The Killer Robots That Weren’t

Part 1: The AI Future Will Be Comforting and Amazing

As I got deeper and deeper into this subject, I realized that it will make a fine series. So here is part one, an introduction.

For just a minute, let’s set aside the luddite scaremongering and talk of SkyNet. Let’s accept the fact that we, as humans, are so flawed we can hardly get out the door of our homes without fucking some up.

We are capable of building flawless – not “perfect” – things, though, with much practice and many tries. While we are a long way from building an artificial general intelligence that will occupy our lives like a child or pet, I have a vision of what our near-term future will look like.

More Than Just Google & Amazon

A couple of important technologies have been retained by the community. One is 3D printing, another is most of the important software stacks on the web. But one of the surprising areas where open source is winning is artificial intelligence.

At least for now, we’ve got comparable open source versions of things like Alexa, Google, Cortana, or Siri. We’ve got MyCroft, a stack which anyone can build on. We’re going to need a lot more things like that.

Fortunately, there’s a chain built just for that – SingularityNET – and I think we should all be considering the ways we might interact with that tech stack.

After all, like I said, the community – open source, FOSS, Linux Land, whatever you want to call us – sort of got here first.

I view technology like a shared vision among a disparate family. Basically, all nerds have a few important things in common. In some respects, we share a dislike for institutions, the ills of humanity, and a failure to cure the ails thereof. Or something like that. Basically, many influential nerds are outcasts, and this means that as a group we tend to embrace non-traditional thinking.

If we thought in traditional terms, most of the technology necessary to read these words, including perhaps technology depending on how wide you split this analogy, would simply not exist.

Against Luddism

As a young teenager I studied a lot of radical philosophy. It’s part of what informed my decision to embrace open source so completely.

Due to circumstances, I would be a full grown adult before I was using Linux all of the time. I did have a laptop in high school that ran Linux Mandrake, and I enjoyed the few hours that I would have to do so. Between dealing pot, failing high school, writing a novel, and working at two restaurants, it was difficult, at that time, to find the time.

This particular luxury, of time and access, is now different. For less than $100, any worker can acquire a phone with built-in AI. We owe thanks for this, in part, to Google. But Google, as legally annotated in all of their notices, owes thanks to the community.

The same one that built the word processor I’m using. The same one that built the web browser I’ll use to post this, the server hosting it, and the content management system delivering it to your likely also community-based web browser, which uses a ton of other community-based software.

To be continued.

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