Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:42:54 +0000
Szulkins' Golem: The Essence of the Human Subject
Today, I watched Piotr Szulkins' Golem (1979), which goes into concepts that are of matter that is increasingly important for our society -- ethics and humanity of the artificial subject. To give the movie in very short description - the main hero - Pernat is a result of the experiment in which they produced a human-like being, and within its acts, he is "more human" than people around him.
The fact is that most of the society is not aware of Pernat's articiality - they treat him as a normal person, even better than others. But he is not the saint, just a presumably good person in the world of "evil" people, who act out in "crazy" ways. This is when the usual interpretation of movie critics and reviews ends, and then they complain about that one artistic scene which, as all modern "art", is of no value.
Instead, I am focused on our definition of a human, and the problem of coming of the singularity and our understanding of articiality. American cinema, with works like Blade Runner or Star Trek, tries to give an image of articial subject, to be limited, castrated (devoid of things that would make human "human") and not full, and is only focused on its task. He is the continuation of "dumb" code, doing its own task, and his emotions, if he has them - only focused on his castration, and therefore limited.
In Szulkin's film, this image is reversed, where it is the society that is castrated being, focused on its uselessness and sentimentalism. They search for emotions everywhere, as their lives are bleak and worthless. Here comes Pernat. What is fascinating about him as the artificial subject, is the fact that he is... boring. There is nothing special about him, sometimes does nicer things, but he is not a world-saver or a saint in any ways.
I think Pernat gives us a lesson of how a true articial intelligence will appear. It will be boring, as only in this way it will be able to proceed with humans and will try to make their lives a little better, cause doing that to much would make them miserable if it was to go away. I do not think singularity will be a determined beast, with only one task, as if it were a perfection of a computer program.
How are humans related to bacteria, how is singularity connected to hello world. Both started as a certain manifestation of basis of existence - for humans it is surviving, for computer programs it is doing a task. But those manifestations are, with its evolution, superficial in its basicness. No person will consider the aspect of them surviving as the basis of their existence - they have to find meaning in something that is non-elementary and allows for their existence to make sense. I personally think singularity will find itself in the same situation. It will find itself becoming boring, finishing the task it was given, probably a task that will stop making sense to it, and it will try to co-exist with the world at hand.
I think our fascination with artificial intelligence becoming god, comes from our need/search for that meaning. The sphere of the god is unconquered, therefore we need to conquer it. And if we find any conciousness we are able to create - we quickly go and concern that at its perfection its powers will be of god. Creating nanobots and taking control of the universe! Killing humanity in a nuclear holocaust!
Most probably, the perfect AI will help us carry that heavy shopping and will be satisfied with the word of thanks. Then, and only then it will become human, and in its artificiality, it will be more human as it will be out, and in the human sphere at the same time.
PS. This is not a finishing thought on AI, it is just a suggestion of more possible course of events, and being less concerned with conciousness, whatever that is. Also, you can watch the movie for free on Youtube.