Here’s the new end-of-the-world plot line that’s been suffocating my newsfeeds. Technologists are scared of machines becoming too smart for us and plotting to end or enslave humans.
While the apocalyptic scenario rings familiar with all the Hollywood theatrics and childhood stories. It’s worth remembering a few elemental things.
1) Machines are non-feeling (“feelings” when available are programmed by a human)
2) Machine mobility is still super complex
3) Human learning starts at infancy and is administered through a far more complex pattern than scientists have decoded into machine learning.
4) Most importantly: We project our inner weaknesses onto those around us.
Us humans have been brain-washed into mistrusting each other and always expecting the worst from the person in front of us. We have become so mistrustful that that has almost become the default for everyone.
The US has enough Nuclear missiles to end the planet, but doesn’t trust anyone they don’t get along (or do at this stage) with to have any (while today the threat may just as well be from the inside).
In the Middle East many countries don’t trust their governments (even democratic nations). We don’t trust refugees, westerners, Asians, Africans, our fellow citizens of different sects and our neighbors. We have a trust issue.
Here comes the machines. Why did we expect that we will fall into their arms in safety? Our inherent psychology prompts us that the “machine-race” are to be mis-trusted. They have metal power, access to our connectivity and superior vertical self-learning intelligence.
When facebook’s machines developed their own language, it made absolute sense! Machine’s don’t need the syntax and language rules that humans use to communicate (even coding languages are designed for humans), nor do they come lumbered with cultural references. Therefore in light of efficiency the machines will logically communicate in a machine inherent language.
Just because machines are getting “smarter” than humans from programmed and designed machine learning research is not equal to “machines will end the human race”. I would be more concerned about the human race ending the human race through global warming and war machines within the next few decades instead.
This post originally appeared on Medium in the Breathe Publication on Sep 24, 2017