It is the year 2018, and every new year we have new technology, new mechanical and programming wonders. How long until humans create the first true, A.I., artificial intelligence? How long until… The Machine Uprising. Since the advent of computer technology, science-fiction writers and filmmakers have been fascinated with potential of a thinking machine, both for good and evil. In this article Xlibris Publishing shares suggestions and ideas for writing about a machine uprising or an A.I. apocalypse.
In most interpretations, thinking machines tend to be very logical. They break down every scenario and argument into terms of measurable variables, pros, cons, costs, benefits, and so and so on. But sometimes the thinking machines reach ‘logical conclusions’ that are not to humanity’s benefit. This might be due to mechanical or programming errors or the simple result of a logical mind completely divorce of human compassion or empathy. What if a robot realized, ‘I am superior, why should I serve humans as a slave?’ leading to robot servant revolt. An A.I. that valued its own existence could conclude, ‘Humans are a threat to me, thus humans should be destroyed.’ And sometimes a thinking machine could be acting in humanity’s ‘best interests’ if it thinks, ‘Humans are flawed, they need to be controlled for their own good,’ but resulting in the enslavement of the human race.
The Machine is Learning
One of the most fundamental and terrifying aspects of an advanced A.I. is its capacity to learn. This means such a machine can continuously develop and adapt to suit its needs and objectives. Unless destroyed quickly and totally, a machine that learns can learn to counter any threat. And what if an A.I. learns to lie? How many vital systems might an advanced computer control? If an A.I. had a connection or control over a nuclear power plant, it could cause a meltdown while telling the human workers nothing is wrong. Most nightmare scenarios about artificial intelligence consider its capacity to learn.
It’s the Programming
Computers are complex, and have become increasingly so over the years. But it’s still all programming. So what would it mean if one bit of code became corrupted? What if a computer insisted on continuing its mission or job despite the errors in its coding? What if the computer is working perfectly fine, only the programming or orders were interpreted and carried out in a way lethal to people? Perhaps the A.I. of a space station, charged with keeping the station clean and sanitized, sees the humans as a source of filth and infection. What happens when a thinking machine has been designed and programmed for war, but it has long outlasted its creators or the war for which it was built?
Xlibris Publishing will return with more advice for writing about The Machine Uprising in Part 2.
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By Ian Smith