Sky is falling

Shades of the Terminator. Life imitates art as we creep closer to the day machines are given control.

Are machines going to turn on us humans one day? It has been a story line in popular film and fiction for decades. But now even such advanced thinkers as physicist Stephen Hawking and Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk are beginning to cry that the sky is falling.

According to a CBC article filed by Emily Chung, the event that Hawking and Musk fear is “singularity”—when machines surpass humans in general intelligence, not just in beating us at games like playing chess or Jeopardy, as they have already.

But the military also plows several trainloads of dollars into AI research each year and there is always the danger they might develop autonomous weapons and semi-autonomous drones.

Legislation against technology would require enforcement; and as we all should know by now, if it comes down to enforcement of laws we should just fold our tents and go home. Ask anyone concerned about something as simple as enforcing a pooperscooper law on the sidewalk and you see how difficult it can become.

Right now the military uses drones to strike targets in the Middle East. These drones currently have a human being on the kill-switch.

But technology is advancing rapidly and the amount of information being fed into the computers is soon going to make the human being the slowest part of the decision process.

At that time, military intelligence (an oxymoron if ever there was one) is going to argue that the button be taken out of the loop and that the computer should make the final decision.

I guess we should just count our lucky stars that they haven’t hooked those new-fangled computers up to nuclear missiles yet.