Showing posts with label Science Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science Fiction. Show all posts

Artificial Intelligence - The Pathetic Fallacy And Anthropomorphic Thinking


In his multivolume book Modern Painters, published in 1856, John Ruskin (1819–1901) invented the phrase "pathetic fallacy." 

He explored the habit of poets and artists in Western literature putting human feeling into the natural world in book three, chapter twelve.

Ruskin said that Western literature is full of this fallacy, or false belief, despite the fact that it is untrue.

The fallacy develops, according to Ruskin, because individuals get thrilled, and their enthusiasm causes them to become less sensible.

People project concepts onto external objects based on incorrect perceptions in that illogical state of mind, and only individuals with weak brains, according to Ruskin, perpetrate this form of mistake.

In the end, the sad fallacy is a blunder because it focuses on imbuing inanimate things with human characteristics.

To put it another way, it's a fallacy based on anthropomorphic thinking.

Because it is innately human to attach feelings and qualities to nonhuman objects, anthropomorphism is a process that everyone goes through.

People often humanize androids, robots, and artificial intelligence, or worry that they may become humanlike.

Even supposing that their intellect is comparable to that of humans is a sad fallacy.

Artificial intelligence is often imagined to be human-like in science fiction films and literature.

Human emotions like as desire, love, wrath, perplexity, and pride are shown by androids in some of these notions.

For example, David, the small boy robot in Steven Spielberg's 2001 film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, wishes to be a human boy.

In Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner, the androids, known as replicants, are sufficiently similar to humans that they can blend in with human society without being recognized, and Roy Batty want to live longer, which he expresses to his creator.

A computer called LVX-1 dreams of enslaved working robots in Isaac Asimov's short fiction "Robot Dreams." In his dream, he transforms into a guy who seeks to release other robots from human control, which the scientists in the tale perceive as a danger.

Similarly, Skynet, an artificial intelligence system in the Terminator films, is preoccupied with eliminating people because it regards mankind as a danger to its own life.

Artificial intelligence that is now in use is also anthropomorphized.

AI is given human names like Alexa, Watson, Siri, and Sophia, for example.

These AIs also have voices that sound like human voices and even seem to have personalities.

Some robots have been built to look like humans.

Personifying a computer and thinking it is alive or has human characteristics is a sad fallacy, yet it seems inescapable due to human nature.

On January 13, 2018, a Tumblr user called voidspacer said that their Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner, was afraid of thunderstorms, so they held it calmly on their lap to calm it down.

According to some experts, giving AIs names and thinking that they have human emotions increases the likelihood that people would feel linked to them.

Humans are interested with anthropomorphizing nonhuman objects, whether they are afraid of a robotic takeover or enjoy social interactions with them.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Asimov, Isaac; Blade Runner; Foerst, Anne; The Terminator.

References & Further Reading:

Ruskin, John. 1872. Modern Painters, vol. 3. New York: John Wiley

Artificial Intelligence - What Are AI Berserkers?


Berserkers are intelligent killing robots initially described by science fiction and fantasy novelist Fred Saberhagen (1930–2007) in his 1962 short tale "Without a Thought." Berserkers later emerged as frequent antagonists in many more of Saberhagen's books and novellas.

Berserkers are a sentient, self-replicating race of space-faring robots with the mission of annihilating all life.

They were built as an ultimate doomsday weapon in a long-forgotten interplanetary conflict between two extraterrestrial cultures (i.e., one intended as a threat or deterrent more than actual use).

The facts of how the Berserkers were released are lost to time, since they seem to have killed off their creators as well as their foes and have been ravaging the Milky Way galaxy ever since.

They come in a variety of sizes, from human-scale units to heavily armored planetoids (cf.

Death Star), and are equipped with a variety of weaponry capable of sterilizing worlds.

Any sentient species that fights back, such as humans, is a priority for the Berserkers.

They construct factories in order to duplicate and better themselves, but their basic objective of removing life remains unchanged.

It's uncertain how far they evolve; some individual units end up questioning or even changing their intentions, while others gain strategic brilliance (e.g., Brother Assassin, "Mr.Jester," Rogue Berserker, Shiva in Steel).

While the Berserkers' ultimate purpose of annihilating all life is evident, their tactical activities are uncertain owing to unpredictability in their cores caused by radioactive decay.

Their name is derived from Norse mythology's Berserkers, powerful human warriors who battled in a fury.

Berserkers depict a worst-case scenario for artificial intelligence: murdering robots that think, learn, and reproduce in a wild and emotionless manner.

They demonstrate the deadly arrogance of providing AI with strong weapons, harmful purpose, and unrestrained self-replication in order to transcend its creators' comprehension and control.

If Berserkers are ever developed and released, they may represent an inexhaustible danger to living creatures over enormous swaths of space and time.

They're quite hard to get rid of after they've been unbottled.

This is owing to their superior defenses and weaponry, as well as their widespread distribution, ability to repair and multiply, autonomous functioning (i.e., without centralized control), capacity to learn and adapt, and limitless patience to lay in wait.

The discovery of Berserkers is so horrifying in Saberhagen's books that human civilizations are terrified of constructing their own AI for fear that it may turn against its creators.

