Lost Connections

The morning air was crisp and cold and the wind whistled through the leafless trees.

She shuddered. Not from the weather, from the stark reality that she was outside and still alone.

The smell was what surprised her most. A rich earthy smell in the middle of a town. Nature had taken over and the sterile and faintly industrial smell she remembered had been replaced with the fragrance of wild flowers and weeds.

It’d happened weeks ago and sitting on her own inside her house Hazel had imagined a bustling street of people outside, becoming as desperate for company as she was. Eventually, she’d taken the plunge and for the first time in a long while had stepped through her front door.

The street was deserted.

Where were all the people? Continue reading

Are selfish AIs a good thing?

Could it be true that Google Deep Mind has discovered that AIs are more likely to choose a course of action that tests their ability than one that might lead to the outcome they’ve been programmed to achieve?

This article on Outerplaces suggests just that, based on their understanding of this Deep Mind study.

Should this worry us?

Well, maybe.

Or, maybe not.

Of course it’s unnerving and possibly dangerous for an artificial intelligence to take the road of least boredom rather than the road to achieve its goals.

But, stop for a moment.

Let’s take this a step further and assume it’s true that at times of scarcity humans struggle to know which co-operation is positive and which is naively foolish and so they tend towards domination. Then imagine a bunch of AIs that prefer working out when it’s better to co-operate and compromise. Now, presuming we put AIs in charge, we have the possibility that the deep down driving force of those that run the world is orientated towards mutual benefit.

Wouldn’t that be a good thing?


photo credit: mikecogh Sculpture: ‘The Foundation’ via photopin (license)

Dormant Status

‘Alexa. Who is the most popular person in the world?’ asked Nicole, even though she knew how her resident bot would respond because she was and had been for the past few years.

As she rubbed her daily dose of face cream into her skin she cringed at how old and wrinkled she’d become. Thank goodness she didn’t have to show her face to her public any more, one of the great things about being a social media star.

The blue ring around the top of the bot lit up. ‘Gamila.’

Slowly, Nicole screwed the lid on to the pot of cream and placed it on the shelf. This was a moment she had prepared for many times over the years, the moment when someone else became more popular than her.

‘Alexa. Show me Gamila.’ Continue reading