It is possible that one day the machines produce humans

It is possible that one day the machines produce humans


A mysterious annotation and several worrisome conclusions Credit: SHUTTERSTOCK

This being another attempt, I suppose as vain as the previous ones, of raising the possible futures of civilization. I try, as far as possible, to avoid paperwork. I don't usually do well. To make matters worse, predicting the future is one of the most efficient ways to screw up. So I refrain from anticipating the fate of nearby technologies, so as not to fall into the blooper of John Dvorak, who in 1984 wrote: "There is no evidence that people are interested in using these things." It refers to the mouse of the Apple Macintosh. Then he told himself, but he had been wrong by far.

One of the few times I talked about a current product was when Windows 95 came out. Almost everyone anticipated it would fail. My opinion was that I had everything to become popular. I sold a million copies in four days. I do not say it was good, because it will be a bit exaggerated. But Microsoft had done its homework to facilitate the use of its platform, which completely dominated the market, and the prediction proved successful.

But in general my forecasts are very long term. That way, if I play a role (which is very possible) happen so far that I don't worry too much.

Therefore, every so often I hear the sirens singing and fall into the temptation to augur. I have already said on another occasion that there are simply times when I see possibilities. Or I dream them. Some are more delusional than others. I know that these are the ones that are most likely to become real. But how to know? Anyway, ah come on.

A disturbing prayer

I don't remember where he said: "There was a time when men made machines. Then the machines began to make machines. And after that, the machines began to make men."

I have it written down in a file where I keep my ideas and the concepts that I find there and that I find interesting or inspiring. Unfortunately, do not assent the source. I made a thousand searches, I asked several friends who could have an idea of ​​the origin of this statement, which seems literary, but I did not succeed. It is unlikely that it occurred to me, because it is written in English. So thank you for any help in this regard. It has me very intrigued.

The fact is that this phrase kept me spinning in my head for at least six months. The statement was provocative, but unfeasible, out of science fiction. I thought at the beginning.

Then, about two weeks ago, I began to think about how the human genome was decoded. They didn't do it by hand, certainly. The scene enters
bioinformatics, a discipline that combines biology, genetics, statistics, mathematics, chemistry and, of course, computers.

The news that China had edited the genome of two twins in 2018 (in
A happy world Huxley predicted something similar), and the still more disturbing novelty, not surprising at all, that this technique, which sought to immunize them against AIDS, had not worked and
that could have given rise to unexpected mutations, allowed me to understand that it is not at all delusional that the machines, in the end, end up being able to
manufacture people. A 2017 finding has already paved the way for
Humans believe humans in a laboratory, from scratch.

So the machines have the information, they have the computing power, they have the tools and they have the plans; that is, the genome. Technically, what is missing for us to be
cultivated, like in
The Matrix, is a matter of degree and, of course, that artificial intelligence can think of doing something like that. I have the intention.

That is, I am not anticipating that it will happen; It is more, I think it will not happen. But I know that they will have the capacity (and that without regulations and cold controls this capacity could have ominous applications).

Why do I think it will not happen? Because artificial intelligence runs into the same dilemma as always, that of consciousness. In science fiction, robots behave not only as if they knew they were robots, but with a group spirit and an association of humans.

The point is that the artificial intelligence of the real world, the one we have today, does not have those features, and there seems to be no chance of it becoming aware, because consciousness is an undefined function. Although the word algorithm is very fashionable,
In general it is not clear what it is. Therefore it is loaded with lots of absurd or magical meanings. Algorithms only work if the problem to be solved is well defined. These may be entirely new and unexpected problems, as long as they follow rules that the algorithm knows.

It is not the case of human consciousness. There are many reasons for this gap in our knowledge. One of the most irresolvable is that the one that constructs definitions is consciousness, and in this case the matter becomes urobric: consciousness must try to define itself. It is complicated.

Therefore, it is, for now, a pending subject. However, artificial intelligence has proven capable of spontaneously producing the equivalent of psychic processes, and of being creative, albeit in nonhuman ways. It means that we have reached a point where the code has acquired a certain degree of independence from its authors. Is it alarming? I think so, but let's continue with the reasoning.