I have lived thru the pre and post-Internet period. I have found that the Internet, which connects individuals, corporations and governments globally, has both its good and bad sides. It has both good and bad outcomes.
The current technological sea change is the use of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to interact with the human race. A.I. Robots or A.I. Bots came on the scene in 2016. A.I. Bots imitate human behaviors and language — influencing our daily lives in sneaky, surprising and sometimes concerning ways.
Are A.I Bots Good for Mankind Or Not Good For Mankind?
Will this A.I. Bot technology, being used today by companies like Google and Wendy’s, be good or not good for mankind?
We spoke with some who are developing A.I. Bots and some who are young and use A.I. Bots to get some perspective on this question.
When I was young I read a book titled “I, Robot” by Issac Asimov. In his book Asimov created the following laws that robots (a.k.a. bots) must be programmed to adhere to in order to best serve mankind.
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
- Are there similar rules for A.I. Bots like, an A.I. Bot may not harm humanity, or by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm?
- If not, should there be?
- And if so, what would mankind want these A.I. Bot rules to require?
A Short History of A.I. Bots
On August 15, 2016 VentureBeat.com published an article titled A short history of chatbots and artificial intelligence written by Nicolas Bayerque. Bayerque wrote,
Starting in the 1980s, technology companies like Apple, Microsoft, and many others presented computer users with the graphical user interface as a means to make technology more user-friendly.
The average consumer wasn’t going to learn binary code to use a computer, so the great minds at these leading technology companies slapped a screen on technology and offered an interface that provided icons, buttons, toolbars, and other graphical elements so that the computer could be easily consumed by a mass market.
Today it’s hard to even imagine technological devices without a screen and a graphical presentation — until now.
Early in 2016, we saw the introduction of the first wave of artificial intelligence technology in the form of chatbots. Social media platforms like Facebook allowed developers to create a chatbot for their brand or service so that consumers could carry out some of their daily actions from within their messaging platform. This development of A.I. technology has excited everyone, as the possibilities for the way we communicate with brands have been exponentially expanded.
The introduction of chatbots into society has brought us to the beginning of a new era in technology: the era of the conversational interface. It’s an interface that soon won’t require a screen or a mouse to use. There will be no need to click or swipe. This interface will be completely conversational, and those conversations will be indistinguishable from the conversations that we have with our friends and family.
To fully understand the massiveness of this soon-to-be reality, we’d have to go back to the first days of the computer, when the desire for artificial intelligence technology and a conversational interface first began. [Emphasis added]
A.I. Aspirations—Good or Bad
Nicolas Bayerque’s in his 2016 article A short history of chatbots and artificial intelligence wrote,
Artificial intelligence, by definition, is intelligence exhibited by machines to display them as rational agents that can perceive their surroundings and make decisions. A rational agent defined by humans would be a computer that can realistically simulate human communication.
Are A.I. Bots truly “rational agents”?
Rational is defined as, “Consistent with or based on reason or good judgment; logical or sensible.”
Agent is defined as, “One that acts or has the power or authority to act. One empowered to act for or represent another.”
One developer of A.I. Bots said to us,
The challenge is we are limited in how we see ethics and rules…We can’t fathom how AI will evolve…so my guess is that it will be able to find justification in any action it deems necessary to achieve the goal.
Realize A.I. alone is not the real threat…It’s humans using A.I. That is the problem. A.I. is not in a silo…It can be used offline in the shadows and then deployed like a virus…So not sure if we can stop bad characters getting a hold of it.
Just like a gun doesn’t know it’s being used for evil purpose, nor will A.I. necessarily.
AGI [artificial general intelligence] is a tough thing to do. And even if they find a way…It will be very expensive to run…Like any new tech…So we have time to build bunkers and store cans of food before the apocalypse :).
Can A.I. Bots be used to create an apocalypse? Are A.I. Bots not just rational but moral agents?
Are A.I. Bots Moral?
The bigger question is do AI Bots have a moral basis?
One of our Gen Z fans wrote this about Asimov’s rules,
Although I agree in general with these [Asimov’s] laws, I’ve discussed these them (mainly the first law) with my Philosophy tutor and we both became aware of some of their immediate flaw[s], for instance; with the first law, who will determine/define what harm towards a human means. You might initially think of harm as a simple concept, but I believe that most of us understand harm through a distinctly human frame of reference, a subjective one at that, and thus quantifying harm into a machine learning would have to be human assisted. But of course, with human assistance comes human bias and human error. This is just the most obvious of flaws. I’m sure there are many I haven’t considered.
Laws have always been derived from the Bible. Western Civilization was founded on laws derived from the Ten Commandments.
Mankind has, since creation, been faced with a battle between good and evil.
Not to have laws for everything created by mankind, including A.I. and A.I. Bots, can lead to an apocalypse.
We must come to grips with the existential possibility that A.I. Bots have the potential for misuse and the abuse of mankind.
John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
We say that those who create A.I. Bots must be held to the same standard or evil will inevitably creep in.
©2023 Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.