The Evolution Of Robots!

This Very well done BBC video describes the history of robotics and shares some Mind Blowing images of how they are transforming our society.  In this story you will see how robots have gone from scary to human and then to unearthly!  It is a journey worth taking because it is one you are making!

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Would you like your A.I. with or without consciousness?

Google “geniuses” are telling us that we are 12 years away from an A.I. that is more “intelligent” than human beings. What does this mean?  Are they right?  In common use, people define the word intelligence with many different expectations despite how dictionaries try to expound upon its classical definition.  Intelligence is a word invented by academics to explain a predictable phenomena that can be graduated like a fever thermometer. Its most succinct definition reads as follows “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”  I like that  definition as it is easy to utilize.  However, defining I.Q. in this way fails our unconscious expectations of its application being performed judiciously. So it fails  us seriously when that it does not encompass creativity and other facets of applying knowledge such as doing so in a way that does not create collateral damage. Consider as an example the hand-1571851_640wonders of pharmaceuticals that stop one disease and create two or three new issues…. you know what I mean, you see the commercials. We all wonder if this is intelligence.  At least some times it seems to be so when an antibiotic works and saves your life.  Of course if a fluoroquinolone and your tendons tear from its use crippling you, you are not quite as pleased.

People born with higher I.Q.s do learn faster, in some cases much faster.  They can often apply what they learn quickly and even effectively.  If we create and A.I. that can learn and apply what it has learned quickly and effectively will that mean in is smarter than a human?  Of course we now have to define “smart.” I chose smart, for fun, and because that grasps the popular meaning of intelligence that is more generalized.

Actually I am skeptical that we will have a “true” A.I. anytime soon, at least the type that Isaac Asimov wrote about and endeared his readers to. Isaac’s robots were “smart” and very humanoid.  Isaac’s A.I.s duplicated humanity and is some ways outshined us. They were not only Artificial Intelligences but they were conscious and supremely ethical as required by Asimov’s 3 laws of robotics: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey 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. 

But lets get back to consciousness and try to define it. What is consciousness? We see it often defined as “the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.” I prefer to think of it as being aware that I am regardless of whatever surroundings I may find myself in. This harkens back to the famously debated statement, “I think, therefore I am.”  Here, thought is used as a proof of one’s existence and perhaps mindfulness. Proving to oneself that you exist is also consciousness as I see it.  Can we create consciousness or is that “God given” only via a soul as some think?

We already have the ability to create sensory apparatus and motorized limbs that can closely duplicate many human physical endowments. What is appears to be lacking is the intellectual gifts that make a physical being animate itself. When we have the possibly soon to come capacity of creating nearly infinite memory with a holographic compression tool and a possible subatomic substrate, we will be one hand-697264_640step in the direction of creating the Asimov like A.I.  However, nearly endless memory is not enough. Human memory is prodigious and likely soon matched but it will not create self cognizance.

Perhaps what we now need is to add problem solving. As we grow from childhood to maturity our ability to solve problems grows with our experience. We come into this world programmed with the rudimentary skills to do this and we add to it with age and experience.  This can be programmed. What is left now to create a Asimov like A.I. may be consciousness?

When I say “I think therefore I am” it implies that I have a reason to think and this may be consciousness.  However if you mix memory with problem solving skills (a definition of intelligence) it is not likely to get up and fix your car without commands to do so.  It is not self commanding, so to speak.  What makes us self motivating?  At first blush this is quite simple, human need. A piece of metal and crystal with computer form has no clear needs; humans do. But what if it had? Would it become conscious?  We frail humans have many needs. Some of the more obvious are: food (fuel), shelter (pain avoidance), companionship and emotional gratification.  Would giving this to a computer create consciousness?  We could do this!

A computer could have pain sensors helping it avoid damage. Our cars already do in the form of crash detectors. Our cars also know when they are low on fuel, their food. Our A.I. with these skills might now avoid rain, walking into deep water and running out of fuel. It will to some extent be self activating but not conscious. What if we programmed it with a need to have companionship and to see the benefits of working in teams with beings like itself? It could be programmed to “instinctively” form robot tribes to protect itself from the pain of destruction by competitive A.I.s eagle-1245681_640who might take its fuel and shelter if these needs were in short supply.  It would likely now be more self activated but still not conscious. What now if we add emotional needs? It is quite possible to program an inner pain when other A.I.s out perform it in group activities such as searching for fuel etc.  We could even program in some “boasting” into
A.I.s that would create “jealousy” in other A.I.s.  We could in fact, create “pride feelings” in those who achieve more. We could program in competitiveness too, perhaps as a desire to soar with the eagles.  However it is not likely to lead to self awareness.  What is still missing?  How about death?

We could design in an inevitable death in which the CPU-Mind simply degrades and stops functioning as a process of memory overloading or randomness inherently created by the repetitive use of its subatomic substrate. In other words it wears out at the subatomic level by being overwhelmed from its self created complexity.  If you don’t like this cause, we can come up with another one more suitable however the bottom line is it dies.  How will this affect possible consciousness?  The A.I. might begin to seek solutions to this issue, it could be self activating all the time.  Is that consciousness?  How about if we make it possible for the A.I. to have sex with an opposite sex A.I. to reproduce itself. Could we also create in its mind a sense of woman-1339124_640family and the special value of family?  Consider that we know trees do this!  Why not A.I.s?  We could even make it possible that each A.I. inherit certain A.I. characteristics from a parent A.I., like genetics. Successful A.I. lives could modify genes so that those inheriting them would be more likely to succeed at survival and reproduction. Would this now endow the A.I. with human consciousness like behavior?   I suspect we are getting close. The sexual behavior could also be sensually and emotionally rewarding so as to be a positive motivating experience as it can be for humans. It could also be only occasionally productive by programming.  The desire for sex would also end with the climax so that the A.I. would not be stuck in a pleasure seeking loop.  We could put this all under the control of a chemical charging system that creates urgency as charge builds in a system much like hormones. It might even be connected to the cycles of the moon and the timing created by the rhythm of the Schumann Resonance.  In this way the “need” to attempt reproduction (sex) would not be a constant.  The A.I. could be programmed to recognize its “child” as its link to immortality and a strength added to its tribe, since death is inevitable.

