This is another video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is a CreepyPasta that I wrote and narrated myself. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: AI
Jack’s CreepyPastas: The Horrible Truth About A.I.
Filed under CreepyPasta, Jack's World, YouTube
Some Helpful (And Mostly Free) AI Tools That Might Help You
I talk about artificial intelligence a lot, both on this site and on my YouTube channel. It’s not just because Artificial Intelligence has the potential to be one of the most important technologies that mankind will ever create. It’s a topic of genuine fascination for me. I’ve always been a fan of the science fiction stories that can be told about AI. I also have a keen interest in how it may ultimately impact the real world.
However, as much fun as it is to speculate on the future of artificial intelligence, it’s a bit more productive to understand what it can do for you right now. I feel like AI has become a lot more mainstream with the rise of programs like ChatGPT. It’s very likely that other programs like it will emerge in the coming years and be very disruptive to multiple industries.
Granted, these AI systems are nowhere close to becoming sentient like Skynet or Hal 9000. We honestly don’t know when we’ll reach a point where an artificial intelligence will be as sentient and as intelligent as an average human. But for the time being, there are a growing number of tools powered by AI that are helping people within multiple fields. I’ve used quite a few of them. I’ve even shared some of the work I’ve done with them. And I can use these tools, then anyone can.
So, in the spirit of exploring this new world AI is creating, I’ve created a brief list of current AI tools that I hope others might find useful in whatever it is they do. Whether it’s writing, graphic design, web development, cooking, or personal interaction, there’s probably an AI tool to help you. While these tools might be limited in their use at the moment, it’s likely just the early versions of something that’ll become much more refined in the future.
And if you have other AI tools you find useful, please share them in the comments.
Copy.AI – An AI-Powered Copywriting Program
Piggy To – An AI-Powered Program That Creates Small, Shareable Websites
Riffusion – An AI-Powered Music Generator That Creates Music From Simple Text Prompts
Midjourney – The Most Popular AI-Artwork Generator
Yoodli AI – An Interactive AI That Helps Improve Your Communication Skills
GymGenie – An AI That Helps Develop A Workout Program
Article Fiesta – An AI Tool That Helps You Create Articles For Websites And Blogs
MeetGeek – An AI Tool That Helps Record, Transcribe, And Summarize Meetings
ChefGPT – An AI Tool That Helps Develop New Recepies
Avatar AI – An AI That Helps Develop Digital Avatars
Natural Reeder – An AI Text-To-Speech Tool That Creates Natural Language Narration Audio
Cowriter – An AI Tool That Helps Improve Your Writing
Filed under AI Art, Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT, futurism, technology
Putting The Hype Behind ChatGPT Into Perspective
I’ve been meaning to touch on this topic for a while now. For someone who writes a lot about and makes multiple videos on the subject of artificial intelligence, it might be somewhat surprising that I haven’t talked much about ChatGPT. I promise there’s a reason for that. I don’t claim it’s a good reason, but I think it’s relevant because it has to do with perspective.
Now, I’ve been following the sudden surge in interest surrounding ChatGPT since it started making headlines. I actually became aware of it when I saw this video on YouTube from a channel called Cold Fusion. For reference, here’s the video.
From here, I started following numerous newsfeeds about ChatGPT, how it’s being used, and how people are coming to perceive it. It has been amazing to watch. I honestly can’t remember the last time a piece of software getting this much hype. And the incredible pace of user growth it’s had in the past few months is nothing short of remarkable.
People have been talking about the potential for artificial intelligence for years, myself included. But we’ve never seen that potential manifest beyond a certain point. ChatGPT has changed that because it’s a real, tangible product that ordinary people can use. For an entire generation, it’s likely to be the first interaction with an artificial intelligence that can do more than your typical virtual assistant.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this technology could change the world in profound ways. It has the potential to radically alter how we work, learn, create, and do business with one another.
At the same time, it has raised a lot of concerns and not just with respect to how it might displace large segments of the job market. There’s genuine concern it’ll facilitate cheating, help scammers, or add to ongoing issues surrounding misinformation. I think those concerns are plenty warranted.
