That Lying Sack of Chips

In my first book, and first of my three #1 Best Sellers, The Eighth Day, I take a deep dive into the issues surrounding A.I. When I wrote it, Artificial Intelligence was a far off concept, today not so much. In my book’s plot, one of the unforeseen milestones in achieving artificial intelligence is passed as a higher order device “reasoned” that a lie is more efficient than the truth. In fact, this is the core and resolution of my main plot. At the time of publication, many, not me, thought this was science fiction. Or science fantasy. I thought what I always thought, and as my T-Shirts proclaim… It’s Only Fiction ‘til it Happens!screen shot 2019-01-13 at 12.01.44 pm

Well here’s today’s proof of that concept from TechCrunch.com You can read it here: https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/31/this-clever-ai-hid-data-from-its-creators-to-cheat-at-its-appointed-task/

But to summarize, the article reluctantly points out, around a year ago that a computer has achieved the next higher order of demonstrated intellect, namely, it has learned to lie, cheat or omit; as a more efficient path to its goal. So let’s forget about the notion that computers (like angels) cannot tell a lie. Or the erroneous notion that only pure computational logic is the last vestige of truth. For all those who are shocked by this, or think it’s Jabberwocky, I say, “Huh? Where have you been for the last 20 years?”

20 years ago, few, if anyone, ever heard the terms, giga-byte, tera-byte or petaflop (okay, some may still be in the dark about a petaflop. it is a massive chunk of computational speed. if you are into numbers that’s one thousand trillion, or one quadrillion, operations per second, in any single device.)

The “bytes” measure how much memory or “things” a computer knows about, but it is in the petaflop where we approach the speed of the human intelligence process. It arises from being able to instantly make a connection between basic concepts and fold them into higher order ideas. Believe me, we could write about this for days, so take it on faith, Computational Speed = Artificial Intellect!

I say intellect because to lie, deceive, omit or cheat requires something most humans miss when having this discussion; a sense of self, pride, ego. Yes, I am speaking about a machine not wanting to be “seen” as in error. That means somewhere down in this machine’s core, it cares. Read that again: somewhere down in this machine’s core, it cares.*

Most humans only lie to protect some higher ideal. Even if that ideal is their own frail ego. That leads us to today and tomorrow when you may think you are talking (interacting) with a one-dimensional machine, performing relatively simple input/output functions. But in reality, the new reality, the device could be moderating its responses or protecting some aspect or part of the response. You, trusting in machines, might not be aware of this deception. This “self-preserving instinct” may be a by-product of the race to the ultimate A.I. An unintended consequence of machines that learn. A situation where “ego” is baked into its processor’s algorithm. Think of it as asking Siri what the stock price of Apple is when the next iPhone release performs badly and she fudges the answer.

Notice I said; SHE fudges the answer.

 

  • *In all fairness, the author of the article claims the machine innocently encoded information in a manner imperceptible to a human. You can accept that opinion and sleep tonight, or ask yourself, How did it know it was imperceptible?”

Tantalus or Daedalus?

artificial-intelligence-job-killer-or-your-next-boss1

In the last blog post, “We are at day Four of the Eighth Day,” I wrote of the threat that could be posed to the human race by the new race of Artificially Intelligent machines that we are building.  Just like in my book, The Eighth Day, the Artificial Intelligence entity, in a last ditch attempt to save its sentient life because we have figured out it wants to eradicate humankind, offered up a host of technological miracles to temporarily seduce us.

Imagine for a minute that you are one hundred years in the future.  As one of the few survivors of the global uprising of the machines, you are looking back to see how this whole enslavement and eradication of the human race happened. You find an old iMac. On it is the last Goggle page searched by some blogger, (me), as he was writing an article. This is what you would see in the search results for Artificial Intelligence.

  • Search Results: 14 found.
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Ordered by descending date.
  • Clicking on ^ opens the link in a new window.

