Today we need to confront the latest terrifying threat to our civilization. National and international business leaders together with major nerds in the field of computer learning have identified Artificial Intelligence or AI as the biggest threat to public health and safety since Obamacare.
If we remember our movies accurately, it is also likely to chase us around in a cement truck while we only have a tiny motor scooter to ride which, while nimble enough, doesn’t have nearly the horse – or fire – power needed to escape from a cement truck robot. Bear in mind that we may not even have a robot of our own, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who used to want to kill us but has recently changed its mind.
Why not? Because the robots we will have to face, armed with AI, or Artificial Intelligence, may have seen the movie Terminator 2:Judgment Day and arranged to go back in time and get Arnold signed to a sequel of Kindergarten Cop before he could be cast in the Terminator sequel. So what do you have now? You have teenage punk on a motor scooter up against homicidal shape-shifting robot in a cement truck with no Arnold to run interference. Hasta la vista, baby.
What’s that? We could confound the AI by recruiting Vin Diesel for the part? He might have the acting chops to play a robot, but we just don’t see him doing a convincing job of crushing a stapler into a ball bearing like Arnold. It’s just too hi-octane a part for Diesel.
The scenario we just presented, while fictional, illustrates the challenges we will all soon face in the coming age of enhanced Artificial Intelligence, challenges which are comprehensively described in the seminal work on the subject, The Singularity Is Near, by author, Ray Kurzweil. The “singularity” he writes about is the point at which AI becomes much smarter than people. We feel this book will prove invaluable to anyone confronted with a malevolent AI-enhanced robot since, at nearly 700 pages it has more than enough heft to knock the average robot off balance when thrown accurately.
Former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has weighed in on this subject, recently remarking: “people ‘should be marching in the streets’ to demand changes to ‘antiquated’ education systems that aren’t preparing students to be competitive in the job market against the robots of the future.” We don’t want to kick the Jebster while he’s down, but he recently spent upwards of $130 million in a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in which he didn’t win a single state. We figure the average robot could’ve done that well, so it’s possible that this “singularity” has already arrived, at least in some quarters..
Then there’s Elon Musk. This is not a new lady-killing aftershave but an actual computer geek – one of those guys you used to make fun of in high school but who can now buy and sell you several million times. Elon says that it is virtually inevitable that we’ll all be working for the robots some day, probably caddying at robot golf courses and mixing them WD-40 highballs.
It’s either that or fight. And as you might imagine, outsmarting robots obviously requires a certain amount of intelligence, and not the artificial kind either. For one thing, we’ll have to determine whether the Arnold-looking robot is on our side. This is easily discernible from the fact that he doesn’t shoot us with the shotgun he took from the biker who put out a cigar on one of his robot pecs. Also, we could tell him we’re totally out of 3-in-1 oil, and he might as well pick up a case of beer while he’s at the store. If he says, “I’ll be bock” instead of shooting us, that would also be a sign that he’s on our side.
Might be a good idea to stock up on chrome polish, though. Just in case.
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