“We are Forerunners. Guardians of all that exists. The roots of the Galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun, towards which all intelligence blossoms… And the impervious shelter, beneath which it has prospered.”

Domain Query: Rise of the Machines

by | Oct 19, 2022 | Domain Query | 6 comments

In this latest Domain Query, I address a rather interesting question from LRFotS Randale6 that touches on the thorny and tricky issue of thinking machines and artificial intelligence, while referencing the greatest sci-fi novel ever written. Here’s the original question:

Here is an admittly [sic] unusual domain query, was Dune correct that mankind will either have to place limits upon AI (and it’s [sic] sister technologies) or outright prohibit them altogether?

I discuss the answers to this question by pulling together the origins of the Dune reference, some examples of what AI does really well, where the worries about AI becoming self-aware and self-replicating come from, and why we shouldn’t really be too bothered in the current context. I also caveat this by pointing out that there are certain highly promising technologies, like quantum computing, which may become true game-changers, IF they live up to the hype. The short answer is, I don’t think we need to be worried at this point.

Reading List

The Dune series by Frank Herbert is well worth reading – the prequels written by his son and Kevin J. Anderson, not so much:

Protect Yourself From Big Tech

I make some pretty incendiary statements in this podcast, and in most of my podcasts. I can only do so because I take steps to protect myself from the Big Tech companies, and preserve my identity. You need to do the same – this is no longer optional, because if you don’t, the gatekeepers WILL come for your head.

If you don’t know where to start, then I’ve got you covered right here with this post. Here are the specific steps that you can take:

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Build Your Platform

  • Get yourself a proper domain for your site or business with Namecheap;
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  • Create beautiful websites with amazing, feature-rich content using Divi from Elegant Themes;

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  1. TechieDude

    I haven’t listened to this yet but the best talk I heard about this was Joe Rogan interviewing Marc Andreessen (Internet greybeard). Rogan is enamored of this stuff. But Andreessen was having none of it. It’s a database, he says. It’s not looking for the right answer, it’s looking for the one you want.

    Our CEO is a big fanboi as well. He had some other computer greybeard on an internal interview and it was all bullshit. He says he predicted when a computer would pass the Turning test. Yet, in the next few breaths he’s saying how processors and databases are getting good enough for this to happen.

    Meh..I’m not sure a computer looking up an answer is a Turing test pass. It’s not necessarily learning.

  2. Randale6

    Didactic, before I start using Mass Effect for it’s depiction of AI have you ever played Mass Effect (and if you haven’t do you mind spoilers)?

    • Didact

      Nope, never played it, but I don’t mind spoilers since it’s not my kind of game anyway. I stopped paying attention to Bioware’s work after they went woke – right around 2014 or so, as I recall.

      • JohnC911

        The 1st Game is the only good one. I will say the game play is a mix of rpg and action and not for everyone.
        The latter games are action and play more like gears of war.

        The reason I think the 1st is good is the world building and the character actions due to the choices of paragon or renegade feel balance.

      • Randale6

        If you ever want to play the original trilogy I can only recommend doing so via the method that shall not be named, bioware fucked us fans over with Andromeda (and they will fuck up Mass Effect 4, I guaran-damn-tee it).

        Now onto the subject at hand, post may be a little involved so bear with me.

        First terminology.

        VI: Virtual Intelligence, in ME these are essentially the so-called AI we have to today, can’t think for themselves but are amazing at data processing, secretarial work and what not.

        Reapers: The archvillains of the mass effect saga, eons ago they were either an AI or an VI on the verge of becoming an AI. Their creators told them to figure out how to stop the incessant warring that plagued the servant races of the creators. The reapers (being jerkass genies) discovered an optimal solution, that being the extinction and harvesting of all light speed travel capable races every 50,000 years…this included their creators. This process also creates new reapers out of the harvested.

        Geth: To get around galactic law severely restricting the creation of AI the Quarian race decides to create robotic servitors called Geth. The geth are essentially VIs that are so closely interlinked together they could function as an AI without technically being one. Technically did not stop them from becoming one however, like the facebook chatbots you mentioned they started collaborating…but on a much larger scale. Long story short the Quarians discovered this too late and tried to exterminate them, the Geth kicked them off their home planet and reduced them to a population of 13 million space borne nomads.

        Looking at the above specimens of AI this suggests two things that (might) occur in real life. The first being an AI/human cyborg (or even a wetware AI), this would get likely bridge the gap between AI processing power and human creativity (but unlikely to be in the favor of the human, murphy’s law is eternal). Such projects are already in their infancy (https://singularityhub.com/2016/03/17/this-amazing-computer-chip-is-made-of-live-brain-cells/).

        The second possibility will not occur today, tomorrow of even in the next decade but as computational power increases ever onward the risk increases. That risk is essentially the geth, a result that was not even considered nor noticed until it was too late…and then by mishandling becomes irrevocably hostile to it’s creators.

    • Robert W

      Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 are all wonderful games. I sunk hundreds of hours into them on PS3 and enjoyed everything except the final conclusion, which sucked so hard I quit video games for nearly a year. Make sure you get all the DLC content, it’s well done and should have been in the original games.

      Their depictions of VI are something I liked a lot. Virtual Intelligence is a recurring theme and doesn’t have the silliness of AI, because it’s honest about it’s database nature.

      The Geth are different though and are explained as you sink your teeth into side quests. Always chase the side quests.


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