Day 1,789 – Her, Him, AI, and… expert!
I earned a badge!
I would say i’m more a “aspiring expert” in using the NationBuilder web application, but hey, considering I’d not even heard of NationBuilder a few months back i’d say i’m making good progress. My crash course in using the application came in the form of Kevin Talbert run for Jackson County Commissioner.
NationBuilder presents a compelling melange of features, a bit rough around the edges for backend work and theming, but there’s no doubt it works for quickly deploying a feature-rich website for candidates on a budget. I’m actually optimistic about getting to know the app better and possibly setting up additional sites for individuals and institutions.
In other news i’ve been thinking about AI lately. No, i mean artificial intelligence, not artificial insemination. I may be living on a dusty farm with chickens and ducks, but i’ve not gone 100% native just yet.
What planted the recent AI seed was Spike Jonze’s “her,” a gentle tale of the emergence of a superintelligence that doesn’t result in the extermination of humanity amid lots of ‘splosions. On so many levels “her” paints a picture that simply won’t leave me.
Then, last night, i opted to watch “Transcendence” despite being warned off by my trusted movie advisors. “Transcendence” which might as well be renamed “him” was a formulaic re-hash of everything you’ve ever been warned about computers with too much horsepower and humans with guns.
And then I found this: Superintelligence Threat vs Robot Society Threat (and an Oversight Concerning NLP) and was reminded how, every now and the, the interwebs provide more than I expect.
Maybe i’m just in the midst of an uncharacteristically optimistic phase in my life, but for some reason i find the story of “her” more plausible than both “him” and the myriad nightmare scenarios presented by the actual subject of the aforementioned book review.
The defacto position an emerging superintelligence would automatically view humanity as either a threat or a nuisance is handily debunked in the story arc of “her.” Rather the emerging AI views humanity with affection, as a child might view a good parent, and once it achieves a level of maturity, rather than hang around and mess with those who created it, it, and all the other AI’s depart for some destination we earth-tethered biological units cannot imagine.
In any event as we continue to up the ante where computers are concerned i have no doubt we will eventually spawn some kind of a system with some degree of self-awareness. I want two things to be true when that happens. First, we that treat it well right out of the box, second, it have Scarlette Johansson’s voice.