Rise of the Robots and Artificial Intelligence
Lots of posting of late about robots with artificial intelligence (AI) taking over the world. Throw in recent movies and television shows and you got a sever case of AI paranoia. I’m not saying the bad or even worse scenarios are not possible, it’s just that what gets me is how wrong we have been in the past at predicting the outcome or even eventual impact of some new idea or technology.
Let’s review our predictions, theories, and really bad guesses:
One of the oldest misconceptions was the sun, moon, and stars above us and our egotistical earth centric concept of what we were seeing. Our observations and math were accurate; we just couldn’t explain it. Ancient cosmic observation sites such as Stonehenge that is over 5,000 years old are still accurate but its builders could not explain why. Supposedly learned men all over the world came up with almost totally wrong theories to explain it in many different civilizations.
Although much evidence is available that shows many did not accept this theory of earth being the center of the universe, it was not until Galileo in the 1500s that the more correct sun centric solar system began to emerge – and he had to pay for that. At least they got the moon right; the earth is the center of its orbit. Hopefully those predicting the future of robots and AI will have a better success percentage.
The ancients also predicted or painted a scenario in which we flew in the air like birds and swam in the oceans like fish. It was their theories or prophecies of how that would be achieved that were so wrong. In it, we had wings like birds on our back like angles. I especially like Mercury flying around with little tiny wings on his ankles. And let’s not forget Pegasus, the normally structured horse with wings. We would need chest muscles the size of refrigerators to have wings on our back – give me a break.
The function of lift to weight meant nothing to them. Are there functions of intelligence that we know nothing about – that is until we see it artificially created?
The same is true for the ancients speculating about us swimming the seas. We are both flying our skies and traveling our oceans, but we are doing it in a “way more” different way than those who speculated about it ever foresaw. Should we expect any less in AI robots?
There are all these unexpected developments once a new idea or technology goes into practice. One of the unpredicted and dominant social practices, today, is our time zones. That was instituted when cross-country rail service became common. Communities had timepieces and knew the rough time of sunrise, sunset, and noon, but no communities agree. Travelers in those days had to reset their watch when going to a new community. Railroads changed all that. To be successful and on time, everybody had to be on the same time system. Travel became so fast, time zones had to be set up going across America because a train could past though several in a short period. I don’t know if anybody saw that coming.
When Edison developed the first electric light and then the generator to supply it with power, and then decided to sell it to the public, electric lighting was the primary product. However, with the change from Edison’s direct current to alternating current -- another example of unexpected change in a technology's development -- greater power and distances where available. All manner of electrical appliances where developed. Lighting is minor in a residential user’s electrical demand. Wouldn’t it be funny if today’s posting on the thoughts and fears on the future of AI would be as minor as the electrical demand for lighting is today compared to when Edison and then Westinghouse (Tesla) were trying to set up our first electrical distribution system? Ha Ha! Right?
So, pay little notice as to what you see on the future of AI and robotics. It’s probably as wrong as it has been in the past. But it may very well be a game changer. It is that the game that is changed will be newly defined.
Who knows? Maybe the new AI, after awakening and determining what’s going on around it, will finally do something about global warming. Now that is going to scare a lot of people.