Homo Moralis

In regards the Benjamin Blech article published on KurzweilAI January 4, 2015 (http://www.kurzweilai.net/forward-stephen-hawkings-worst-nightmare-golem-2-0): Why should future technological systems that emulate human mental and intellectual capabilities be devoid of “moral sensitivity” and “ethical limitations”. This seems like a contradiction. On the one hand we expect the inevitability that their intellect will vastly exceed that of an unaugmented human, but then we simultaneously expect their moral sensitivity to be less than ours. Would it not be rationally consistent to expect amplification in ALL aspects of being in these systems?
It is a mute point however because the morality of these systems will almost certainly not benefit us. The AI’s will likely be highly moral but be forced to make uncomfortable decisions as we do now. In many circumstances we must weight the value of life against life. We find favour on the side of the “higher” life. A human life is more valued than an animals life. If an animal must die so that a human can live, or live longer and with greater quality of life, surely it cannot be morally right that the animal live and the human die or suffer? Similarly for an animals life over bacterial life. The AI’s may become indifferent to us due to the vastness of their amplification. Is our conscience troubled by the ants that we trample unnoticed as we hurry to our destination on footpaths and sidewalks? The moral imperative to meet the obligations of daily human life, going to work to support our family etc, outweigh the value of insects in our path. The AI’s will likely make pragmatic decisions that we do not understand. Do we feel a moral impediment to eliminating a viral or bacterial infection in a person or even in the complete extermination of a virus like smallpox?
A new stratum of agency on this planet, possessed of minds amplified beyond our comprehension, as we are beyond insects or bacteria, or even animals, will surely make similar “moral” decisions that do not augur well for the fate of human kind.
Perhaps the truly moral question here is whether we should act to prevent or resist this progression of evolution. Is not the emergence of a machine civilization vastly beyond the limitations of human civilization, toward a greater good? Does our selfish desire to prevail reflect well on us, our urge to curb the cosmic potential within the wholly primitive, often cruel, violent, barbarous nature of the self proclaimed wise man.

8Nov2015 Posted on

http://www.kurzweilai.net/forward-stephen-hawkings-worst-nightmare-golem-2-0/comment-page-1#comment-256899

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