AI is EVIL….
…says head of one of the most abhorrent organisations that has ever existed.
Artificial intelligence is so overhyped right now that even the Catholic Church is wagging a finger. Organized as ever, Pope Francis got his annual message for the World Day of Peace in a full 145 days early to warn of the technology's "disruptive possibilities and ambivalent effects." Lest you think he only heard about AI …
was the quote from my favourite PC Game. For a game produced in 2000 projecting a dystopian future based on 90's Usenet Conspiracy Theory boards, it has been eerily accurate. Suggesting perhaps, that some of those conspiracy theories that it was based on may have been true.
One of its predictions was that the principal use of AI in the future would be mass surveillance - a digital panopticon where every individual is watched by the system at all times. And that the people would not only accept this, but they would eventually worship it as a God. That hasn't happened quite yet, as the system doesn't really have a unified "consciousness" that it can portray. But as soon as we can all have a personal relationship with the same chatbot, then I think it could happen, and I think that will be a very scary future indeed.
> …says head of one of the most abhorrent organisations that has ever existed.
Agreed, to a point. Religion has brought us inquisitions, crusades, wars, torture, and massacres. And it's all based on a load of bollocks. But without it, I believe civilisation would never have come to exist. We would still be the apes at the start of 2001: A space odyssey. So I kind of thank the Pope and his chums for that, actually. Plus, Christianity has (mostly) cleaned up its act in the past few decades. There was some very nasty abuse of children by some of its senior members, but I do believe them when they say they are doing their best to root it out. They don't do crusades, massacres and witch-burnings anymore at least.
The abhorrent organisations are the shady ones in the back-rooms of governments, who will use any means necessary to ensure that the rich and powerful stay that way. One of those means is AI.
(and yes, the Catholic Church used to be one such organisation. But I don't think it has quite so much influence as it once did. Maybe i'm wrong though)
The definitions of Religion have almost always been wonderful and good for all people ... but all the problems we see everywhere are a result of people making decisions that they see as good even though their "answers" may be stupid but the people have just been told that they are good. So bad religious incidents seem to be essentially just a replication of the AI environment - unrecognizable stupidity.
Well.. I think the key difference in our argument is what I'd call "Absolutism". The idea that some person or organisation can hold an un-challengeable idea and is beyond reproach.
In the Bad Old Days of religion, anyone who had a serious disagreement with a Priest was called a Heretic, and was burned at the stake for his or her views.
Nobody would ever be stupid enough to take the bullshit that is excreted out of a so-called AI and call it an Absolute Truth, would they? (?!)
> Hollywood movies have been telling you, 'Don't do it.' And now everyone's doing it," he said. "I'm just like, 'Have you not seen the movies where they kill us all?'
Have you seen Hollywood's early sci-fi movies?
Now look at their "early" AI movies and compare just how accurate silent versions of Jules Verne was with actual spaceflight. Using that as a baseline, we can say that nothing Hollywood is telling us about AI is remotely close to how the real-world future will be.
Ed Sheeran's 60 years of Hollywood takes us back to the dim, dark days of 1963, not 1864!
Jules Verne passed away in 1905; his "From the Earth to the Moon" came in 1864, "Around the Moon" in 1870. Georges Méliès "Le Voyage dans la Lune" came out in 1902 and probably wasn't trying to be scientifically accurate. Compare that to "Destination Moon" in 1950, which is a famously pretty good depiction of space (the worst offence being the single-stage-to-Lunar-Landing-and-return rocket).
Okay, we do then end up with "Gravity" which makes claims that it really, really does not live up to. But the vast, vast majority of space travel depicted in Hollywood is even more unrealistic and deliberately so: FTL drives, artificial gravity everywhere, acting like space only has two dimensions (and other "Space is really just the Ocean" tropes).
Now, AI in films from 1963 to the present day, as Mr Sheeran referenced?
Well, of course we have "2001: A Space Odyssey" in 1968, showing what happens when you deliberately tell an AI to lie. And, according to some reports, HAL was a lot more polite than ChatGPT or Bing has been.
