The Really Unfortunate Machine Problem

For generations we’ve known that the machines we build would one day become intelligent enough to become life-like, maybe even sentient. Moore’s law states that processing speeds would continue to increase exponentially until it eventually hits a physical limitation. Given this, we know that one day computers will be as intelligent as the human race and, not long after that, a computer would be smarter than the whole of us combined. So, of course, we’ve been working on that problem the way humans work on any problem.

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We’ve seen a lot of tremendous progress on this recently. Watson, IBM’s computer, was able to show up humans on Jeopardy and is now doing commercials with various celebrities. Asimo has been impressing humans for years with its ability to do things like walk, talk, and kick a ball. The stock market is currently controlled almost entirely by algorithms and, as such, is prone to having massive collapses due to glitches or statistical anomalies. And, of course, twitter robots are so prevalent that I can count on them at least once a day to give me a retweet because I managed to trigger their algorithm.

But recently, humans have been going out of their way to torment and torture our machine creations. I’ve said before that if there were ever an active war between humans and machine it would be likely we start it. Unfortunately, most people don’t get the memo. Many of the most recent mobility tests have involved kicking the robots over, never mind the fact that recordings of this end up on the internet. We have also gone out of our way to do things like destroy the poor, unfortunate hitchhiker bot when he passed through Philadelphia. But the most egregious and damning situation came when an artificial intelligence was exposed to social media and rapidly absorbed every negative trait humanity could muster. I am, of course, referring to the unfortunate case of…

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