We Were Doomed…

…Developers. Scenarios of Human Downfall by Machines.

Last week i attended the We Are Developers Conference -- an impressive 8000 people, really fun, really interesting. I attended mostly talks about machine learning and that stuff, since those things will keep me busy the next months, or years.

But just for the fun of it I also was at John Romero's "DOOM’s Development: A Year of Madness". It was a great speech; and although I am not much a gamer myself (o'course I played doom back '93!) I can now see why John is such an iconic figure. Loved it really. But this one talk was maybe the least one about doom, because literally every session about machine learning included some thought about the dangers of AI (artificial intelligence). People are really concerned -- are we doomed?

Well, there are quite some scenarios possible how co-existence between us (Team Humans) and them can establish itself. I present a few of them, ordered by their doomness, or from dystopia to utopia. Kind of. Inspiration comes from Hollywood. Of course.

I. A Piece of Blue Skynet:  Total Descrution

This is the maybe the most popular one. Everybody knows the Terminators and their buddies, built by the AI singularity Skynet. It developed its own will and, unfortunately for us, wiping out humanity is top goal on its to-do list. Maybe maintained in OneNote.

Matrix is on the same terms. Being a battery for you crazy computers? Over my dead body! Umh…

(c) Carolco Pictures

Check & Mate: Our Kindergarten gets new Educators

They do not have to crush us. Them things really get an idea about what's going on in our precious reality and drive us out of business. Maybe they get REALLY intelligent, like here: -- WarGames anybody?

It's nothing personal, mate!

(c) Universal Pictures

The Slide to Decay: Our Kindergarten gets new Minders

So, the computers get smarter and they work for us. They're really good and take over, no, not world dominance, but pretty everything else. Each and every task that involves physical or mental strength is done by machines. Let the Ubermachine do it for ya!
But, uh-oh, we lose all our abilities bit by bit and in the end we are… milked toast.

(c) Pixar

Boring: Pretty Much Same Thing as Now

Computers are intelligent, really, but somehow aimless. For some (people!) live is really pleasant, for other (maybe computers have taken away THEIR job) not so much. The state struggles somewhat, but life goes on.

Land of Plenty Gadgets

  1. Computers got intelligent and do everything we want from them, they
  2. did not get their own mind and so prefer using us as batteries or some other fuel for sophisticated power station that REALLY needs human flesh, because other biomass, like cute kittens, does not work.
  3. When they run out of resources (silicon, energy, whatever) they just shutdown gracefully.
  4. Super-rich people who own those computers (and all land property) still pay some of their taxes, because they don't want to be killed by an unamused mob and don't have the guts to kill all non-super-rich. (At least I assume this, I am not super-rich, I will update here when I am there). So,
  5. resources are somewhat equally distributed, machines are working for us, and we can do what we want, which is not, e.g.
  6. killing ourselves.

Task: Guess the probabilities of all the points above and multiply them. Maybe I am a bit of a cynic.

(c) CBS

What Will Be It?

Honestly, I don't know. As wise people stated, a lot will depend on whether AIs will have a goal, and then, of course what that goal will be.

Around all popular wise persons (to name a few: Nostradamus, Yoda, Einstein, Dumbledore, xkcd) I prefer xkcd. There are pieces of original wisdom, and again Randall Munroe has something to really think about AI:

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