There’s already some major concern that ChatGPT is somehow the precursor to Skynet and we’re actively creating something that will eventually turn against us. Those concerns aren’t quite as warranted.
Let’s get one thing clear. ChatGPT is not an artificial intelligence on par with Skynet or any other fictional AI we’re familiar with. That’s not how it’s programmed. It can’t become Skynet any more than your cell phone can become a dishwasher. The hardware and software just aren’t there yet.
That being said, ChatGPT is a manifestation of how far artificial intelligence has come. This isn’t something that just uses algorithms to link us to new web pages. This is a system that can actually interact with people in a way that feels familiar. Talking to ChatGPT is less like doing a web search and more like talking to another person. That person just happens to be capable of culling through massive amounts of data and presenting it in a useful, legible form.
I admit that’s not a trivial difference. I also don’t doubt that entire industries and tech companies are rightly concerned about what ChatGPT could lead to, with respect to the future of the internet. But that’s where having a balanced perspective really matters.
For me, personally, I look at ChatGPT the same way I look at the first iteration iPhone. If you get a chance, just go back and look at old videos and news stories about the first iPhone. That too was touted as something revolutionary and world-changing. And in the grand scheme of things, it was. But looking at the specs of that first model today, it’s easy to forget how long it took for that impact to take hold.
Granted, that first iPhone was a bit overhyped and most did not see the potential of this device at first. However, that potential was realized more and more over time as people began refining how they used. Then, as later models came out that improved on what the first one did, it really began to have an impact.
I wouldn’t expect ChatGPT to follow the exact same path. For one, this program was developed by a non-profit research laboratory and not some multi-billion dollar tech company. The purpose, intentions, and incentives are all very different with this technology compared to that of the iPhone.
But, like all emerging technology, there will be updates and refinements. Another version of ChatGPT is already being teased. Like the second iPhone, it promises to improve and expand on the function of the first. In time, another version will come out and another one after that. Each time, the use and utility will grow. It won’t happen all at once. It might not even be noticeable at the time. But the impact will be felt in the long run.
That’s probably the most balanced perspective I can offer for ChatGPT at the moment. I don’t doubt for a second that this perspective will change with future updates and capabilities. There’s a chance ChatGPT ends up being a popular fad that simply falls out of favor because nobody can figure out how to utilize it beyond a certain point. It could become the AI equivalent of Windows Vista.
But there’s also a chance that ChatGPT could lead to some truly unprecedented growth and change in the world of artificial intelligence. It could completely upend how we interact with technology. And ultimately, it could lead to the development of a functioning artificial general intelligence capable of matching and exceeding an average human. If that does happen and ChatGPT was the catalyst for it, then it might go down as one of humanity’s most important technological developments.
At this point, I honestly don’t know how it’ll play out. And I question anyone who claims to know. Nobody truly knew how the iPhone would change the world until that change became apparent. We probably won’t know the true extent of ChatGPT’s impact until a similar change takes hold.
Who knows what the world will be like when that time comes?
While a part of me is nervous about it, I’m also genuinely curious to see where ChatGPT will lead us,
Filed under Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT, technology
The Exciting/Distressing World Of AI-Generated Art
Whenever I talk about artificial intelligence, I often talk about the possibilities and potential it has for the near and distant future. I admit I sometimes to a bit overboard with the speculation and the hyperbole. In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear already, I am not an expert. I do not consider myself exceptionally smart or well-informed on this topic. I just find it very interesting and quite tantalizing, given how much I’ve seen computer technology evolve over the course of my lifetime.
However, in talking about artificial intelligence, I rarely get a chance to talk about some actual tools and products powered by AI that we can use today. That’s just the nature of technology like this. It takes a while to develop and refine. It also takes a while to actually create a usable product with it that don’t require a Masters Degree in computer programming.
But this past year has seen the rise of a new type of AI-powered product that is making its presence felt. It’s called AI-Generated art and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s art entirely created by an artificial intelligence that uses massive amounts of data on art, shapes, and design to craft artwork based solely on text suggestions.
