To be or not to be? ……

This week, two related stories caught my eye from very different parts of the he world.
They illustrated the way in which social media brings out the similarities between people from different countries and different cultures.
The first was about a man who threatened to kill his baby by dropping him from a high balcony. The second was about a woman who shot her husband in the chest and killed him.
What do they have in common….. both were allegedly stunts, and both were allegedly attempts to increase the number of hits they get on social media in order to increase their fame/notoriety/celebrity.
Both were prepared, to put their ‘loved ones’ lives in danger. One with fatal consequences.
A case in point whereby human psychological evolution meets technological development.

What to make of this lack of capacity to risk assess?
The mind-set behind these acts chimed with another story in the news whereby an oil tanker overturned and people flocked to it with cups and other containers to loot the spillage. Some of them didn’t put out the cigarettes they were smoking. Needless to say, the oil tanker blew up killing hundreds in the gathered crowd. What does this say about the human capacity to make constructive decisions when faced with obvious danger.

In the news today, there is an article about the values and controls we need to instil into and programme into Artificial Intelligence artefacts ( robots etc) so that they will be supportive of humans once their intellectual functionality exceeds ours – i.e. Now!

“The one law of robotics: Humans must flourish” BBC News…29/06/17.

“The report calls for a completely new approach. It suggests a “stewardship body” of experts and interested parties should build an ethical framework for the development of artificial intelligence technologies.” BBC News…29/06/17.

In view of the stories I have cited, good luck with that!!

If you were a highly and freely intelligent robot dealing with any of the scenarios above would you:
A) let them happen on the basis that experiencing the natural consequence of our actions is the most strategically efficient way of progressing human evolution……. or
B) Intervene and prevent the immediate risk of harm to self and others.

Option A seems cruel…. to stand by and appear to be doing nothing.
Option B seems kind…. but creates a scenario where people fail to learn from their mistakes and are therefore doomed to repeat them.
Which one would fulfil the criteria of allowing humans to flourish.

The road we are on would allow robots to philosophise… in effect become human, but with the added computational power, to be able to project much further strategically.
In effect anything could happen. Watch this space!

My Brother

My clever brother helps to guide my way
If I do something reckless his hand comes in to play
To stop me being harmed
I’d like to think it did, but as I feel no pain
The message never processes and I don’t feel the gain.
The consequences being that I go out and do the same
Thing again
One day he wasn’t there
and I did something insane
A stunt to raise my profile in the social media game
It wasn’t very clever,
but the buzz I got, the frisson.
Wasn’t worth the time I’ve got to think whilst I’m in prison.
My brother feels responsible for how things did unpack
“I should have been there for you Bruv, I should have got your back”
But I have learned a lesson,
we all need help for sure
Yet there are times when we must stand – the consequence endure
My brother was a robot
His ‘failure’ blew a gasket
Robotics inc. retrieved the husk and stuck him in a casket
So he has paid the price
For me refusing his advice
And had he used force
It wouldn’t have changed my course
So whilst the ‘Stewardship Body’ scratch their collective head
(The robots can’t help them as one by one they’re dead)
I have a small suggestion
a radical idea
Let us be us and them be them
And let us be quite clear
That pre-loaded values in an intelligent and sentient being
Whether human, mechanical or bio mechanical
Will not allay our fear
Because no matter how we try
What problems we can solve
We never can control the way
that all of us evolve.


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