I regularly receive links to many different articles, videos, and other documents from readers of this website. Recently I was sent a link to the following show,
This Science Channel show stars Michio Kaku, and its subject matter is malevolent A.I. Given the seriousness of the subject I was personally caught off guard by the sheer silliness of this presentation. In fact it was so over the top, that I just had to write up a piece about it here.
This show features some very serious people from within the A.I. / A.G.I. community rifling off some very stupid sounding ideas. It's almost as if they are being ridiculous on purpose. But why would they do that? My guess is to simply lighten the mood, and dispel any suspicions surrounding a very difficult subject. We wouldn't want any of the children to get scared now, would we? The program does indeed seem to be designed for a target audience of children. With this in mind, let's be sure not to mistake this piece as something that would be valuable in helping us to make informed decisions about the subject of artificial intelligence in any way. The show is a joke, and as such the on-screen "experts" can barely contain their own hysterical laughter.
Yes, the show is ridiculous. However, we must be sure to take it seriously. After all, it appears to be written for children, and so it follows that children will be watching this. We should not take such a realization lightly. Entertainment is routinely taken for granted by "adults" who never think about its true power. Some very intense ideas are conveyed here. They are certainly powerful enough to have a lasting effect on any child who watches the show.
Michio Kaku, familiar spokesman for the Singularity
It is important to see the way in which this program is crafted, and pull out important themes, ideas, and talking points. Regarding the Technological Singularity, this show is another cookie cutter presentation with all of the usual concepts presented. The theme of inevitably is hit hard, as that is the major idea that is always used in order to make viewers drop their mental guard. With this in mind, consider the following brief quotes from the show,
"The Singularity is coming." ... "Let's get real" ... "only a matter of time" ... "no way to stop"...
As I say, this is typical. The idea is to present the Singularity as something that will happen no matter what. After this memetic bombardment, the show proceeds to make silly plans involving a "weapon" that can take out evil A.I. should it ever get out of control. This may be the most ridiculous part of the show that would no doubt spark heated intellectual debate among a group of boys in the 7th grade (trust me, I used to be one myself). The more important part to take note of is the way in which the program is wrapped up. The solution to malevolent A.I. is one we have heard before, and regular readers of this site will see it coming a mile away. Here are the quotes from the show,
"Instead of confronting the machines, maybe we'll have to embrace them." ... "Man and Machine should merge." ... "Uploading" ... "Humanity would enter a higher level of existence." ... "We should embrace the Singularity." ... "Posthuman Era"...
Well I guess we can put all of those silly old fears of A.I. machines to rest now. Personally, I would think twice about this entire thing. Be sure to note the language used in the above quotes: Have to, would, should. There is no shortage of suggestion here, and that my friends is the true point of this show. It lies hidden deep within the massive landfill of mindlessness that we are given to view as "Science." It is clear that the idea was to tie this show up in a neat little package, and to do so by offering up transhumanism as the grand solution to a very complex problem. It would be one thing if this were the only show to do so, but this truly is a concept that has been presented over and over again. The deeper question to ask is whether or not there is purpose behind the presentation of such messages. Take note of the fact that whenever the possible dangers of super-intelligent A.I. (A.G.I.) are brought up, they are always dispelled by the prospect of becoming one with those very same machines.
My personal take on this subject is that the true purposes, realities, and importance of artificial intelligence systems are glossed over by the fantastic and awe-inspiring concept of Singularity. This is done to get us to idealize our future, instead of realize what is actually happening right now. It makes us welcome to the idea of merging with machines.