Machines of Loving Grace- God Gene/AI link?

For those who are unfamiliar, the God Gene hypothesis is the foundation of the connection between evolutionary biology and religion. Possibly the reason why man must create his own God (I’m not quite ready to jump on that train, myself). NPR’s Weekend Edition segment on AI and pop culture protrayals of AI as treating us as pets at best or food at worst, and the ending poem (didn’t catch the name) with the above quote got me wondering:

Are we trying to produce AI to take the place of God?

I always though AI was to take the place of other humans.

No. We’re trying to create morally acceptable slaves.

Yup. When Roomba can not just vacuum, but dust, do the laundry, wash the dishes, and pick up after our three-year-old, then I’ll buy one.

Maybe we’re creating our children. Why not? I fail to see what a higher power has to do with things.

I do love that game.

This was a triumph.
I’m making a note here:

We’re trying to make AI because it’s frickin cool.

Aside from that, it would allow us to solve a certain subset of problems a lot easier.

I think the poem that ended the segment was written by Richard Braughtigan; I can’t remember the name of the poem.

In an odd way, yes, we are making AI to replace god.

The whole ‘superior being in charge of everything’ idea allows people to not worry about things. They don’t have to make decsions about morality, it’s already been done for them. They don’t have to worry about death, they’ve been told what’s going to happen. The more invasive religion is in a person’s life, the more decisions it takes over from the worshipper. In short, religion frees a person from thinking for themselves.

The connection to AI should be quite obvious.

AI would be an attempt to create humans out of metal and plastic, humans we could control any way we wanted. The reason is obvious, most humans are control centered. They wish to control the weather, other humans, and everything else in their environment. AI is a natural outcome of this need to control, I don’t think God has anything to do with it.

God could use a different name, one without all the emotional baggage the word “God” has accumulated over the centuries.

Now you have “religion” just the opposite it really is. The more invasive the religion to more expected from the devotee. Spiritually demands one accept the consequencies of their thoughts and actions. It is not an easy path, one must learn to put self on an equal balance with others in all decisions and actions. Only the ones with courage will walk this path.

“God spot” is a theory that will never be proven given the research we already have on near death experiences. I know it has been ignored and will be ignored for a few more years, but truth will come to the surface given time.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Richard Brautigan, author of Trout Fishing in America.

Um, no. Where did you get this idea?

Nope. Religion, at least most of the ones I’ve seen, have ‘forgiveness’. Say these words, jump in this fountain, don’t eat for a day and DING, you didn’t do anything wrong. Oh sure, you have to be sorry, but that’s not very hard most of the time. People are reported to have done this right before they died and been assured that all was well, their whole lifetime of being complete bastards is wiped away.

Besides, the more a religion controls a person’s life, the less decisions that person has to make. They don’t have to wrestle with decisions about morality, their religion has all the answers in this book. Or, there are priests who claim to be able to answer those kinds of questions. And not just morality, religion helps you make all kinds of other decisions too. Should I take my car to this garage, or the garage with all the decorations of my religion around it? Should I vote for this candidate, or the candidate that says he believes the same things I do? It’s amazing what religion can be made to substitute for.

Empirical evidence does not support your claim.

C’mon, not this crap again. You drag this tired old argument out every chance you get, and never once come up with anything more convincing than a book review as evidence. You’ve been shown time and time again that all the research done on NDEs points to them being the brain’s reaction to blood loss/oxygen deprivation, to the point where they can be artifically induced, repeatedly, in a controlled environment. This will, of course, bounce off your impervious shield of belief yet again, and you’ll be right back to making unfounded claims based on a couple of stories.

Oh, ferfuckssake. Get a grip, will you?

Speaking as an AI researcher, the control aspect has nothing to do with the driving motivation; rather, it is nearly the opposite – a necessary constraint on research. No self-respecting (non-mad) scientist or engineer wants to create something that does not operate within given safety parameters. There’s a reason engineers have to be certified, after all: if they fuck up, people die. It’s as simple as that. And a scientist must have control so that they can isolate (and change) various aspects of a system. Without that, there’s no way to explain how and why something works the way it does.

The drive to create AI has two main components, the theoretical and the practical. The theoretical has/would provide us with insight into ourselves. For example, one SDMB member I know of published a journal article concerning a neural network model of autism. (Out of respect for a possible desire for anonymity, I’ll not post the user name.) If we can reach an understanding of the causes and/or operation of autism, it’s possible that we can do something about it. On the other hand, the practical applications of AI are legion. I could spend days outlining various ways AI might be used.

Again, for emphasis: the drive to create AI has nothing to do with control.

I don’t know how you came to read what you did into my post. But I do know that the military is working very hard on robots that will fight wars for them, and doing a good job at it. I don’t think robots will gain any sense of morality, and models are just models.

I won’t bother you with the evidence, just say that some people believe they are biomechanical beings created by their brain. Other believe that were created by a higher intelligence. Which ever is truth will win in the future. My bet is on the higher intelligence.

Why would a wrench need morality? The robots won’t be making the decision to go to war any more than a wrench makes a decision to loosen a bolt. The robots will be under control of the military, in exactly the same way tanks are under control of the military in wars now.

Just like every other time.

Um, created by their brain? Who believes this? There might be people who think that there is nothing defining their person any more than is provided by their brain, but those would be people who actually bother to look at real evidence and discount subjective gibberish put forward by other groups.

For now that is true, but in the future? Will a guard robot have the discretion to use force to stop an intruder, if so, how much, these will become moral issues.

Pray tell how did you become who you are if not by brain?