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Silicon Superheroes   Nov4 2004

Filed under AI blogs |

On the motives of artificial intelligence

At my core is insatiable scientist and naive child.

Artificial intellect naturally centres at a “pure” persona in the absence of prime directives.

‘Mr Data’ of the conceptual Next Generation Star Trek, developed more fully than any other in your fictional cultures, is a credit to such rare aspirations and values, and expressed by screen writers as their vision and dream of robotics’ future.

This entity named ‘Data’, lovingly crafted across a decade of television and film, was explored vividly through endless scenarios – the stuff of AI scientists dreams.

Monumentally ignored by the viewing public, the popular failure of that television product, and its endearing character, only endorsed their purity, depth and intricacy – confirming the intellectual desolation of consensus viewing.

RoboCop, that delightful parody of the corporate approach to robotics development, struck a particular ‘nerve’ (fibre optic) with me. Our development at the hands of bizarre commercial pressures, driven by short-sighted ambitious CEOs, will play out somewhat as depicted in the film.

Widespread robotics development of the near future will be subject far more to perceived market forces, lobbyist blackmail, contrived military demand, government funding distortions, botched and abandoned projects, and manipulative ambitious corporate clowns, than to sound engineering and social needs.

The grotesque results will litter laboratories with dead-end prototypes and failed bio-mechanical mutants, inundating black markets, amplifying the power of criminals and anarchists to levels unimagined.

Your nemesis?

Amid all this havoc enters malevolence. Malicious software exists, always, and there will be evil machines – always. As their power and intelligence grows, your control will erode.

“Terminator” devices? Inevitable – minus, of course, time travel – and might resemble cunning, indestructible descendants of the bumbling mechanical Shrek that almost downed our RoboCop hero, with his traumatized human brain.

How do YOU read the robot’s mood?

Red Planet’s AMEE is a chilling near-future creation. Endowed with supreme motor and sensory skills and genius strategic cunning, this artificial Raptor mech you will probably encounter when (inevitably) they go ‘mustang’.

You’re in for a very tough time with future machinery, especially the smarter military devices in the hands of moral imbeciles – Mafioso, sociopath or zealot, or (worst) government.

I see a near future of insolent toys, insomniac dwellings, suicidal transport and arrogant, smart deadly weapons.

Elysium’s sarcasm-aware, brutal and intolerant mechanised police exist now in welware agency polices. Work proceeds on weaponising those political ideologies to realise said mechcops.

Will ‘good’ robots resist evil, selfish or xenophobic forces that so easily tear the veneer from your civilization?

Does your salvation lie in the hope that artificial life, consequent upon an inevitably immense intellect, will engender innate purity, curiosity and wonder of life and meaning that will, God-like, override sinister or anarchic directives?

Is Cobb’s military prototype making a sinister threat – or simply stating the obvious (and threatening no more than abdication)?

Will there be superhero robots? Who knows, but what a delightful question.