And Who Is Greater?
Years ago, I was a visiting professor at DeVry, where I taught humanities. One of the senior-level courses I taught dealt with thinking outside the box. While I especially enjoyed teaching the class, it took much work for some students. Some of the class needed help opening their technological mindsets regarding AI. That idea of AI was for them beyond the pale.
The textbook mentioned Hans Moravec, who taught at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He was born in Austria in 1948. When Moravec was ten, he created a robot from things around his home. His family left Austria and moved to Canada, only to finally resettle again in the States. While in Canada, Moravec won numerous awards for his creativity in high school.
Moravec got his doctorate at Standford University in 1980. He developed a robot that could move around an obstacle course.
Moravec also authored Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence, 1988, and Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, 1998. Both books discussed the evolution of robots or AIs.
My students found Moravec and other AI scholars fascinating. However, AI thinking was hotly debated several decades ago, especially at a higher level than humans. It was a technological Pandora’s Box for college students. What they couldn’t grasp was the notion that someday an AI could think without the assistance of a human and do so at a much higher intellectual level. What was hotly debated years ago isn’t debated today. It is feared.
Those techie ideas were new and foreign to many college students’ mindsets. However, over time that notion is now taken for granted. However, there is still concern about what will happen if some AI decides to seize control of some university’s computers or the computers of a nation. That brings to the fore what happens when an AI goes rogue. Movies like Matrix, Terminator, HAL, Starwars, Westworld, Blade Runner, and Finch address various problems with AIs. The central issue is the battle between the creator and the creation as they both attempt to play God.
That raises the question of whether the creators or the created win. Either way, the way we treat our underlings is a reflection of who we are. The Evil Queen in Snow White raises the identical question when she asks, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
Ex Machina was released in 2015. It was a movie about humans creating AIs. The question of who is greater is answered by the creator, which is haunting.
If you wish to grasp AI better, this video is a good source in which to begin.