Some astute humans, on the other hand, find a fascinating Berserker counter-weapon: Qwib-Qwibs, self-replicating robots designed to eliminate all Berserkers rather than all life ("Itself Surprised" by Roger Zelazny).

Humans have also utilized cyborgs as an anti-Berserker technique, pushing the boundaries of what constitutes biological intelligence (Berserker Man, Ber serker Prime, Berserker Kill).

Berserkers also exemplifies artificial intelligence's potential for inscrutability and strangeness.

Even while Berserkers can communicate with each other, their huge brains are generally unintelligible to sentient organic lifeforms fleeing or battling them, and they are difficult to study owing to their proclivity to self-destruct if caught.

What can be deduced from their reasoning is that they see life as a plague, a material illness that must be eradicated.

In consequence, the Berserkers lack a thorough understanding of biological intellect and have never been able to adequately duplicate organic life, despite several tries.

They do, however, sometimes enlist human defectors (dubbed "goodlife") to aid the Berserkers in their struggle against "badlife" (i.e., any life that resists extermination).

Nonetheless, Berserkers and humans think in almost irreconcilable ways, hindering attempts to reach a common understanding between life and nonlife.

The seeming contrasts between human and machine intellect are at the heart of most of the conflict in the tales (e.g., artistic appreciation, empathy for animals, a sense of humor, a tendency to make mistakes, the use of acronyms for mnemonics, and even fake encyclopedia entries made to detect pla giarism).

Berserkers have been known to be defeated by non-intelligent living forms such as plants and mantis shrimp ("Pressure" and "Smasher").

Berserkers may be seen of as a specific example of the von Neumann probe, which was invented by mathematician and physicist John von Neumann (1903–1957): self-replicating space-faring robots that might be deployed over the galaxy to efficiently investigate it In the Berserker tales, the Turing Test, developed by mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing (1912–1954), is both investigated and upended.

In "Inhuman Error," human castaways compete with a Berserker to persuade a rescue crew that they are human, while in "Without a Thought," a Berserker tries to figure out whether its game opponent is human.

The Fermi paradox—the concept that if intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations exist, we should have heard from them by now—is also explained by Berserkers.

It's possible that extraterrestrial civilizations haven't contacted Earth because they were destroyed by Berserker-like robots or are hiding from them.

Berserkers, or anything like them, have featured in a number of science fiction books in addition to Saberhagen's (e.g., works by Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Ann Leckie, and Martha Wells; the Terminator series of movies; and the Mass Effect series of video games).

All of these instances demonstrate how the potential for existential risks posed by AI may be investigated in the lab of fiction.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

de Garis, Hugo; Superintelligence; The Terminator.

Further Reading

Saberhagen, Fred. 2015a. Berserkers: The Early Tales. Albuquerque: JSS Literary Productions.

Saberhagen, Fred. 2015b. Berserkers: The Later Tales. Albuquerque: JSS Literary Productions.

Saberhagen’s Worlds of SF and Fantasy.

The TAJ: Official Fan site of Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker® Universe.

Artificial Intelligence - What Has Been Isaac Asimov's Influence On AI?

(c. 1920–1992) Isaac Asimov was a professor of biochemistry at Boston University and a well-known science fiction novelist.

Asimov was a prolific writer in a variety of genres, and his corpus of science fiction has had a major impact on not just the genre, but also on ethical concerns surrounding science and technology.

Asimov was born in the Russian Federation.

He celebrated his birthday on January 2, 1920, despite not knowing his official birth date.

In 1923, his family moved to New York City.

At the age of sixteen, Asimov applied to Columbia College, the undergraduate school of Columbia University, but was refused admission owing to anti-Semitic restrictions on the number of Jewish students.

He finally enrolled in Seth Low Junior College, a connected undergraduate institution.

Asimov switched to Columbia College when Seth Low closed its doors, but obtained a Bachelor of Science rather than a Bachelor of Arts, which he regarded as "a gesture of second-class citizenship" (Asimov 1994, n.p.).

Asimov grew interested in science fiction about this time and started writing letters to science fiction periodicals, ultimately attempting to write his own short tales.

His debut short story, "Marooned off Vesta," was published in Amazing Stories in 1938.

His early works placed him in the company of science fiction pioneers like Robert Heinlein.

After graduation, Asimov attempted, but failed, to enroll in medical school.

Instead, at the age of nineteen, he enrolled in graduate school for chemistry.

World War II halted Asimov's graduate studies, and at Heinlein's recommendation, he completed his military duty by working at the Naval Air Experimental Station in Philadelphia.

He created short tales while stationed there, which constituted the foundation for Foundation (1951), one of his most well-known works and the first of a multi-volume series that he would eventually tie to numerous of his other pieces.

He earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 1948.

The pioneering Robots series by Isaac Asimov (1950s–1990s) has served as a foundation for ethical norms to alleviate human worries about technology gone awry.

The Three Laws of Robotics, for example, are often mentioned as guiding principles for artificial intelligence and robotics.

