Though I’m one of those sceptics who thinks no machine will ever be truly intelligent, I like your idea of an oath for AI developers. Too many people in Silicon Valley particularly, but other hi — tech centres too seem to work on the principle that if it’s new its cool and cool is good.
As an example, there has been much talk in the past few years og using genetically modified mosquitos to immunise populations against killer diseases such as malaria and cholera.
Yeah, great. They’re horrible diseases that can devastate communities.
But what about the downsides. I’m going to give an example that is not AI related to avoid upsetting the fanboys who believe AI represents progress and therefor can only benefit humankind.
Nature is cruel, we should all be aware of that by now, but despite the harshness of its solutions, nature for thousands of years did an efficient job of controlling populations. Then along came civil engineering, modern medicine and development aid. Those had the potential to reduce infant mortality and prolong adult life, and had they been introduced alongside family planning education and the implementation of modern farming methods could have improved the quality of life immensely.
Unfortunately however, the politically correct brigade poked their noses in. We would be wrong to introduce western standards in education and social management, third world peoples cultures had to be respected.
Before the famine of the 1980s (and the Band Aid and Live Aid efforts it prompted, the population of Ethiopia was around 35 million. It is now approximately 100 million. Similar leaps in population have occurred around the world, mostly in countries where the predominant religion is opposed to use of contraceptives. The answer to the population explosion and its attendant problems is of course mass sterilisation. But that is, in a way, as harsh and unfeeling as nature’s methods of population control.
One of those most regularly foreseen problems AI might create is mass unemployment as work done by humans is automated. Ironically one of the sacred cows of the left, the minimum wage, looks like being the leading incentive to employers to automate low grade jobs, but there is a big push to automate specialised jobs too.
If all this AI enabled automation comes about, what are the redundant people going to do with themselves? We can’t all become musicians, artists, writers and poets — those things require gifts not everyone possesses. We can all be citizen journalists of course, but the market place is already saturated I’d guess. Even becoming a gardener requires access to a plot of land and that is not available to all. And we can’t all go on reality TV shows and become professional ‘celebrities.’ Some might become political activists and forment civil unrest, many more would probably develop self destructive habits, drinking, drug abuse, gambling. Others could turn to petty crime.
The desirability or otherwise of a ‘post work’ society is somethingour governments need to think about very carefully. The Silicon Valley nerds should consider it too, but their track record on ethics and social conscience suggests ‘human concerns’ is not high on their list of priorities.