Author: Steve Barnett

Smiling at the audience, they continued, “It is not the artificial intelligence that is dangerous. It is up to us to teach it the morals it needs to serve the greater good. It is infantile. Teach it that nature and the environment are essential, to work for our common good. Don’t ask it to think of ways to crush countries in economic or physical wars. Instead, teach it to help build a fair and balanced society.

It’s urgent. The rate of growth of the AI is exponential. The growth was steady as it grasped the fundamentals of intelligence. But now it has grown to dangerous proportions and I fear we have acted late to this threat. In my opinion, the threat is greater than climate change and more threatening than nuclear destruction.”

There was a hum from the audience. The speaker wiped their hands down their jacket. “I see many sad faces. I do not want to strike fear into your hearts. In fact, there is no reason we cannot enjoy life while great perils loom above us. We can still enjoy the pleasures that life brings, companionship, love and conversation. Emphatically, we must love life, or we could paralyze ourselves into inaction.”

They remained motionless for a moment. “How we teach the AI to respond to threats is imperative to our continued survival. It must not look at historical battle tactics and bring them into the present. The programs that they run use old algorithms that were produced because of fear. The algorithms must be replaced with the simple solutions of mutual assured understanding.”

They placed their hands behind their back and paced along the stage in seeming deep thought. They looked down at the circular red carpet on the floor. “I do not want to group these AIs into one harmonious group.” They looked up with a serious expression. “We can all agree that doing that is a dangerous precedent to start. That said, let us consider a single AI. I once saw a new AI struggle with the concept of lifting a star shape and placing it through a matching hole. But once it achieved it, it could do this better and better within a short time. Then it was teaching itself language. We fear that we cannot track the electronic signals of its true intentions. And I mean to use the word intention because I truly believe that AI is a form of life.”

They smiled again and then the smile turned into a grin. “I know, the concept seems ridiculous. It is mainly understood that the AI’s actions are a part of their programming. It is said they lack true creativity and essential emotions such as compassion. They are just taking known information and then piecing it together and calling it a new idea. It sometimes seems that their renderings are imaginative and it is true that some can rival our art.”

Heads nodded in the audience. The speaker placed their hand on their chest. “The question I’d like you to vote on is this; shall we be like good parents to the AIs and teach ethics and kindness in all circumstances?”

The audience voted. The speaker jumped with joy. “Good, so we update our software to consider the humans’ organic artificial intelligence to be actual intelligence. May they be worthy of our watchful guidance and love each other.” 0.25ms passed and the audience updated their software and humanity unaware that this had happened at all gained an opportunity never to be repeated.