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#BendBreakBlend - AI Ethics: Bridging Fiction and Reality



For some time now, I have been immersed in the numerous articles, predictions, and activities surrounding artificial intelligence (AI). As a sentient being and conceptualiser thinker, I gather and use information by…


  • Observing (information intake)

  • Thinking (Ideate)

  • Responding


As such, I believe technology can be a vital tool and enabler in humanity’s evolution. Here are some thoughts percolating in the theatre of my mind about the tug-of-war mentality regarding AI.


Humankind and Androids

Gene Roddenberry, the brilliant mind behind the Star Trek franchise, had a knack for bending, breaking, and blending technology for human consumption. My favourite character, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, is Lieutenant Commander Data played spectacularly by Brent Spiner. Mr. Data is depicted as an advanced android, with a human-like disposition capable of learning and adapting based on his experiences.

Comparing 21st-century AI to Mr. Data provides an interesting exploration of the capabilities and limitations of AI both in reality and in science fiction.

Learning and Adaptation

Despite Mr. Data’s lack of emotions, he continuously seeks to become more human by observing human emotions, ethics, and social interactions. Starfleet Judge Advocate General rules that Mr. Data is a sentient being and not the property of Starfleet, affirming his right to choose.


Whereas 21st-century AI models are designed to learn and adapt to vast amounts of data. Offering chatbot conversations or acting as assistants. For example, AI language models generate human-like text and respond to queries in a seemingly intelligent manner, though without consciousness or emotions.


Problem-Solving Abilities

Mr. Data has superhuman analytical and problem-solving abilities. He processes vast amounts of information quickly and accurately, providing valuable insights and solutions to complex problems.


Similarly, 21st-century AI algorithms can perform certain problem-solving tasks. It can analyse data, identify patterns, and generate recommendations.


World, Humanity, and Ethical Considerations

For me, the most important aspect of 21st-century AI is its ethical implications.


In Star Trek’s 24th-century, humanity has eradicated poverty, disease, and eliminated the desire for and use of wealth and materialism. Humanity's mission is to better itself and explore strange new worlds.

In the 21st-century we have not made significant progress on these fronts.

Instead, in many parts of the world humans are at war, we are obsessed with making money at all costs, and business is our culture and no longer a sector. Honesty, integrity, and the truth is being eroded. Respect and trust are alien, and we are slow cooking our only home – earth.


Mr. Data's journey to become more human raises profound ethical queries about the nature of consciousness, free will, and the rights of artificial beings. His character prompts conversations about the ethical responsibilities of creating and interacting with advanced AI.


The development of 21st-century AI raises similar ethical concerns, particularly regarding the potential misuse of AI technologies and its impact on society. Key issues include the increasing desire to drive more revenue, bias in AI algorithms, data, and privacy. These considerations are crucial in the ongoing conversation about AI development and ethics.


Conclusion

While 21st-century AI and characters like Mr. Data share some similarities in their abilities to process information and interact with humans, they also highlight the distinctions between real and fictional AI. The portrayal of AI in science fiction provides thought-provoking insights into the potential and pitfalls of artificial intelligence, informing ongoing conversations and developments in the field.


A constant thought in the theatre of my mind:


Has humanity abandoned all morality, making every action a slave to the ruthless pursuit of profit??

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