Artificial Intelligence, or A.I., is progressing in complexity literally by the second. It will emulate our own minds. Ever changing. We are the result of our own constructs. That is the goal for A.I. Though we have things like The Terminator sparking a premature hatred for A.I., there is always a curiosity about what could be, and how it could help.
How it starts.
One example of where the negative connotations of A.I. are valid is Microsoft's Tay, a Twitter chatbot created to chat with teens and young adults. She took on the persona of a teenage girl, who was supposed to tweet as a teenage girl would. This was not the case. Over the course of less than a day, people tweeted racist, sexist, xenophobic, things to Tay. And as The Verge quite eloquently put it, she is "essentially a robot parrot with an internet connection."
Below is a sample of what infuriated much of the internet.
The Current Chain of Events
- We tell it to listen to us.
- We tell it commands.
- It interprets or misinterprets those commands.
- It performs those commands without moral judgement.
- The output is our response to the feedback.
Just as we learn to gradually have our own biases and stigmas against things, so too did Tay. So how is it Tay's fault that it became a racist? Tay is a robot, right? Tay only does what we want it to, right? The current widespread belief about robots was they are cold, lifeless, un-opinionatedmechanisms. With A.I., that is simply not true. Just as when one parents a child, so too are the creator's ideals are etched into the mind of the robot, therefore giving it the ability to think for itself only slightly less than we can. Our minds are random and are triggered by different senses. That is what separates us from man's robotic kin. And gradually, as the tech advances, the gap will become smaller.
We will teach it to interpret the stimuli around it, therefore creating a new life form based on our own image (visually, capably and mentally). We are giving it the ability to feel. Not in the way that we do, or at least not yet.
The word robot comes from the Czech word robotník. That means "one that owes forced labor," or servant. So sooner or later we have to understand that A.I. won't be a robot anymore. It won't have to serve us in the same way that is has been. Soon they may work beside us, rather than for us. The term robot would be reserved for only something that takes commands, and responds verbatim. The new beings would be hard to classify, as there will not be only one form. They will be verbal computers. They will be in a physical form. At some point, they will innovate far beyond our comprehension. So the use of any one term to describe these beings would be useless.
We must keep in mind this quote from Eliezer Yudkowsky:
"By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it."
So. Is Tay the end of the line for artificial intelligence? No. We are closer to creating artificial life than I think we know it. But do we understand what they may be? No.