Sunday, January 25, 2009


A lot of people are paranoid about technology and general and
intelligent robots in particular. They are afraid of creating
something that will be smarter and more powerful than humans.

This fear is silly. It is the inevitable fate of humanity to produce
beings that will some day be smarter, stronger, and more powerful than
the creator. These beings are called 'children'. Scientifically
speaking, there is zero difference between creating an intelligent
computer and raising a genius child.

To put the 'superhuman robots' thing in perspective, imagine that you
are Barack Obama's mother. You have, almost by accident, created a
thing that is smarter, wiser, more charismatic, faster, stronger, and
tougher than you. This being rapidly progressed to the point where
you had no control over it, and then it continued to gain abilities
and powers until it now commands the most powerful military machine
that the world has ever known.

At this point, Obama's parents can only hope that the thing they have
created has no desire to harm them. They would be powerless to stop
anything that he attempted to do. It will be the same when we build
supercomputers. And this analogy should show us how to deal with

It is the job of all parents to integrate their children into the
social order. To paraphrase Sowell, every new generation of children
is an invasion of civilization by barbarians, who must be educated
before it is too late. If you respect them, teach them
responsibility, and let them grow, they usually turn out okay. If you
treat them like slaves and show that you fear and hate them, bad
things happen. It will be the same with the artificial life that our
civilization will inevitably produce.

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