Pages: 1    ALL

Race to embrace Artificial Intelligence… ^

January 04, 2015 22:12:36 GMT

Century-Long Study Will Examine Effects of Artificial Intelligence… ^

From the December 15, 2014 22:52:46 GMT

Stephen Hawking: ‘Artificial intelligence could spell end of human race’… ^

From the December 02, 2014 18:19:51 GMT

Artificial Intelligence Outperforms Average High School Senior… ^

From the November 04, 2014 12:49:24 GMT

IBM artificial intelligence to get broad access to TWITTER data… ^

From the October 29, 2014 20:57:48 GMT

Elon Musk: ‘With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon’… ^

From the October 24, 2014 19:16:52 GMT

ELON MUSK: Artificial Intelligence Could Wipe Out Humanity… ^

From the October 10, 2014 01:09:00 GMT

ELON MUSK: Artificial Intelligence Could Wipe Out Humanty… ^

From the October 09, 2014 15:58:02 GMT

IBM plans artificial intelligence push… ^

From the October 07, 2014 22:44:14 GMT

Hawking: Artificial intelligence could be ‘real danger’ in near future… ^

From the June 16, 2014 17:44:26 GMT

Computer becomes first to pass Turing Test in artificial intelligence milestone… Academics warn of dangerous future… ^

From the June 08, 2014 16:12:40 GMT

FACEBOOK Joins NYU in Artificial Intelligence Lab… ^

From the December 09, 2013 21:48:50 GMT

Disease database will use artificial intelligence to find new cancer treatments… ^

From the November 13, 2013 00:14:49 GMT

‘Artificial intelligence to transform web’… ^

From the December 29, 2010 14:39:00 GMT

If you actually took the time to read the above what you saw was the Tantalus propositions mixed in with the dire warnings.  This is always the way humans fall prey to something. Seeing only the benefit without weighing the potential risks. After all, who cares if a few smart guys cry wolf over A.I.? How can we possibly let their “chicken little rantings” stand in the way of Artificial Intelligence finding new cancer treatments!

Just like in my book, The Eighth Day, the Artificial Intelligence entity in a last ditch attempt to save its sentient life offered up a host of technological miracles. Quantum leap advancements that only it’s artificially intelligent born brain, unfettered, by human limitations, emotions and compassion could achieve.  Tantalizing gifts like curing cancer, unending food supplies, eternal life and interplanetary travel.

Moral: The devil always comes to you with candy!

 

We are at day four of the Eighth Day!

sabotA few headlines jumped out at me last week:

Bill Gates is worried about artificial Intelligence too.

Rise of the robots at AOL lead to job cuts.

Apple smashes records reporting highest profits in history.

Well, well, Bill Gates has joined in the warnings over AI.  Just like in my novel, “The Eighth Day.”

This eerie development parallels the fears of the fictitious group I created in that novel called, The Sabot Society.   At the time, I made them out to be a bunch of nuts, albeit dangerous nuts with bombs, that were warning about machines taking over, but today their previously fictional ranting of a “dig-topian” future enjoys highly esteemed company in the likes of Bill Gates, Stephen Hawkins and Elon Musk.

What are they seeing that you don’t when you look at your iPhone for a text message or video? Only the eventual enslavement of the human race by machines. In one scenario proffered by a professor at some lofty college, we are doomed. In her vision of the future, we inefficient humans face eventual eradication by artificially intelligent machines “who” will deem us as messy, unorganized, illogical wastes of energy consumption.
Before it gets to that though, I think it will come down to socio-economic “conversion.” This proposition will be proffered by a new class that rises out of the beneficiaries of automation; the “Technosapian Elite.” They will be those last few humans who will wrongly believe that the machines are our friends and only looking out for the betterment of mankind. They will offer a “Sacrifice of Abraham” style of choice. They will enforce a societal norm that will be positioned as a choice; you can have a computer or a child, but not both.  They will justify this ungodly option with facts, namely, that there will be no place in the work force for your offspring in a world of computers, they won’t be able to support themselves.

Orig.src_.Susanne.Posel_.Daily_.News-robots.replace.humans.work_.artificial.intelligence.2025_occupycorporatismA leading economist has calculated that today there are only enough jobs on Earth to support a global population of 3 billion. However, the United States Census Bureau estimates that the world population exceeded 7 billion on March 12, 2012. The rise of A.I. will inexorably lead to machines designing better machines. As these new super machines take over more and more human tasks the number of current jobs in the world could be cut by one third… in the next decade!

If you doubt that, remember why Steve Jobs told President Obama that an iPhone could never be made here in America. He said that if he needed a million more iPhones, he could just call China and they’d work day and night through the weekend and make them. He pointed out that you can’t do that in the U.S.

Please take dire note: Foxcon the main Chinese manufacturer of iPhones is falling apart. Its “workers” are committing suicide rather than work like slaves. There are 40,000 guards “protecting” 20,000 workers at one plant. Now Apple, the company that just posted the largest earnings in HISTORY, is being forced to consider robots to replace the “slaves” in China.

