Thursday, 20 April 2017

Powerful AIs

What might Artificial Intelligences be able to do?

(i) An Asimov computer in hyperspace reverses entropy. See here.

(ii) In Poul Anderson's Genesis, a planetary inorganic intelligence can "emulate" historical periods, alternative histories and fantasy realms. An "emulation" is a simulation containing conscious programs erroneously believing that they are human beings with material bodies inhabiting the simulated/emulated environment.

(iii) In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, although the AIs do not have time travel, they can in a very real sense invite the past and future to a festival: AI constructs of historical figures and of inhabitants of projected future histories. Thus, the latter are conscious fictional characters - who might even believe that they are real time travellers?

The mind most definitely boggles.

4 comments:

David Birr said...

"Take the red pill...."

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm VERY glad you found John Wright's THE GOLDEN AGE so interesting and worthy of comment. I was a bit hesitant recommending the book to you.

Sean

David Birr said...

Paul:
The notion of "conscious programs erroneously believing that they are human beings with material bodies inhabiting the simulated/emulated environment" reminded me of what happened in at least one of the *Star Trek: The Next Generation* episodes set in the ship's holodeck.

Captain Picard was enjoying a holodeck experience in which he played the role of a detective from a 1930s novel, when outside interference caused those characters who were produced by the holodeck to develop a limited degree of artificial intelligence. They became AWARE of the fact that they were characters in a computer program, playing out a story.

There's a scene at the end with one of them, speaking to Picard, who mentions that he has a wife and child, and wonders what happens not just to him but to them when the program is shut down. It raised the question: if the programmed character has become self-aware, how is shutting him down different from KILLING him?

Picard was clearly disturbed by that thought.

Paul Shackley said...

DAvid,
A moral question that Asimov ignores in his Robot stories.
Paul.