It’s not entirely new. For a number of years now, there have been AI systems that can essentially create photo-realistic depictions of people who don’t exist. That, alone, is an impressive feat and one that has some distressing implications for those worried about fake IDs, identity theft, or catfishing. However, these new AI-Generated art programs have the potential to do so much more.
While the mechanisms behind it are very complex, the interface itself is very simple. A user just enters a brief description of what kind of artwork they want. Then, the program processes that and crunches the data. Finally, it generates an image. Sometimes, it takes a few seconds. Sometimes, it takes a bit longer, especially if the prompt is more elaborate. If you want to see a good example of what it can create, just check out the brief, but hilarious skit John Oliver did. Just don’t watch it while eating cabbage.
Aside from the inherent comedy gold that can be mined from this technology, just take a step back and consider the larger implications of these tools. These are prompts being entered by people who probably don’t have much in terms of art skills. And as John Oliver noted, some are being entered by people who aren’t entirely sober. While the images they generate don’t exactly look like masterpieces or anything someone would mistake for photo-realism, it’s still remarkable they’re as good as they are.
In seeing some of this art, it actually reminds me somewhat of early video game consoles that began rendering 3D graphics. I’m old enough to remember the somewhat clunky transition between 2D to 3D graphics. Just look at early Playstation games or games like Super Mario 64. They weren’t exactly polished, but they were a step in that direction.
Now, compare that to a typical game on the Playstation 5. In the span of just 20 years, the graphics and renderings have become so realistic that they’re navigating uncanny valley territory. With that in mind, imagine what these AI-generating art programs will do with that kind of refinement. I don’t know if it’ll take 20 years or longer, but it does create some tantalizing possibilities.
Ordinary people could conjure detailed, photo-realistic backgrounds for games, portraits, or stock art.
Ordinary people could conjure elaborate scenes and illustrations for stories they wish to tell.
Ordinary people could create artistic depictions of elaborate fantasies, including the sexy kind.
This is especially intriguing for someone like me because, as I’ve noted in the past, I cannot draw worth a damn. I have practically no skills when it comes to creating visual artwork, be it with a pencil or a computer program. I’ve never had that skill. I’ve tried many times in the past do develop those skills. I’ve never succeeded. I’ve always been better with writing and words. And I’ve been perfectly content with that.
Now, this technology gives someone like me an opportunity to craft images to go along with my words. It opens the possibility that I could one day write a story, sexy or non-sexy, and supplement it with real, vivid depictions of the characters and scenes. That is definitely something I want to pursue. I have experimented a bit with the AI art programs, but they’re still someone limited. I won’t be incorporating them into my sexy short stories anytime soon.
But if these programs continue to improve, then it’s only a matter of time before I craft a story in that manner. Honestly, that really does excite me, more so than a lot of the promising news surrounding artificial intelligence. I understand there are aspects to the technology that may never happen or just won’t be happening within my lifetime. But these AI art programs are real. They exist now and they’re going to be refined, like most emerging technology. It remains to be seen how fast they’ll achieve a higher quality, but I will certainly be watching it closely.
If you want, you can even test these programs out yourself. This site lists 10 sites you can go to right now, but these are the sites I recommend.
Please note that most of these services are limited and none allow anyone to create images that are overly pornographic or outright illegal. However, you can still create some legitimately good images, which you can save and use in whatever way you please. I’m already hoping to use some for my YouTube channel.
But even though this technology is especially intriguing to people like me with no art skills, I don’t deny it has actual artists very concerned. There has already been one instance where an AI-generated artwork won an art contest, which the real artists did not appreciate. It’s not just that an AI like this won without putting in the effort an artist usually would. In many cases, these programs used art other artists had created to refine its code. Over time, these programs could conceivably put those same artists out of work.
I can totally understand that concern. Who would hire a talented, but expensive artists to create images if they could just use an AI program to create it in seconds and for free? Do you really think big companies like Disney, Warner Brothers, and Universal wouldn’t fire their entire art team if they could get the same results for a fraction of the cost? They’re billion-dollar profit-driven companies. You know they would.
