same level of intelligence. Everything Joe can do, Bob can do. Everything Bob can do, Joe can do with the same power, rationality, and extent. In all intents and purposes therefore, Bob and Joe are of the same species.
HUMANS ARE SCARED OF BOB
In December 2nd 2014, after he received an upgrade to the technology he uses to communicate, Stephen Hawking spoke to BBC and expressed reservation on whether humans should make sentient AI. According to him, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” This is because the AI “would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” whereas the human race is “limited by slow biological evolution”. Others with similar fears include the technology guru and CEO of Tesla Elon Musk. Musk, though funding futuristic technologies like those intended to send millions of humans to Mars before the end of this century, is very afraid of Bob, to say the least.
Elon Musk who has hinted that Bob is likely to arrive in 5 to 10 years had comments against Bob saying, “The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most”. “Please note that I am normally super pro technology and have never raised this issue until recent months. This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don’t understand.” “The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast,””Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast — it is growing at a pace close to exponential.” “I am not alone in thinking we should be worried,””The leading AI companies have taken great steps to ensure safety. They recognize the danger, but believe that they can shape and control the digital superintelligences and prevent bad ones from escaping into the Internet. That remains to be seen …”
So yes, we are afraid of Bob. Bob will definitely be more intelligent than us with the ability to improve on this intelligence at an extreme fast rate – at a rate as fast as infinite speed. The point at which the infinite speed takes effect is what has been known as technological singularity.
MAKING BOB HUMAN
Part of the research being done to actualize Bob are attempts to make Bob human, or rather, attempts to make Bob posses the intrinsic human ethical and moral compass that will enable him to discern between right and wrong; in which right means protecting the ordinary human and wrong means harming the ordinary human. In the article The Good, The Bad and The Robot: Experts Are Trying to Make Machines Be “Moral“, Coby McDonald candidly provides insight on how Robot experts are attempting to make the robots be human. You should read the article when you have time, quite interesting.
Other than machine learning techniques expounded by Coby as the solution to ensuring Bob never hurts us, the other solution that has been suggested by people like US Presidential Candidate Zoltan Istvan is that we should hold on until Joe becomes possible before we actualize Bob – and this possibility has been placed some 15 years away by futurists like Ray Kurzweil. In the Interview with Zoltan Istvan, I asked him the question, “Transhumanism has so much hope on sentient AI, an AI with free-will. In some of the articles that you have published you have clearly said that AI should not be allowed to harm humanity. Is it possible to have an AI with free-will but at the same time is incapable of making choices that are harmful to man?”.
Zoltan responded by saying, “No body knows the answer to that question yet. And I am quite convinced that we never should find out either. I think we should aim to create an AI that can be independent, but also plan to integrate ourselves with it so it will never be independent. There’s just no reason to ever take that risk. I think we should spend enormous resources so that we can mind upload into an AI-like machine, and that when we first let that AI be free, we’ll also be a part of it.”
That means that we should strive to have a situation where both Bob and Joe exist side by side such that if Bob will ever think of wiping out mankind, then Joe will be there to put a stop to that. In another Interview that I am unable to pullout, Zoltan explained this by saying that at the initial stage of creating Joe, there should be at least 100 people whose minds are uploaded to the AI. The composition of the 100 people will be such that the overall interest of humanity is well represented. These overall interest would range from things like civil rights to freedom to worship a god of choice.
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