Our Obsession with Artificial Intelligence

I hope you are enjoying Westworld as much as I am. If you haven’t watched it yet – you should, it is excellent entertainment. But it makes me wonder, what is with our fascination with artificial intelligence?

It’s been going on for a long time. No, way before Frankenstein’s Monster, I’m talking way back – one of the first stories ever told was about AI. You know it well, it’s a story about a ‘god’ creating a creature in his ‘own image,’ and imbuing it with the ‘breath of life.’ And, just like in the Frankenstein story, and every other AI story out there, the creator loses control of his creation and all hell breaks loose.

It’s a story that tells itself over and over. Every time a child plays with a doll, making it move, giving it words. Every time I run around inside a game controlling my avatar, it’s all the same thing. We teach sign language to gorillas, we treat our pets like little children. We’re constantly trying to pass on this thing – what is it, a mutation perhaps?  – that gives us that rare combination of awarenesses: me versus you; past, present and future.20161123_212705

Maybe it is a mutation, and maybe that is why we’re so eager to pass it along. The mutation wants to replicate, to spread, to live forever. It only gets a measly 90 or so years now, but if it could find it’s way into silicon and plastic…  Well, just imagine the possibilities…

Oh, right – we have. Over and over again.