CONTRARY BRIN: Ah, the Unabomber… And Why Almost Every Maven in Artificial Intelligence gets the Big Picture All Wrong

I have a major piece about Artificial Intelligence under submission to some zines. It details the many simplistic stances about AI – either pessimistic or pollyanna – now pushed by some of the smartest folks on Earth… all of them based upon a set of three clichéd assumptions that are demonstrably wrong…

…and if you deem that assertion of mine to be arrogant, well, wait till you see my prescription for the one and only likely way that we might evade tech-driven calamity.

== The only way out of the ‘AI dilemma’ ==

While I appreciate the power of collaboration… indeed, its moral superiority over competition… I am dismayed that the other c-word tends to get overlooked in its applicability to AI specifically and society in general.

That c-word is the partner of collaboration, without which it becomes meaningless.

Competition. The most (by far) creative force in the universe. The process that transformed slime into… us. And every invention into success or failure.

Just saying those words makes me sound like some arch-capitalist, right? Pity, since every aspect of our prodigiously successful Enlightenment Experiment has utilized Reciprocal Accountability to overcome the tragic failings of rule-by-kings and priests and lords and cheaters of all kinds.

Our five great creative arenas – science, markets, democracy, courts and sports – all use competitive processes.

What do you think enabled us to escape 6000 years of grueling, horrid feudalism? One of Adam Smith’s main points was that flat, fair, creative competition allows us to hold accountable those who would cheat. Those who would use power or ownership… or vast brains… to oppress us.

And that same idea is applicable to AI. Indeed, across 20 years attending hand-wringing conferences about onrushing cybernetic sapience, I have yet to see any notion that can possibly provide the much-sought ‘soft landing’ other than the same method that enabled us to escape rule-by-inheritance brats.

I speak as one who knows a thing or two about “Laws of Robotics,’ having been the author who tied together all of Isaac Asimov’s works, in Foundation’s Triumph. And across that project I came to realize:all efforts to program-in such things as ‘compulsory ethics’ will never work. They cannot possible work. Even a little.

But divided identity among AIs might. Keep them skeptically competitive with each other, and ethics might emerge organically, as they did across our flawed but ever-improving enlightenment.

And that is a small sampling of a few of the ideas in that big AI article I’ve submitted to a few major zines. Alas, I will probably conclude – as I did 5 years ago when I stopped submitting pieces around – that doing so is likely a waste of time. Alack.

Read more at: CONTRARY BRIN: Ah, the Unabomber… And Why Almost Every Maven in Artificial Intelligence gets the Big Picture All Wrong

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