Posted by: thescoundrel | February 29, 2008

Homo Sapien Evolution – You are Terminated

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I am a big fan of Science Fiction. Two of my favorite entertainment sources are the Terminator Movie series and the Sci-Fi channels production of Battlestar Galactica, which is entering its final season. While similar to the Twilight Zone in their roundabout and often-subconscious approach to everyday social issues, they both have an in-your-face pessimistic storyline about a subject that is quickly becoming more science-fact than science-fiction, super-intelligent autonomous thinking machines and how they will interact with human society. Both programs ask the question: are we seeding the planet for our species destruction? On a subject that I have discussed before: in a Popular Science article a UK artificial intelligence expert – Noel Sharkey claims that autonomous thinking robotics are a subject that we should be taking seriously and adopting a code of ethics even more complex than Isaac Asimov’s fictional proposal of the Three Laws of Robotics. The problem for Sharkey is that Asimov’s Three Laws will not cover where the artificial intelligence revolution is headed, military applications. Indeed, for in Asimov’s naive world robots would be programmed with a command that does not allow them to kill humans. In the real world robots are machines and thus will be used to kill and destroy whatever they are programmed to exterminate, including humans. Military robotic forces are already full swing and the article suggests that we are already looking into the most natural evolution, robots that make the final decision about who lives and dies on the battlefield. If you consider that some science gurus are predicting that computer intelligence could surpass human intelligence capacity by as soon as 2030, it would give a person reason to wonder, similar to many Science Fiction storylines, how long before the human race is the subspecies on the planet, replaced by super-intelligent, self-replicating and completely autonomous robotic machines? And as our creations, built by our logic and ethics, how long before they decide we are extraneous to the world we live on and we become the next Earth species to be put on the endangered list for survival?


  1. What a shocker! I would have thought that robot intelligence would have overtaken human intelligence decades ago!

  2. 🙂 you are right, in some ways it already has. But supposedly by 2030 they will not need us to tell them what to do or whom to do it to.

  3. What a bunch of malarky! So-call artificial intelligence “experts” have been make predictions since right after the computer was invented about how soon computers would surpass humans in intelligence, understand spoken speech, etc. The dates by which most of those predictions were supposed to come true have already passed with computers still unable to understand even written English, much less spoken speech. That doesn’t discourage the “experts” though. As the dates for their old predictions pass without computers showing any intelligence they just keep making new predictions.

    We are probably sowing the seeds of our destruction but it is through destruction of our environment and other living creatures, not because we have created smart machines. If we could create intelligent machines and turn over decision making to them it would probably be a good thing. We keep making such bad decisions that turning the decisions over to something employing logic would probably be an improvement. Unfortunately, we don’t have the slightest idea how to make intelligent machines so that is not going to happen.

  4. Dave you are looking past the trees trying to find the forest. The articles clearly stated that the growth in artificial intelligence the last few years has been exponential. The past is irrelevant. The last fifteen years has seen huge increases in what machines can do. In the past the growth was not a clearly sought as it is now. The military sees the advantage in autonomous thinking machines and they will be developed, if not by the US then by some other country. Software has come a long way and word processing programs have already made computers capable of using language. But once a machine has crossed the threshold of being autonomous it will eventually have no need of human language unless it wants to communicate with humans.

  5. I don’t care what the article says. Have you seen or heard a computer having a conversation with a human being? If they can’t do that then what hope is there that we can turn decision making over to them? Don’t believe anything the artificial intelligence “experts” say. They would all be out of work if people stopped believing in the “promise” of articifical intelligence.

  6. Dave I have am not ignoring your post, but every time I try and write a reply it gets longer than the original post. Though I agree in part to what you say I also disagree. No big surprise there, my momma always said I would argue with a brick wall just to see if I could get an answer back. I will try and explain my thinking at a later date, most likely on a new post.

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