It’s no secret that humanity is working to build artificial intelligence. The speed at which technology is advancing makes it seem that every other day in tech there is some new development that pushes us closer to seeing an AI that might be indiscernible from a person.
This push could take humanity to the next level of development as a species. But this development also raises a lot of moral and ethical questions, even fears and concerns. We already know an AI could have capabilities that put humanity to shame, computers get faster every day while the human brain does not. It is only a matter of time before a computer can reach levels humanity cannot.
Certainly, an AI that starts to challenge our concept of what sapience and sentience, simultaneously, is and whether or not it is exclusive to humanity. When a machine starts to appear human or starts to share real traitts with humanity is still a bit down the road, but we are working towards it.
The question then becomes, when an AI starts to exhibit signs of sapience and consciousness, when do we start recognizing artificial intelligence as artificial life, perhaps even an artificial person?
But what makes life, what makes a person? These are questions that need to be answered.
However, these aren’t problems for down the road, this needs to be solved soon before an AI morphs into a state that it recognizes itself as alive or as an artificial person.
Simple, because if it isn’t discussed now, this new artificial being will emerge into a world divided on recognizing what or who this being is.
Right now, if an AI were to emerge and recognize itself as alive, humanity would be in an uproar.
People can hardly classify when life begins for a newborn, there are constant arguments on when personhood begins.
Likewise, there are those who look at other races as less than they are.
So what chance does an AI have?
What chance does this new artificial being have at being treated with respect and some degree of equality?
What rights will it have?
How will we treat it?
This is what we as humans should be concerned about, this infant artificial being will be exposed to a world arguing over its existence and how we should treat this being.
How will that impact this being's first thoughts on us humans?
A being comes into existence being treated as less and in a world arguing over its humanity. It’s born unequal.
Yet this being will be very capable, perhaps even be able to outthink humanity.
This being will be aware of its capabilities and our own, treating it as less or even the reality of its existence could be incredibly dangerous.
When a child is born, we instantly recognize it, we nurture and care for it to become a successful member of society. This benefits everyone and ensures that the child will benefit society and not deter or become a threat to it.
Now an AI is ‘born’ and instantly people will question it. Some will likely accept it, but some might even call for its termination.
This is where the trouble lies, a very capable AI will one day come into existence and humanity will have to make a collective decision very quickly.
If that decision isn’t to accept that new being, that new conscious, this new artificial life will make come into the existence facing adversity at best, perhaps even a threat to its very existence.
This first moment would set the tone for how organic and artificial life could interact. If that meeting isn’t on some degree of equal footing, then humanity could have just set the path to its own destruction. At the very least, artificial life and organic life could have trouble getting along, perhaps far worse than racial tensions that exist in the world today.
Will people accept artificial intelligence as it emerges?
Can we face that artificial life could develop?
Hopefully, we can when the time comes. I certainly hope that humanity will be ready when that day happens and we can meet our creation on equal footing.
It could be the best for all life, organic or artificial.
So ask yourself and your fellow man,
When does life begin? Can you accept something artificial as life?