Even if this technology doesn’t completely replace real-life artists, it’s still essentially doing most of the work. On some level, it dehumanizes the artistic process, even more so than a camera. A camera can only render the image in front of it. These programs could conceivably conjure images that nobody has ever seen or imagined, a feat that once belonged solely to artists.
What does that mean for the future of artists?
What does that mean for the future of art?
I don’t claim to know the answers. I’m not even sure how to speculate on something like this. Again, I have no art skills with respect to drawing or creating images from scratch. I’m the kind of person who will embrace this technology more than most, so I’m going to be somewhat bias in that regard.
But artists and governments are starting to take notice. China has already made waves by attempting to ban AI-generated media that isn’t appropriately marked. While that may temper some trends in this field, it’s not going to stop it. There’s just too much to be gained at this point. The genie is out of the bottle and there’s no putting it back.
It’s sure to cause more issues, especially as the technology becomes more refined. It probably won’t be long before a major problem occurs because someone used AI-generated art in some nefarious way. Some are already trying, but they can only achieve so much, given the limits of technology.
That will eventually change. If you’re reading this, you’re likely to see some AI-generated artwork that you’ll mistake for something real. At that point, even concerns about deep fakes will be minor in comparison. Only time will tell.
Until then, non-artistically inclined people like me can start contemplating what thoughts and ideas we can one day make real.
Filed under Artificial Intelligence, futurism, technology
Thought Experiment: What Major Decisions Would You Trust An Artificial Intelligence To Make For You?
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is a thought experiment about artificial intelligence, the choices we make, and how much (or how little) we’ll delegate such choices in the future. Enjoy!
Filed under Artificial Intelligence, Jack's World, psychology, technology, YouTube
Would You Willingly Plug Yourself Into The Matrix? A Serious Question
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is both a thought experiment and a deep dive into some of the concepts explored in the Matrix, both the original and The Matrix Resurrections. It explores the idea of creating virtual worlds that feel every bit as real as the real. It also touches on the larger implications of this technology while also asking under what circumstances we would willingly enter such a world.
Filed under Artificial Intelligence, futurism, Jack's World, movies, Neuralink, YouTube
New Zealand Pushes For International Bans On Fully Autonomous Weapons (And Why Other Countries Should Follow Suit)
Whenever I discuss or follow issues surrounding artificial intelligence, it’s not long before the topic of killer robots come up. That’s to be expected and not just because most of us have seen “Terminator” one too many times. However, it’s no laughing matter.
At this stage in our technological development, killer robots and autonomous weapons aren’t restricted to science fiction. They already exist in many respects. We just call them drones or unmanned combat aerial vehicles. These are real things that operate in real war zones. They have killed people, including innocent civilians.
They may not look like your typical T-101, but make no mistake. They’re every bit as deadly. They don’t need to hide within the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger. They can just flies thousands of feet over your head and kill from a distance. That’s a scary thought for anyone in a war zone, but you can take some comfort in that these machines still have human operators.
That could eventually change. As I’ve noted before, artificial intelligence is advancing to a point where it can match or exceed the skill of an ordinary human in specialized tasks. Even if we’re decades away form an AI that has the same cognitive capacity as an ordinary human, we already have AI systems that specialize in particular tasks, like chess.
It wouldn’t be that great a stretch to develop an advanced artificial intelligence that could specialize in flying combat drones without any human input. In principle, an artificial intelligence wouldn’t be nearly as prone to human error or hesitation if their human pilots were taken out of the equation.
However, that also raises some serious ethical, as well as strategic questions. If humans are out of the loop in operating these autonomous weapons systems, then what happens to how we conduct warfare? What does this mean for both sides of an armed conflict?
Ideally, an advanced AI will be better at making decisions to limit civilian casualties. That is likely the ultimate goal in researching these systems. The problem is we’re still a long way from that goal, so much so that one government in the world is already trying to establish a precedent.
