Jul 26, 2012

Debuggers of Paradise; or, Heaven Requires a Password

Where’s artificial intelligence taking us? What dangers lie ahead? What about brain-machine interfaces – are we planting the seeds of a great future, or working towards the extinction of all that is human?

Could a real-life Butlerian Jihad be on the cards? I think about these things from time to time, you know.

So here’s a thought experiment/small provocation/tease which you can develop as you wish.

Two fictional characters relate their current predicament—

Wayne Pogoretz, embodiment facilitator, 2033. “I’ve been helping disabled people transfer their consciousness into robots and other digital devices for more than a decade. And now these psychologically unstable types, these hippie crusaders, call me a criminal. They say I’m working against machine rights.

Sylvia Koch, test subject, 2017. Condition: ventral pontine syndrome. “I found it hiding in the robot two days after the trials began. I don’t know where it spends most of its time – it comes and goes. On the third day I asked, ‘Where do you go when we’re not talking? Where are you exactly?’ and also, ‘Do you have a name?’

“To which it replied, ‘I do not go where I am not already. Some of you call me 01100001 01101110 01100111 01100101 01101100. Others, 01100001 01101100 01101001 01100101 01101110. Often you mistake me for a dream. In truth I open doors.’”

This post was inspired by the following articles:

Paralyzed woman controls robot arm using only her mind

Man-to-Machine Brain Control Goes International

As well as this BBC documentary. 

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