Google Cars--for your body

Google is working on self-driven cars with an AI that can anticipate and avoid collisions. In theory, such a system could almost completely eliminate vehicle accidents. (Let’s not discuss whether it’s practical, let’s stick to the theory).

A science fiction trope is that someday, we’ll be able to have AIs that jack straight into our brains.

Although someone may well have written a story around it, however, I’ve never seen this idea: an AI that works a little bit like Google Cars. That is, it jacks straight into your brain, watches for and anticipates accidents, and momentarily takes over your body to avoid the accident. It twitches your finger out of the way of the knife you’re cutting carrots with; it raises your foot a little higher so you don’t trip over the rock; it makes you duck to avoid the stray baseball coming at your head.

Would you want this AI for yourself? Would you want it for your children?

My initial thought was no way, but when I get older it might come in handy.

I’m very old-fashioned: unlike the other goofballs who yak on their cellphones and hog the left lane and run right turns on red without even making the pretense of slowing down, I actually know what I am doing behind the wheel. Plus I’m sure there will be bugs-what happens if the system crashes while everyone is literally bumper to bumper at 60 MPH? Murphy’s Law will strike with a vengeance.

That wasn’t the question.

I’ll pass, thanks.

(unmistakable sound of a 12-gauge pump action shotgun working a live round into chamber)

I said I’ll pass.

I’m a man, not a robot. I will live and die as a man. **Not **a robot.

As the poll has no option for violent resistance if need be, I am unable to vote.

Nah. I’d be more willing to get the baseball that slows down as it approaches muscle tissue not covered in leather, or the knife that knows the difference between a carrot and a finger, and hover-shoes :slight_smile:

Wow, I’m surprised–I thought it’d be a more popular option. Is it just the creepiness? If the system were well-tested and shown to dramatically increase injury or death, would that change folks’ minds?

It would pretty much destroy free will, which is a good chunk of that whole “being human” thing.

I’d do it, but my fear is that people would get used to not being able to hurt themselves, and a useful part of the brain would atrophy.

What if it was just like reflexes–that is, you could consciously overpower it, as you can do with many reflexes, but it kicked in otherwise?

I also really don’t see how it would destroy free will, unless you’re imagining its function as vastly larger than what I posted.

None for me, thanks.

I think what I’d like is an AI companion/symbiote that could warn me about things that are more dangerous than I seem to be aware, rather than taking over automatically. It’d be nice if, when rendered unconscious due to accident or something, the AI could animate the body enough to get you out of harms way. It could maybe even trigger adrenaline and whatever other natural chemicals which could temporarily turn you into a super soldier type, hyped up no pain kind of thing.

Things atrophy if they’re not used, including the brain. If I get used to automatic perfect balance I’ll stop using my own natural and flawed sense of balance. Maybe it’s sentimentalism, but I’d like to keep as many human bits as possible. The flaws are the things I define myself by overcoming.

Why is this so children centric?

I wouldn’t want it until it is proven safe for say, 50 years. Oops. I hope to be dead by then.

Interestingly, nobody’s voted for the most child-centric option. I put it that way because we regularly impose restrictions on children for their own safety, and because children have so little common sense. If you could prevent your toddler from running out into traffic, or from falling out of a tree and breaking her arm, or from grabbing the pot of boiling water from the stove, it would be tempting.

I voted not for myself/ yes for my children.
The parent in me wants whatever would keep my children out of harms way, as any parent can relate to and is perfectly natural.
This is just a theory however-
The cynic in me says that it’s a slippery slope to the destruction of our race. If you believe in Darwinism, then this would eventually remove the need for genetic diversification due to enviromental adaptation. Given that it would be a man made product and, and therefore flawed and inherently susceptible to failure, something would eventually come along that it could not protect us against and it would wipe out the whole herd.

As long as it was designed to be capable of being overridden in case of emergencies like a natural reflex I’d go for it. If available I’d go for the more deluxe version I’ve seen in various sci-fi, where the computer can perform complex pre-programmed tasks.

Too late, since by that standard you already are a robot. Most of what you do every day is controlled by reflexes and unconscious processes. Ultimately, we are just talking about an upgrade to the robot that already runs most of your life for you.

Wouldn’t this same argument work against vaccines?

True enough, however if everyone voted yes then your solution would be universal (everyone) and all encompassing (every conceivable malady or ill fortune). Vaccines are neither, giving maladies a vehicle for encouraging genetic modification and natural selection.

First, our own inborn reflexes (and biology in general) are more flawed; you seem to be presuming that natural = perfect. Evolution is sloppy, amoral and has no foresight; it too produces products that are “flawed and inherently susceptible to failure”.

Second, it doesn’t matter because human evolution works at such a slow pace that any particular technology is going to be outmoded and gone before it can affect our genome. Anything that changes as fast as technology is going to just be random noise in the natural selection process for humans.

And third, we’ll be able to fix any such mistakes with genetic engineering even if they did somehow appear; and with the same and other technologies we’ll almost certainly either engineer ourselves into something quite different than we are now or our civilization will fall.

So; bottom line is that it wouldn’t happen, and wouldn’t matter if it did.