by Mark E. Jeftovic, Bombthrower:
Now that ChatGPT has exploded onto the stage, there is renewed hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI). Whenever AI captures the public imagination, we are subjected to unrestrained conjectures around how it will inevitably take over the future and change our lives.
We’re led to believe that AI will usher an era of hyper-intelligent overlords, so far advanced beyond our own coarse and analog cognitive skills that the existential question of the future will center around:
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- how much power or rights do we confer on these beings?
- will they act benevolently or malevolently toward us?
But these questions presuppose a core assumption around AI that everybody agrees isn’t true now but will inevitably become true in the future – after a few more iterations of Moore’s Law…
That’s the idea that AI will achieve general artificial intelligence, and with that is implied some degree sentience (otherwise there is nothing to give any rights to).
The Newsweek piece on the right in the images above is by the transhumanist futurist Zoltan Istvan. He describes how AI ethicists are divided on the matter of whether future hyper-intelligent robots should be granted rights.
On one hand, by not affording human rights to robots possessing AGI (general intelligence on par with humans), we are committing a “civil rights error” that we will regret in the future.
This is opposed by those who assert that robots are machines and will never require rights, because they aren’t sentient (this is where I land on it, and I’ll tell you why below).
Others believe in a middle ground where some robots that display general intelligence would be afforded some rights “depending on their capability, moral systems, contributions to society” (which sounds somewhat reminiscent of a “three/fifths” clause to me).
But overall, Istvar seems to assume that AI will achieve super-intelligence, and become vastly superior beings in terms of brain-power to us clumsy meatbags of humanity.
That leaves us with three possible paths forward: