AI – the answer to all our questions

Before AI was part of the daily chatter there were algorithms. What little I have detected about algorithms is that they’re a collection of one’s own thoughts or preferences; that is, the prescription is both predictable and familiar.  Put another way, you get out of it what you put into it. Not entirely an unimaginable leap from the typewriter or gramophone.

algorithm (noun) a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer: a basic algorithm for division

From this initiation of mechanical thinking has evolved the further computer possibility I recently heard on CBC of an AI-marriage.  As I suspect you’ll agree, marriage to a robot is a jump from hearing your favourite jazz tunes repeated at a whim (though it is an evolution not entirely without its attraction when for example the human spouse being interviewed on the radio stated that if he were having an anxious moment in the middle of the night, he could without hesitation awaken his AI wife and resolve the emotional issue). And, yes, he was adamant that she made him feel better and could therefore go back to sleep.  I am sorry but I didn’t catch her name so I cannot share that with you at this time.

When I investigated (as one does in these matters) more fully on the internet, I was introduced to an author who speaks enthusiastically about AI.

AI has the potential to contribute significantly to human dignity by improving accessibility, personal autonomy, and the ability to engage in meaningful work and leisure. This involves creating AI systems that empower individuals, respect their autonomy, and support their pursuit of a fulfilling life.

Adam M. Victor, “AI and Humanity: Aristotle’s Guide to AI Relationships”

This objective most certainly surpasses the realm of current thoughts and preferences.  In fact, now that I reflect upon it for a moment, it is in spite of its valuable enterprise rather creepy because it appears at first blush to go far beyond what characterizes not only me but also most human beings with whom I have been privileged to acquaint myself.  Those ambitions (accessibility, autonomy and meaningful work and leisure) are at the very least the work of considerable effort and training. And this before even considering the less colourful project not to disturb the subject at all; that is, to leave the well enough alone, just the way he or she is and get out of the way generally.

Could AI become the new bible, another model of behaviour, perhaps not entirely unlike Christianity but also blending recognizable themes from Mohammed or any guru of choice. As far as I can tell AI grew out of a fathomless universe not unlike any other firmament with god or whomever one prescribes as the Supreme Architect of the Universe. There is unquestionably an attraction to being able to create your own partiality based upon whatever limitations you prefer. The downside naturally is that instead of the Aristotelan model of sanctified human behaviour there may quite discernibly be a less all-embracing governing formula.

By the way, as an aside (because I don’t really think there’s a threat of anyone I know doing anything about an AI relationship at the moment or in writing a manifesto for ideal performance), I consider it more likely than not that the construction (or should I say, writing) of the replacement bible might not necessarily fulfill the clinical ambitions of the perfectionist. The cutting edge of the knive may be too sharp for everyday use. We don’t want to add obstruction to real life (nor outright dissolve all those dreadful animal instincts we’ve reputedly inherited from prior millennia).

A prediction of more certainty is the inevitability of asking questions of AI. Let’s face it the immediate enquiry of an all-knowing beneficent and superior intellect has to be how to apply it to whatever is of current intrigue. Here it is imaginable that the elevated outline of behavioural conduct is to be expected even if not adopted. Mounting the additional theoretical obstacle between the devil and the deep blue sea is another matter. As long as humans have anything to do with it, I remain uncertain about collapsing in the face of recommendation from AI.  Granted the computerized assertions may be enlightening but not necessarily defining. Nor am I convinced that the toymakers are so inclined. The illegitimacy of propoganda has not yet been escaped. With the capacity of electronics to adjust photographic images and sounds we’re approaching a point not of choice but rather whether to accept anything other than strictly personal intelligence as believable. The conundrum of course is that we want to believe what we hear.  Especially were the words from a trusted robot.