"Colossus: The Forbin Project":a chat bot is given access to the world's network and then demands to be connected to his counterpart? No weird "emotions" portrayed, just the machine doing what it wanted to and we were stupid enough to connect it to All The Things (like missiles); the use of a pen-plotter was good. Just too many flashing lights and weird modules in the hardware (but if you tried to tell Hollywood that AI actually needs to be built out of Video Game Hardware, back in 1970, who'd believe you?).
"Silent Running", 1972, showed that the robots had to be reprogrammed to do something outside of their normal duties, which seems reasonable. As humans, we read emotion into them (e.g. looking up into deep space in a soulful fashion) but all the anthropomorphism was actually coming from Bruce Dern's character.
"Dark Star", 1974, discussed the disconnect between the AI and reality - hmm, seems like we've been having that conversation lately.
Then we have AI (in terms of what we are currently being sold as "AI") just in the background, not the focus of the main story or protagonists. Self-driving cars aplenty (e.g. "Minority Report" in 2002 - or the 1966 Batmobile, which had a working "leave parking spot and come to me" bat-function).
Frankly, from this Hollywood has done a far better job of presenting AI than it ever has done presenting Space!
It just takes random fragments of earlier things people had written and re-mixes them and builds on them without any fundamental understanding of what the original stuff meant or what it was for.
Now excuse me, because I have to wear a purple scarf today and not eat prawn cocktail crisps because it's the first sunday after the first new moon after the vernal equinox.
This highly entertaining link was recently posted in a Reg comment ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB-NnVpvQ78 It's a Banana - Red Dwarf - BBC
... the TV drama comedy predicted a robot that was honest at creation and had to be trained to be dishonest. But it turns out in 2023 that newly born LLM's are inherently pathological liars, and it's currently really hard to "teach" them to be honest.
> Did any of his predecessors have anything similar to say about ...
The Church was not terribly happy about the printing press; except when they were using it, of course (and it doesn't really matter *which* Church you look at - except, perhaps, for the Quakers). Gutenberg himself was deemed Ok (printing Catholic Bibles helped; The Big G. was quite shrewd) but then everyone else got involved, including The Minions Of Satan (aka whichever sect you weren't in).
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Everything gets confusing when the church steps in.
For example, if piracy is morally wrong, how is it that I can pirate the bible?
Also, it's perfectly fine to walk into a Church off the street for some quiet reflection...but if I do the same thing at a bible thumping neighbors house, they call the Police.
I've given up honestly...it's easier to be an atheist and come to my own conclusions.
Churches are designed around the "treat thy neighbour" clause in the standard Christian contract and presumably follow the teachings of the "Good Samaritan".
I don't recall an "...unless property is deemed to be private..." clause in the commandments.
I'm not really a Christian, it's been a while since my parents treated Sunday school as cheap babysitting, but I don't recall any lessons on "battening down the hatches, lock all the doors, repel all borders in case a twat walks in" lessons.
As a matter of historical fact, the Catholic Church was very much in favour of the moveable-type printing press. Rome was the first city outside of Germany to house a printing press (just 13 years after Gutenberg’s), and the leaders of the church was shrewd enough to see that this would make access to the printed word far cheaper and easier, so they made sure that their message was out there first.
Certain individual Catholics, specifically the scribes who worked out of monasteries across Europe and earned quite a nice income from copying manuscripts, may have had a different view of Gutenberg’s new machine, but at the top of the church it was not seen as a threat, but rather an opportunity.
Printing certainly facilitated the spread of the Protestant Reformation, but that was a about fifty years later, by which time printing was just a part of the modern world, and seen as an instrument that was not inherently good or evil.
Yes, his predecessors did, just you were not listening. The Vatican is one of the institutions that is the most informed on science. They have came a long way since Galileo. Numerous discoveries and leaps in science have been made by scientists within the Catholic church (priests and monks). One way to study God is to study his creation, science is one of the means to do that.
The Pope isn't the problem, it's those under him, the priests taking advantage of the inherent trust given them by way of the job they took. If you want to see anyone on the end of a rope, let it be those despicable priests who couldn't keep their wandering hands to themselves and blighted so many of us in our young lives.