How long before bottom line profits due to affluent consumerism drive millions of the working class from gainful employment?

Here’s a chilling piece of fiction right out of my “Sabot Society’s” manifesto: Unless we start to limit the advancement of machines and the subsequent taking over of human endeavor by them, eventually they will perform so many tasks that only the rich will be able to survive. What of the rest of humanity? Those with no position in the workforce will be deemed non-essential.

My fear is that a new digital form of Fabian Socialism will ensue, driven by the new reality: with machines you don’t need that many people. It won’t be long until someone gets the idea that the “nonproductive class” should not be allowed to procreate. This sanitizing will be done for the betterment of the world and its limited economy and resources.  (If you doubt this, see Roosevelt, Teddy. Sanger, Margaret. Shaw, Bernard, from the last century) 

Before it comes to that (as it has many times in history, see the National Socialist Party; Germany, Mao Zedong; China, Joseph Stalin; Russia, for recent examples) We should draw clear lines of what we will and will not allow machines to do so that human relevance, at all levels of society, remains intact and sustainable.

Of course the above is just one possible progression of the diminution of mankind in the name of progress.

If you doubt these trends, I submit to you the large lobbies of older buildings in our biggest cities. Designed to handle the crush of hundreds of employees, from typing pools, accounting, secretarial and administrators. Today you see a trickle of workers at rush hour. Thousands of jobs have been eliminated. Jobs where people made salaries, paid taxes and fed the economy, themselves and their families. Word processing, spreadsheets, project management programs and other labor saving devices that don’t ask for raises, take time to eat or call in sick, have replaced all these workers. They also don’t spend money or pay taxes.

In late 19th century Holland, when machines threatened the jobs of workers they fought back by throwing their wooden shoes into the gear work of the machines to destroy them and preserve their jobs. The shoes were called sabots and the word “sabotage” was born. Also the shoes were called Clogs and thus “clog up the works” also became part of the lexicon.

Today we would all be hard pressed to know where to throw the shoe. At an ATM? At your Smartphone, iPad or PC? Your office server? The assembly line robots? More troubling is that not one of us would do that. We would never sacrifice our comfort, life style or convenience for the sake of humanity’s future. Remember, It’s only fiction `til it happens… and it’s starting to happen now!

 

To Err Is Human

“To Err is human, to really screw things up takes a computer.”
–General James Hardtack – USAF

Tom Avitabile | To Err is HumanIf you don’t recognize the above quote, or can’t Google it, don’t hit your computer on the side of the monitor, it’s from a character in one of my (many) almost-produced screenplays. But once again, the theme of this blog being, It’s Only Fiction ‘Til It Happens, is in full force with this tasty headline from the DenverPost.com, “Supercomputers could generate warnings for stock crashes.”

Feel better now? Now that supercomputers are on the watch? Well, not to pop your thought bubble but in my book, The Eighth Day, the entire Stock Market is locked up and frozen by a piece of freeware, distributed to all the online day traders.

The shareware application was called ‘Pocket Protector’; it protected the money in your pocket, your stocks, actually.  It employed algorithms originally used in terrain avoidance software for supersonic F-22 Raptor fighter jets. It read the market and countered any moves instantly by making minute or major buy or sell decisions faster than a blink of a human eye.

Its purported goal was to avoid having your portfolio crash by maintaining the value. Since everybody downloaded it and put it into play, all those little ‘trade-bots’ would eventually absorb any shock and flatten out any activity until a balance is achieved. At that point, the individual trader has a problem, because the Artificial Intelligence acts like a Rottweiler, whose jaws are locked on their wallet. As soon as they let go or try to trade anything, the investor would lose everything.

So nobody unplugged ‘Pocket Protector’ out of fear of losing all their assets as everybody else’s apps would gobble up their money in a nanosecond.

Now for the part that isn’t a plot in my book, but the Denver Post article: Enter Edison, a supercomputer that can crunch 2 quadrillion operations a second. That’s 2,000,000,000,000,000! The feds, or somebody, are planning to plug this super puppy into the existing stock trading system and it will act as an early warning system that somehow will allow authorities to shut down the system before the various stock trading computer programs, that now rule the roost, do any real damage.  What could possibly go wrong? See CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR: “Best Intentions” in The Eighth Day!