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Thursday, April 5, 2018



From Cambridge Analytica to Google and Co., there is increasing evidence that people who fund, support or work in AI, lack even basic intelligence, or worse. The cake must surely go to the president of KAIST who responded to criticism as follows:

“As an academic institution, we value human rights and ethical standards to a very high degree,” he added. “I reaffirm once again that KAIST will not conduct any research activities counter to human dignity including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control.”

So, autonomous weapons that do have meaningful human control are OK? Since all AI is concocted by humans, KAIST is off the hook and can happily proceed in perfecting on how to control AI weaponry, like drones that fire missiles on wedding parties and afterwards on funeral parties, killing only certified (via face recognition), adult, male terrorists and enemy combatants that hide between them. 

Killing without being killed is the Holy Grail for AI if not for any moron who thinks and acts this way. Just imagine I could kill all the people who don’t vote for me with their likes on Facebook or wherever, by pressing a button that says ‘kill all the people who don’t vote for me’, setting off an autonomous army, pre-programmed by AI just to do that. But … the feeble critic tries to intervene … but what if ‘they’ have a perfectly pre-programmed AI button that says ‘kill anyone before they kill us’? Ha! I have a bigger button! 

With nuclear weapons we have at least MAD (mutually assured destruction) but with AI we have only the primitive notion that my AI is better than your AI – and not that nuclear and chemical weapons are outside the gambit of AI.

Intellectual commissars like Pinker and Harris (ably supported by Gates and Co.) tell us that the good guys are winning, that the future is peace on earth, that good, human intelligence is ultimately progressive, altruistic even, and that good AI (made in the good old USA) will lead the way. We just have to get rid of a few bad guys first, like Kim Jong-un, Putin, Xi Jinping, Assad, Mexican rapists, African dictators, warlords, jihadists, even the odd bad Christian fundamentalist who belongs to the Ku Klux Klan, not to forget anyone who doesn’t like me … the list is getting longer by the minute.

The army of good AI programmers – as opposed to the bad trolls and hackers on the other side – is on a modern crusade, determined, as KAIST’s president, Sung-Chul Shin, says: to uphold ‘human rights and ethical standards, and human dignity to a very high degree’. How high is ‘very high’? Are there degrees? Just as the feudal lords of old funded the crusades to uphold human dignity (as defined by the Holy Roman Empire), the modern billionaires à la Mercer and Co., fund Western AI crusaders to defeat Eastern oligarchs and nominal communists. 

As I have noted before: the danger is not that AI robots become cleverer than humans but that many more humans become as stupid as AI robots. 

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