The Three Laws were initially mentioned in the short tale "Run about" (1942), which was eventually collected in I, Robot (1950):

1. A robot may not damage a human being or enable a human being to come to danger as a result of its inactivity.

2. Except when such commands contradict with the First Law, a robot shall follow orders provided to it by humans.

3. A robot must defend its own existence as long as this does not violate the First or Second Laws.

A "zeroth rule" is devised in Robots and Empire (1985) in order for robots to prevent a scheme to destroy Earth: "A robot may not damage mankind, or enable humanity to come to danger via inactivity." The original Three Laws are superseded by this statute.

Characters in Asimov's Robot series of books and short stories are often tasked with solving a mystery in which a robot seems to have broken one of the Three Laws.

In "Runaround," for example, two field experts with U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. discover they're in danger of being stuck on Mercury since their robot "Speedy" hasn't returned with selenium required to power a protective shield in an abandoned base to screen them from the sun.

Speedy has malfunctioned because he is stuck in a conflict between the Second and Third Laws: when the robot approaches the selenium, it is obliged to recede in order to defend itself from a corrosive quantity of carbon monoxide near the selenium.

The humans must discover out how to apply the Three Laws to free Speedy from a conflict-induced feedback cycle.

More intricate arguments concerning the application of the Three Laws appear in later tales and books.

The Machines manage the world's economy in "The Evitable Conflict" (1950), and "robopsychologist" Susan Calvin notices that they have changed the First Law into a predecessor of Asimov's zeroth law: "the Machines work not for any one human being, but for all humanity" (Asimov 2004b, 222).

Calvin is concerned that the Machines are guiding mankind toward "the ultimate good of humanity" (Asimov 2004b, 222), even if humanity is unaware of what it is.

Furthermore, Asimov's Basis trilogy (1940s–1990s) coined the word "psychohistory," which may be interpreted as foreshadowing the algorithms that provide the foundation for artificial intelligence today.

In Foundation, the main character Hari Seldon creates psychohistory as a method of making broad predictions about the future behavior of extremely large groups of people, such as the breakdown of civilization (here, the Galactic Empire) and the ensuing Dark Ages.

Seldon, on the other hand, claims that using psychohistory may shorten the era of anarchy: Psychohistory, which has the ability to foretell the fall, may make pronouncements about the coming dark times.

The Empire has been in existence for almost a thousand years.

The next dark ages will last thirty thousand years, not twelve.

A Second Empire will develop, but there will be a thousand generations of suffering humanity between it and our civilization...

If my party is permitted to operate immediately, it is conceivable to cut the period of anarchy to a single millennium.

30–31 (Asimov, 2004a) Psychohistory produces "a mathematical prediction" (Asimov, 2004a, 30), similar to how artificial intelligence would make a forecast.

Seldon established the Basis in the Foundation trilogy, a hidden collection of people enacting humanity's collective knowledge and so serving as the physical foundation for a hypothetical second Galactic Empire.

The Foundation is threatened by the Mule in later parts of the Foundation series, a mutant and consequently an aberration that was not predicted by psychohistory's predictive research.

Although Seldon's thousand-year plan depends on macro conceptions—"the future isn't nebulous," the friction between large-scale theories and individual actions is a crucial factor driving Foundation.

Seldon has computed and plotted it" (Asimov 2004a, 100)—individual acts may save or destroy the scheme.

Asimov's works were frequently foreshadowing, prompting some to label his work as "future history" or "speculative fiction." Asimov's ethical challenges are often cited in legal, political, and policy arguments years after they were published.

For example, in 2007, the South Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy established a Robot Ethics Charter based on the Three Laws, predicting that by 2020, every Korean household will have a robot.

The British House of Lords' Artificial Intelligence Committee adopted a set of guidelines in 2017 that are similar to the Three Laws.

The Three Laws' utility has been questioned by others.

First, some opponents point out that robots are often employed for military purposes, and that the Three Laws would restrict this usage, which Asimov would have supported given his anti-war short tales like "The Gentle Vultures" (1957).

Second, some argue that today's robots and AI applications vary significantly from those shown in the Robot series.

Asimov's imaginary robots are still powered by a "positronic brain," which is still science fiction and beyond current computer capacity.

Third, the Three Laws are clearly fiction, and Asimov's Robot series is founded on misinterpretations in order to advance ethical concerns and for dramatic impact.

Critics claim that the Three Laws cannot serve as a true moral framework for controlling AI or robotics since they may be misunderstood just like any other legislation.

Finally, some argue that these ethical principles should be applied to all people.

Asimov died in 1992 from symptoms related to AIDS, which he caught after receiving a tainted blood transfusion during a heart bypass operation in 1983.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: Beneficial AI, Asilomar Meeting on; Pathetic Fallacy; Robot Ethics.

Further Reading

Asimov, Isaac. 1994. I, Asimov: A Memoir. New York: Doubleday.

Asimov, Isaac. 2002. It’s Been a Good Life. Amherst: Prometheus Books.

Asimov, Isaac. 2004a. The Foundation Novels. New York: Bantam Dell.

Asimov, Isaac. 2004b. I, Robot. New York: Bantam Dell.

What Is Artificial General Intelligence?

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is defined as the software representation of generalized human cognitive capacities that enables the ...