I had a dream once that I was held prisoner in a car racing down the highway at extremely high speeds and there was no one behind the wheel. Ok, it was a nightmare. Good morning world, it may be true.
Put on your thinking cap for a moment and try to imagine how you would feel in this scenario: you are driving down the highway at 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour. You casually glance to the truck on your right (or left) and realize there is no one behind the wheel. To those of you old enough to remember, this would feel like a Twilight Zone episode. It is not.
Some intrepid souls have decided that it would be cool for an 80,000-pound 18-wheel truck to barrel down the highway, or through your town, with nobody but electronics guiding its path. Not cool!
What started this mind meandering? I recently watched a news article about the future of long-haul trucking. There is a group of people that believe it would be beneficial to have those very large, very powerful trucks controlled by a microchip. A chip. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know my feelings on the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Not a fan. Let’s face it, we’re still trying to figure out our own intelligence, what gives us the hubris to think that we could mechanically create an artificial one? Does anyone remember Frankenstein?
We as human beings are fallible. Wonderful but fallible. There is an idiot component to our psychological makeup that some people seem to embrace far too much. But we forgive their stupidity. We don’t try to eradicate this stupid gene, perhaps because we all have a small part of it within us. Let’s be honest, in our lives we’ve all done a few stupid things. Of course, I’m not going to admit to it and in my day there were no camera phones to document it. Thank goodness!
The concept of AI is appealing. Think Star Trek. As a tool, a resource, yes. Benevolent and under our control. But running the whole show? It is a catch 22: People are corruptible and fallible; computers are hackable and emotionless. Neither is a perfect solution. A combination? Think Borg. Again, not a solution. Here is a wild thought: Let’s work on improving us, our minds, our skills, our cooperation. Getting our products to market a little earlier is not worth the risk of becoming extinct. Or worse, redundant.