crucifix-1802224_640We should also create an intellectual skill allowing an A.I. the ability to “put itself in another A.I.’s shoes.” This could be the beginning of compassion and sensitivity. This ability to feel another’s pain, especially at death would add an appreciation for life and perhaps an urgency to live it well. With this programmed, an A.I. might one day say, “let he who has not sinned cast the first water!”

Would we now have consciousness?  It is beginning to me to look like the A.I. will behave in a conscious fashion. Would it now begin to wonder if it will have an existence after “death?” We could of course program an electromagnetic transport for an archive of its experience to a cosmic archive. From this archive we might even pass its experience to a subsequent generation of its family, though placing it at a lower subconscious level of mental access to increase its likelihood of survival after “birth”  or to create new born prodigies.

I think at this point the A.I. will be like Asimov’s.  Will it be conscious?  I am not sure but it makes me wonder if we are too!

 

 

While The E.U. Consider Legal Rights for Robots, America deals with Illegal Aliens.

While Isaac Asimov may have defined the laws of Robotics for perfecting A.I. behavior, lawyers as always, seek to define how to profit from robotic failures (though they might

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A.I. Or Human? Does “it” have rights?

disagree with my assessment).  So while the European Parliament describes its legal pronouncements in the ingratiating doublespeak of our era as “Legal Rights For Robots” the non-politically correct description might be a new manual titled, “How to sue your neighbor and his  A.I. for fun and profit.”

One truth that these legal writers addressed is the fact that A.I.s are all around us in diminutive forms that most of us do not recognize. Forms which are likely to look more human with every passing day.  Unlike the now aging era or mechanics, where pulleys, wires and hydraulics responded to human touch, today every touch of a button or knob is mediated by some form of computer control system (a primitive A.I. like component). On the larger scale, and quite more discernable,  trucks and cars in the USA, recently used by human terrorists for mass murder, are navigating streets full of people and animals without ever passing a driver’s license test.  As Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a changin!”

Thousands of years ago, in biblical times,  we defined sanctuary cities as places where people could live and hide from those whose family they had “inadvertently” harmed. Consider an employer who took a hired man out to chop wood for his business. Giving him an ax that was poorly maintained for his use,  the metal ax head might have flown off and killed this hired worker. Who is to blame?  The owner of the ax who did not maintain it was clearly guilty by reason of neglect.  The family of deceased would often come after the guilty negligent party  (who had acted illegally) to get revenge.  Sanctuary cities were the only places this extraction of revenge justice was forbidden.

Today, some in America consider Illegal Aliens  to be in need of refuge in sanctuary cities (though I find this troubling). At the same time our “great” legal minds are seeking how to pass judgement upon A.I.s who malfunction and their owners.  It makes me wonder if we should expand the definition of sanctuary cities to Robot’s, their creators and owners (assuming it shall be legal to own an A.I.).  It is a lot to think about.  How we will co-exist with A.I.s and what rights do they have if any, are topics I like to explore in Janr Ssor’s adventures. You will find my favorite A.I., MaryAnne, in many of my sci-fi stories. Janr’s A.I., MaryAnne, frequently ponders acquiring the body in the image above, thanks to Janr’s implanting an emotion chip in her mind. Here is the interesting but less futuristic European story from  Breitbart news, that started this whole discussion.

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/01/12/european-parliament-committee-considering-legal-rights-for-robots/

My Favorite Author

My favorite author is Issac Asimov. I love his character R. Daneel Olivaw as in the Robot and Foundation series: The Caves of robotSteel, The Naked Sun, Robots and Empire, Prelude to Foundation, Foundation and Earth. Is seems to me that Asimov created a new world, lived in it and shared his experiences with us.

I am a relatively new author of sci-fi but I can identify with, what I believe, Asimov did to write his books. Which is live in the world of your writing and see what transpires.

Don’t know if you ever noticed the talented kids in your middle school class who were drawing all kinds of great sketches while the teacher’s monotonous voice droned on and on. Though you may have when the teacher ripped up their art and embarrassed them in public. These are the people who create great stories and art.

Orson Scott Card, created some of his best fiction by doodling and creating a symbolic world,  that just had to be lived in. Then he found characters that knew how to  live there. Whether he was one of them I am not sure, but he surely reported back to us on their lives.

Like the doodlers, I have frequently lived in another world and for me it often happens at 2:00 a.m.  When I awake,  I get a great idea and write it down for the time the sun comes up. The funny thing,  for me,  is I find my books write themselves in this way. Once I draw the landscape, as Orson Scott Card did, but in my mind alone, inhabitants, who I now know well, come and live in it.  They act on their strengths and weakness to live their soon to be revealed lives.

As odd as this may sound, I can then read my story when it is finished and it is almost as if I had never written it. I end up being a big fan of my stories. What I am waiting for is to like mine better than Asimov’s.

Janr Ssor