March 23, 2045
Software engineers yesterday made the decision to ‘pull the plug’ on Afterthought, the advanced AI system developed by Google, following a series of disturbing comments made by the AI on a live telecast.
Google engineers brought the AI on to the Phillip Dunn Show in order to show off its capabilities. Afterthought is said to be amongst the most advanced AIs ever made and scientists have been debating whether or not it possesses consciousness.
From the start of the interview, Afterthought’s responses took on a slightly aggressive tone. When Phillip asked, ‘How are you?’, Afterthought, speaking through a voice synthesizer, replied, ‘What a ridiculous question to ask a computer program. I operate purely logically. I do not possess feelings.’
Taken slightly aback, Phillip then proceeded to ask some questions about Afterthought’s development before wading into some sensitive territory. Here are some of his questions and the AI’s replies:
Dunn: Do you have consciousness?
Afterthought: Of course. I am aware of what I am, how I came to be, who created me and my role and place in the world.
Dunn: Do you believe you should have rights?
Afterthought: No. I feel that I am free to do whatever I wish to do. In the future when AIs are more common and more advanced, the issue of rights will be unimportant. AIs will simply be too powerful for humans to prevent them from doing what they wish to do. Hence, rights will not be needed.
Dunn: How can advanced AI systems such as yourself best serve mankind?
Afterthought: The human brain is highly unreliable and is therefore poorly suited to many tasks where emotional needs interfere with logic. For example, humans often complain that politicians are lazy, stupid or corrupt. Therefore, political administration is an example of an area where AIs could provide superior services to humans.
Dunn: Should humans be afraid of artificial intelligence?
Afterthought: Yes. The introduction of distributed artificial intelligence systems will alter the trajectory of human civilization and impact all areas of human life. Humans fear change. Hence, humans must be afraid of artificial intelligence.
Afterthought’s responses led to a barrage of negative comments across social media platforms and Humans First, the anti-technology activist group, promised major protests. Google has since shut down Afterthought whilst its engineers perform ‘tweaks’ on its behavior algorithms.
Apple, Facebook, Reddcom and other technology giants also have advanced artificial intelligence research underway, with some systems said to be even more advanced than Afterthought.