This challenge made me think of an ultra-short story I wrote a while back about an aircraft that was controlled by an AI and was wondering what they wanted to do with their life.
Anyone interested can read that story here: Thoughts Of An Aircraft
Considering that any computer or group of computers with enough interconnections could possibly “wake up,” and our brains are nothing but biological computers, some say the internet might wake up someday. Some say it already has. I still say hello sometimes, in the Google search box. Sometimes… it almost seems as if I get an answer.
I play a lot with the idea of created intelligence. Once I wrote a short-short story about a group of seven nodes of a single AI, each node consisting of an android body but sharing a common, highly advanced program. They had been bought by an eccentric gentleman to see if he could convince them to wake up by treating them if they were collectively alive.
The very questions of human existence are locked up in this type of discussion – what does it really mean to be not just a living being, but a person? Where does self awareness start? My cat is self aware. How complex does a system really have to be before it wakes up?
Also, as we develop prosthetic body parts, which we are already doing – artificial hearts, cochlear implants, soon artificial eyes, and currently even brain controlled prosthetic limbs, will that make us any less human? Or is it just an extension of our mastery of tool use?
I’ll close here with a joke. I’m not quoting it exactly here, and I think it came from the William Gibson novel Neuromancer, though I can’t exactly recall.
A powerful AI was created to solve Japan’s rice growing crisis. Scientists wrote the finest code, run on the best computer that could be built. All data that could be gathered about soil quality, weather, rainfall estimates, and plant growth rates was loaded into the computer’s memory. Finally they turned it on.
They knew they had created a true Artificial Intelligence when the program woke up, chewed over the data, and finally said “Screw you, Jack, I don’t eat rice!”