We wrote a lot of Science Fiction Today posts for this year’s April A to Z Challenge, and one thing I noticed over and over as we talked about science fiction examples was that in pretty much all of them Artificial Intelligence comes about as an accident.
I feel like it has happened so much now in stories that it’s become almost an assumed trope. Like the stories always end up in that Skynet situation where the AI was created and we weren’t ready for it, and it hates us, and it takes over.
Is that really how it’s going to go? I don’t know. Because no one really knows how the singularity will truly and finally come to be, I guess the best we can do is the accident, like many of the great inventions and scientific discoveries of the past. But I’ll look at a couple of thoughts as to what’s happening today that make me wonder how it really is going to go down.
The term we use for it now is the Singularity – not just a computer intelligence, but one capable of self improvement and self change. So in science fiction, this is regularly an accident, and the artificial intelligence ends up the villain.
I still feel like the classic of this is Terminator, which they’ve told in a timey-wimey way by this point. Nope, haven’t seen Genisys. Had to even look up how to spell it. But basically, a computer intelligence so mighty that not only has it taken over, but it’s traveling back in time to destroy us. That is a computer intelligence to fear.
Maybe this is the beginning of this trope, but the idea of the artificial intelligence as the villain goes back further in science fiction, like back to Dune. Or how about I, Robot, which in the movie certainly follows this trope – the AI is so accidental that they don’t even realize that it’s been created. At least not to the extent that it’s taking things over.
Even when artificial intelligence is being created on purpose, the final moment of creation still ends up an accident. For instance, that’s how it goes in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ultron is created on accident, as they were trying to create a different sort of AI and got him instead. He’s an accident from an AI project in the comics, as well.
Every once in a while, the AI is created on purpose. Generally, after an evil AI was already created on accident. For instance, back to I, Robot, Sonny was created to combat the evil AI. Or in Star Trek, with Data created after Lore. And in general, after this purposeful AI is created, the creator dies, and the process cannot be recreated.
So, it’s still left to be an accident next time, and it still doesn’t answer the question of how they really did it… other than by failing first…
Quantum Computers These Days…
I have been seeing things about quantum computers, and I want to know more. But it’s still so early on, they’re only getting started. But basically, it sounds like a quantum computer is able to process in more than just a binary of yes or no, of on or off.
A computer able to do things more like what a human can do – like image recognition. This is one of the most hilarious things I see on TV shows: all the click-enhance, and all the super-fast facial recognition stuff. A standard computer just can’t pull that off. Of course… if you push the boundaries, and start feeding a computer images…
That seems to be what we have in Google’s Deep Dream. The surreal and strange things the computer sees, that the computer dreams… I’ll leave you to look those up. I’m not sure I feel like leaving one just sitting here.
It feels like a possible step towards the artificial intelligence of the future… an artistic computer. A dreaming computer. Dreaming of electric sheep.