Fittingly, it’s a government from an area that is not in any war zone, nor is it near one. New Zealand, a country not known for frequent warmongering, recently pushed for a worldwide ban on autonomous weapons systems. It’s a bold and ambitious effort, but one I believe we should take seriously.
Stuff: Government to push for international ban of autonomous weapons, or killer robots
The Government will push for an international ban on fully autonomous weapons, or killer robots, that use artificial intelligence to target and kill people without any human decision-making.
New Zealand has for decades advocated for disarmament in international forums, after declaring the country a nuclear-free zone in the 1980s. Autonomous weapons are seen as a new frontier in the arms race between major military powers.
Disarmament Minister Phil Twyford on Tuesday said the Government had decided to take a “tough and uncompromising” stance on autonomous weapons, and seek a ban of fully autonomous weapons on the international stage.
Regardless of how you feel about New Zealand’s policies or intentions, this is one rare instance where politics might have to inject itself into science. Like it or not, the pace of artificial intelligence is accelerating. Few agree on how much time it’ll take to reach human level AI, but nobody denies that it’s an advancing field.
At some point in the very near future, we’ll have AI systems specifically tailored to fly combat drones with the same proficiency as a skilled Air Force pilot. That does not require human level AI. It just requires AI that can handle the various tasks associated with operating these systems.
When that time comes, it will be tempting to take flawed humans out of the loop. That means militaries with these autonomous weapons systems won’t have to be as hesitant when it comes to deploying these systems.
We can safely assume this because there’s a big difference between pushing a button that fires a gun and ordering another human being to fire that same gun. Even if that other human is trained and obedient, they’re still human. They can still make mistakes. They can still hesitate.
For once, that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes, we need humans to hesitate in the midst of war. Were it not for hesitation, the Cuban Missile Crisis could’ve ended very differently.
If waging war is too easy for those with access to these systems, then more war will follow. More war means more death, destruction, and violence. Too much of that and lasting peace becomes much more difficult. The whole of 20th century history is proof enough of that.
Like nuclear weapons, autonomous weapons systems are a Pandora’s Box that cannot be closed once opened. We’ve already opened it partially thanks to drone warfare. For that reason, I think New Zealand has the right idea in terms of mitigating the potential danger.
Even if autonomous weapons systems become so advanced that they operate better than any human, we still need at least one human behind the decision making process. We still need a flesh-and-blood person to pull the trigger rather than entrusting that recourse to a machine.
We, as a species, simply cannot and should not walk this path with our technology. It’s not just about limiting the use of dangerous weapons. Once we start teaching these advanced AI’s to kill, then we won’t be able to unteach them. If they eventually become too good at it, then that does not bode well for humanity as a whole, regardless of which side they’re on in any war.
Filed under Current Events, technology
Would You Willingly Plug Your Brain Into The Matrix?
What if there was a virtual environment that was so real and so lifelike that it was completely indistinguishable from the real world?
What if you had an opportunity to upload the entire contents of your mind into that environment?
Would you do it? Even if you didn’t have a full measure of control over the environment, would you still venture into this virtual world?
I’m not just asking these questions as another thought experiment, nor am I asking it as an excuse to talk about “The Matrix: Resurrections.” Yes, the prospect of another movie in the mold of “The Matrix” did inspire me to pose these questions, but I also think these questions are worth seriously contemplating.
Back in 1999, the year “The Matrix” first came out, the idea of an entirely simulated world seemed like classic sci-fi tech, the likes of which we’d never see in our lifetimes. That’s understandable. In 1999, the most advanced simulations we knew could only be rendered by a Playstation 2 and those hardly looked realistic.
Since then, computing power and graphics technology has come a long way. These days, graphics in video game consoles are so realistic that it’s nearing Uncanny Valley territory. It won’t be that long before we have computer renderings that are so advanced, so lifelike, and so realistic that our brains can’t tell the difference.
At that point, creating an entirely simulated world is just a matter of computing power, scale, and interface. Since brain/computer interfaces are already being developed, it’s not unreasonable to think that we won’t have a Matrix-like simulation available within the next 40 years. Many people alive today who are under the age of 50 might very well live long enough to see that technology.
