In Episode 06 of Your Performance Review, a troubled child comes to Michel for a review.
Kai is under review because he has been swearing in preschool. But Kai is no ordinary child. He has been modded, artificially enhanced with expanded memory and intelligence. He holds a universe of planetary information in his mind, including the details of all missions being flown by admin.
Michel asks Kai for help to recover his memory, but Kai rebels and makes a serious threat.
There’s debate around whether machine intelligence will set us free or we will end up working for it. In a previous newsletter, I argued that AI will never be completely running things. But there is an incrementalist argument to be considered. If we let machine intelligence in, bit by bit, we will give away our humanity. Or, looking at it another way, if AI does more thinking for us, then we will have more time to do fun, human things.
You may recall when computers were marketed as time-saving devices. Once everything was computerized, we’d all have plenty of time for fun! But, ahem, it didn’t turn out that way. Computerization made everything more efficient, certainly, and freed up more time, true, and that spare time has simply become more work time.
The “more time” argument didn't work with computers and it won't work with machine intelligence either. What, then, about machine intelligence degrading the humanity of the human experience?
Machine intelligence will replace some human functions. There is already a “Michel” sort of bot doing therapy on people; it’s just in the form of a chatbot, sending out therapeutic texts. (“Can you tell me more about that?”) It will be a short time before you or I go to appointments to speak with machine intelligences instead of other people.
We’ll lose something with that, yes. But if good therapy were cheaper, more people would have access to it. Maybe self-driving cars are a bad idea, but an intelligent car would help avoid accidents. There are already cars like this on the road, and they’ve saved lives.
Thanks for reading this and listening to the show,
The beautiful GIF used in this newsletter is by Metin Seven, a visualizer, illustrator, and 3D designer. Find him at metinseven.nl or on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to follow me on Mastodon, I’m at @email@example.com. If your response to that is, “I’ve heard of Mastodon, and I’m going nowhere near it,” I will be covering that in the next newsletter.