I stepped into a fun riff on Twitter where Marc Andreessen published a 15-part tweet-blog on his thoughts on the limits of AI and Robots and their effect on society.
The concept captures my imagination because the media is quick jump to the inevitable end depicted in the Matrix where our machines come alive and Human beings become biological battery power in a post-apocalyptic world. Once singularity is achieved, humans fall to the dark side of evolution as we slowly welcome the ascension of our new robot overlords.
While that makes for a good Hollywood screenplay, it doesn’t work for two reasons.
First, computers systems will never replace Humans because they lack judgement. Machines can easily distinguish between good and bad options, but they cannot predict taste and style. Judgement is the result of a lifetime’s experience of constantly making choices, choices where there are multiple positive outcomes. This doesn’t translate to the world of machines where basic rules and logic make up a computers brain.
Second, artificial intelligence falls far short in creativity. They cannot “muster up” the next Mona Lisa or replicate Shakespeare through an digital force of will. Creativity is the ability to transcend tradition, moving beyond the known into the unknown. If a human programs a machine by transferring its “known” knowledge into instructions, how can the machine ever move beyond it’s own reality into the unknown? The answer? It can’t.
So how much of the world will software eat?
Machines are making a monumental impact in every area of society and as the generations pass by, they will become more and more accepted as a sub-class of steward, albeit more intelligently with each iteration. I believe the impact of this shift won’t be a replacement of what it means to be human, but an amplification of the amount of time we have to focus and spend on the things that truly make us human.
The inevitable end is not the singularity of machines, but the self-actualization of human beings in a beautiful chorus of individual creativity and art.
Optimistic? Maybe. But, that end would be much more interesting then the drab and hopeless background of the Matrix, even if you could learn Kung-Fu in 5 seconds.