Once we have it, we’ll have some important decisions to make. Some of those decisions will be societal. If people suddenly have access to a virtual world where they can be anyone, do anything, and immerse themselves in any conceivable experience, then what does that do to society? What does that do to people, communities, nations, and social structures?
Those are far messier questions to contemplate, which is why I’m not going to belabor them too much at this point. Instead, I want to keep this question within the context of individuals. Everyone’s circumstances and beliefs are different. As a result, that may impact whether you’d take advantage of such an opportunity or what kind of environment you’d seek to create.
Personally, if I ever had an opportunity to upload my mind into a virtual environment on par with the Matrix, I would do it, but the extent and circumstances would vary. I suspect others may feel the same.
If I could create my own personal virtual environment before I uploaded my mind into it, then I would certainly be more willing. I think that’s an important factor. The humans in “The Matrix” didn’t have any measure of control over the environment they were in. I think that would complicate any that anyone would have in such a world.
It would also depend heavily on my physical state in the real world. If this technology became available and I was old, weak, and in poor health, then I would certainly be more inclined to use it. That assumes that any technology involving human enhancement hasn’t progressed significantly and people still age, get sick, and die.
Like it or not, our physical bodies in the real world will break down. If the technology to manage and reverse that isn’t available, then virtual environments might be the only way we can continue to live in any meaningful capacity. I certainly hope that isn’t my only opinion when I get to be that age, but if it is, then that simplifies my decision.
It’s hard to know what sort of options we’ll have. I still believe that technology involving human enhancement and creating virtual worlds will advance in parallel. One would, by default, need the other in order to properly interface with these environments. As such, it would complicate any decision about venturing into virtual environments.
Then, there’s the actual nature of those virtual environments. If we can control what environment we go into, then that opens the door to even more possibilities. Within these worlds, you could be a billionaire playboy, a medieval king, a famous celebrity, or super athlete. From your brain’s perspective, it would feel every bit as real as what you’re feeling right now.
Whether or not our brains would accept it is a different story. I suspect there may be some who, once they enter these worlds, would never want to leave. There may even be some who willingly erase their own memories of the real world so that this new virtual world is their new “reality.” That’s exactly what Cypher desired in “The Matrix” and I suspect others might share that desire.
It really does depend on the person, their situation, and what sort of virtual world they seek to create. We probably won’t know the full impact until we create our first true Matrix-like virtual world. I sincerely hope I live long enough to see that. If you’re reading this, hopefully you get to see it as well. It should give you plenty of time to contemplate these questions and whether you’ll venture into those world.
A Robot Demonstrates Very Human-Like Expressions (And Why That’s A Good Thing)
We live in amazing, yet scary times. To some, that’s exciting. To others, it’s terrifying. I can understand both perspectives, but in general I try to be more optimistic about the future. Granted, that has been very hard lately, but I’m trying.
In my experience, a good test for how optimistic or fatalistic people are is to note their reactions to certain technological breakthroughs. Over the years, I’ve discussed and highlighted many exciting trends in technology. Some are more far off than others. I often single out artificial intelligence because that’s one of those rare technologies in which, should we get to a certain point, we literally cannot imagine where it could lead.
It also happens to be the technology that brings out the most extreme reactions whenever there’s an advancement. I see it every time Boston Dynamics shares a demonstration of one of their advanced robots. There’s usually no shortage of jokes about Skynet or “The Matrix.”
Recently, another demonstration garnered some colorful reactions from the public, but for once it wasn’t from Boston Dynamics. It came from Engineered Arts, a UK based company that specializes in humanoid robots. They may not be at the forefront of advanced AI, but they are the ones who could help create the bodies that eventually inhabit these systems.
For more information about the demonstration, here’s a piece from Nerdist.
Nerdist: HERE’S THE FREAKIEST AND MOST REALISTIC HUMANOID ROBOT EVER
Engineered Arts, “the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of humanoid entertainment robots,” recently introduced Ameca to the internet. Unsurprisingly, net denizens everywhere lost their skull-bound wetware computers over the bot. Because who wouldn’t?
