Thursday, August 30, 2007

244 The Movie "Stealth"

Message no. 244[Branch from no. 240] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 7:00am Subject: The Movie STEALTH

Wow. Hey Dawn, it is interesting you mention the movie Stealth. Did you know that I worked on music for that movie, or did it just come up? Here are the posts that describe my work on it with the great composer BT.

I have to say that I am not at all frightened of artificial intelligence as I see robotic and other non-carbon-based or "artificial" life forms as being part of a continuum of behavioral complex and intentional beings that tend to evolve in the right environments. In chapter 2 of our text we are asked to ponder the prime question : WHAT IS NATURE? To me Nature is merely a word describing "that which is", and so must encompass everything that exists. By this definition everything is natural.

The question isn't one of "natural vs. artificial" but "life enhancing vs. life detracting". Shakespeare wrote "There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so" and our conflation of "good" with "natural" and "bad" with "artificial" defies logic -- death is natural, but we deem it bad, shelter is artificial but we deem it good. Malaria is natural, malaria medicine is artificial, deserts are natural, many oases are artificial.

I suspect that so called artificial intelligences, like the airplane in our movie, Stealth, which have genetic algorithms (and so are capable of learning) will behave very much as we see children (human and non-human) behave. Human intelligence is special, but not remarkable given the laws of the universe, and as Darwin said, "The Difference between Man and the Other Animals is one of Degree and Not Kind." This will hold true of robotic intelligences too.

We are correct to worry about intelligences that are socialized (programmed) to do us harm, but this can be human as well as non-human. Just because something is made of steel or silicon doesn't make it a greater or lesser threat to us than flesh and blood. We are now talking about "Environmental Psychology" (so it is great that you brought up the movie Stealth!), in that every psychology and the behavior it engenders will be influenced by the environment in which it develops.

If -- no, WHEN we develop airplanes like the one in Stealth, we will have to be careful to educate (program) the young mind properly. as you say, the kinks will need serious ironing out. But I think we need to lose our fear of life forms simply because they are not "natural" (i.e. carbon based or evolved without human intervention). To fear "a-life" is to be prejudiced in my opinion (Have you seen I ROBOT with Will Smith or Millenium Man with Robin Williams yet?).

This is a great topic you have raised, as we definitely need to consider robots and other machine intelligences in our disucssions of Real vs. Virtual Life.

Next step is to really dig into this debate of WHAT IS NATURE?

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