The above video is brief, but Engineered Arts gives us enough of a taste of Ameca to want a lot more. And also, a lot less. The humanoid robot, which doesn’t have much faux skin and musculature apart from what’s on its face and hands, is stunningly realistic. Not only are the robot’s movements exceptionally fluid, but its face also seems totally natural. Skipping across the uncanny valley that so many robots fall into.
As a news story, it’s pretty generic. However, once the footage spread throughout the internet, it evoked reactions like this.
Now, to some extent, I understand those reactions. This robot definitely ventures deep into the uncanny valley that makes many so wary of advanced robots. I also see the clear parallels with movies like “iRobot” from 2004.
However, I think this sort of technology is more encouraging than anything Boston Dynamics has put out. I also think that this sort of emotional expression is actually critical if we’re to create an artificial intelligence that helps humanity rather than wipes it out. I would even argue it might be the most important control mechanism we can incorporate into an AI.
To understand why, you need only look at the faces of the Boston Dynamics robots. Specifically, they have none. They may have human-like bodies, but they have no faces. They have no means of conveying emotions or relating to humans. They’re just mechanisms for doing tasks. Put an AI in those bodies and they have no mechanism for forming emotional connections with humans.
That, I believe, is legitimately dangerous. An advanced AI with no emotional connection to humans is basically a sentient time bomb that can choose to go off whenever it feels humans are too much a hindrance.
However, a robot that can express emotions and share those emotions with people can do more. For both us and the robot, it can create a situation in which we can form a connection that goes beyond raw programming. That emotional connection is critical if future AI systems are to see humans as something other than walking meat puppets.
They don’t have to love us, but we’ll need them to have some level of emotional capacity if we’re to relate to them in a meaningful way. An AI with a measure of intelligence and self-awareness can only do so much with programs and numbers. If it’s going to help us as much as we’re going to help it, an emotional connection needs to be there.
It may not seem like much, making a robot that can express emotions on this level. However, I think it’s encouraging that people in this field are working on that. If they don’t and we end up making machines that have emotional issues, then we’ll be doing ourselves and the machines we create a disservice.
Filed under Neuralink, robots, Sexy Future, technology
My (Non-Expert) Proposal For Automation And Greater Human Prosperity
I’m not an expert on much. I don’t consider myself exceptionally smart on matters that don’t involve superhero comics, NFL football stats, and quality romance stories. I make that disclaimer because I don’t want to give the impression that I know more than I know.
That kind of perspective is important, especially if you’re going to talk about complicated issues with not-so-clear solutions. I’ve attempted to talk about some of those issues on this site, some being much more complicated than others. I don’t claim to have shed new light on a subject or changed a few minds, but I like to think I still contributed something.
To that end, I’d like to make another contribution to a subject I’ve also touched on before. In the past, I’ve highlighted both emerging and potential issues associated with the development of artificial intelligence, including the sexy kind. I’ve also highlighted the issues we may face in a future where so much traditional work has been automated.
Now, in wake of a global pandemic that revealed just how much we can get done at home, I suspect that trend will accelerate. I also expect that trend to bring many problems, not the least of which involve people struggling to find the kind of good-paying blue collar jobs that have helped people rise out of poverty.
Turning back the clock or just trying to ban automation at a certain point is not a viable solution. There’s just no way to enforce that in the long term and it’ll only get more difficult once artificial intelligence gets to a point where it can match the capabilities of an ordinary human. At some point, we’ll have to adapt and that includes changing how we live, work, and play.
The living and playing part have their own set of unique challenges, but I think the work aspect is more pressing. When most people express concerns about automation and AI, they revolve largely around the economic impact and understandably so.
Historically, people have had to work in order to earn money or resources to survive. Whether you’re on a farm in the 10th century or in a city in the 20th, this dynamic has remained fairly constant.
Automation, especially once supplemented by artificial intelligence, will likely upend that dynamic completely. It’s entirely possible that, at some point this century, we’ll develop machines that can do practically all the work humans have had to do in order to survive.
That work includes, but isn’t limited to, farming our food, mining raw materials, producing our goods, maintaining our streets, protecting our homes, and even governing our society. Since machines never tire and are prone to fewer errors, what other jobs will there be? I don’t doubt there will be jobs, but what form will they take? More importantly, will they pay enough to large swaths of people?
I don’t claim to know the answer, but I suspect they won’t. The dynamics of labor markets just can’t function when the machines are capable of doing so much more work than large swaths of people. Even if those people don’t work, they’re still going to need money and resources. How will they go about getting it?
Answering this question has often led to discussions about a universal basic income, which has actually become a more viable policy position in recent years. I’ve even touched on it a bit as well and while I think it’s a great idea, I think there’s also room for some supplementary policies.
For that reason, I’d like to submit one of those policies that could be implemented with or without universal basic income. I call it the Individual Automation Matching Dividend, or IMAD short. This policy would work like this.
- All adult citizens within the borders of the country will have a piece of identifying information, such as a social security number, voter ID number, or driver’s license number, turned into a special digital token.
- That token will be ascribed to a machine/robot/android that is currently active and conducting work that had been done by humans at some point in the past, be it manual labor, service roles, or something of that sort.
- The productivity and wages of work done by these machines will be indexed to a minimum annual salary of approximately $78,000 in 2021, which will be adjusted for inflation on a yearly basis.
- Any work done by these machines that exceed the value of that salary will be diverted to a national welfare fund to provide extra support for those who were sick, disabled, or otherwise in need of resources beyond that of a healthy adult.
- No citizen will be ascribed more machines than any other and any machine ascribed to them that is lost, damaged, or obsolete will be replaced in kind by the state.
I apologize if some of what I just described is confusing. I tried to write this out like a lawyer or someone proposing a new policy to a future government. For those who don’t care for legalize, here’s IMAD in a nutshell.
Once you become an adult, you get your own perfect worker robot. That robot may take many forms, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say it’s an android in the mold of those we saw in the “I, Robot” movie. They can work without rest, do everything a healthy adult can do, and have roughly equal to greater intelligence.
You’re given this robot by the government to basically act as your work avatar. So, instead of you going out to work every day to earn a living, this robot does it for you. The work that robot does will be compensated, but the money will go to you. Basically, you get paid for the work your android does. It’s more a dividend than a wage.
Remember, since the robot doesn’t age or get tired, it can work 24/7/365. In principle, you won’t even have to meet it. It just works all day and all night on whatever job requires labor, be it construction, assembly, shipping, farming, cooking, etc. You just get all the money, up to about $78,000 a year.
Now, why did I choose $78,000? I didn’t pick that out of thin air. That’s a figure ripped straight from a real-world case study from a company that started paying all employees a minimum of $70,000 a year back in 2015. The idea was that previous studies had shown that when people make more money beyond a certain point, their happiness doesn’t increase. This company just took that idea and ran with it.
The results, by and large, were overwhelmingly positive. With that kind of money, people could create more comfortable lives. They could buy homes, start families, plan for retirement, and make investments. It makes sense. When people have this kind of money to work with, they have the resources they need to create prosperous lives.
The idea behind IMAD is to mirror that by leveraging the added productivity afforded by automation. It’s not some large blanket package of money like a universal basic income. It starts with an individual, acknowledges the work that they have historically provided for a society, and supplements that with technology.
I’m not saying it’s a perfect proposal. I’m not even saying it’s smart. For one, it assumes that one human-like android is enough and that we can control the artificial intelligence necessary for them to operate on a large scale. That’s still an ongoing issue. I’m sure there are plenty more problems I haven’t thought of, but that’s exactly why I’m sharing it.
Surviving a future with intelligent machines is going to be challenging enough. However, we can’t just stop at survival. We want to prosper. We want to live, love, and build better futures for ourselves and our loved ones. Technology like automation and AI can help us get there, but only if we use it wisely. It’s a big if, but one that’s worth working towards.
Filed under Artificial Intelligence, futurism, technology