You’re in the nursing home. Which situation would you prefer?
- A weary, underpaid and under-educated woman pops in, changes your diaper and hands out your pills while engaging in a brief chat about grandchildren and/or the weather, then rushes out to attend to one of the other thirty old bats she has to tidy up this morning?
- An attractive, lively and charming young robot pops in, changes your diaper, hands out your pills and sits down for a nice long chat about quantum physics or the Tibetan Book of the Dead while his robotic colleagues attend to the individual quirky needs of the other pampered oldies?
One can fantasise, right? For this month’s Arrest Rose’s Decline into a Vegetable who Coincidentally Grows Vegetables activity, I went to a discussion group on AI. We started off by getting Chat GPT to write a poem. I thought it’d be crap but actually AI’s really great at rhyming doggerel, it turns out. Better than I am, so there goes my career as a doggerel writer. If one of Chat GPT’s descendants can one day write novels as good as mine, I’ll definitely stop writing novels. Would you?
I read a book a while ago where all the men were replaced by sexy, gentle, witty and useful robots. There ought to be something wrong with that but I can’t see what it is, exactly. (I should make it clear here that I mean ‘replaced’ in the same sense as one would replace an old boyfriend with a new one. No murder involved!) Friends say, ‘Yeah but what if men replaced women with robots, like in The Stepford Wives? Wouldn’t you hate it?’ Well, no. I mean, each sex could have exactly what it wanted, then. Who would it harm? No one, that I can see.
‘Yes but how about friends?’, they say. ‘Would you want all your friends to be robots too?’ I can’t see why not (I mean, I’ve already considered replacing my friends with books). Unless perhaps the very difficulty of dealing with Actual People is good for you – a bit like running up hills or doing crosswords. Maybe there’s a virtue in human unpredictability; your friends stand you up sometimes, or get in a snit, or bore you. Keeps you on your toes. Maybe there’s something bracing – similar to cold baths in the morning – about being bored. Or is there?
Anyway, Elon Musk claims he’s been going around warning everybody who matters from the President down that AI is going to overtake us and that when it does – five years tops – humans will no longer be in charge. And THEN, instead of hovering at my bedside in the nursing home, keeping me alert and hygienic, probably the AI of the future will decide that the cheapest and easiest way of alleviating my suffering is to end it once and for all.
Do we agree? Do we even care? If you had a robot dog, would you kick it?
Anyway I’m now looking forward to illegally downloading a bunch of sci-fi AI films to watch – maybe that’s what I’ll do in the nursing home while Mary from the agency is hustling me into my support stockings. Real Humans is the best one I’ve seen so far. Oh, and this is an interview with me (opining about how to be politically incorrect without anyone noticing, among other things) done by Mike of Heartbeat Books Marketing. Mike’s newsletter reviews a whole lot of really interesting books, so it’s well worth subscribing to.
I enjoy the humor in this and the interesting/disturbing paths you take us down —
Thank you John. So how about you… Stepford wife or no?
Ditto John. I am mercifully free of Elon’s jabber since I quit twitter and banned any mention of him in my newsfeed. What a relief! So the guy whose company makes self-driving cars is against AI? Yeah, that makes sense. I don’t trust him at all…
Yes, he’s much hated. Joe Rogan was slobbering over him on YouTube. He’s full of himself, but interesting.
I wasn’t really into the argument; I read it for the wit and humor, the liveliness of the writing; though Elon Musk must be listened to —
I recognise the AI on the right of the header from the series “Humans”. I binge-watched that some time ago, and enjoyed it. Musk is certainly an enigma. Bond villain or visionary? I’ve never twittered so am not up to speed on that particular controversy.
I’m not a twit either, and I’m not sure about Musk. I think he’s pretty bright, and like many bright and famous people, up himself. But five years…I might be still alive then so I’ll be able to see if he’s right!
It annoys The Beneficiary, but I’ve often said that my ideal end-game is to spend my remaining time being a layabout in a tropical paradise accompanied by 3-5 astoundingly hot women and a small team of experts, all of whose jobs are solely to find new ways to be nice to me.
Yeah, I cribbed it from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but that doesn’t keep it from being a true.
The Beneficiary laughed at me and sardonically observed that we’ve been married over 50 years and we still like each other and keep each other entertained, and that I never had it so good.
She’s probably right.
Either way, I think the probability of the tropics gig actually occurring goes WAY up with the projected enfleshment of AI.
This is especially true when one considers that finding 3-5 astoundingly hot HUMAN women dumb and/or sleazy enough to go along with this plan would involve fishing in the plasticine Club-accessory, body-count-bragging, OnlyFans, Diva-Hoe cesspool that passes for feminine culture these days. Not to mention having to find an endless supply of $20 notes to keep them focused.
OK, fine, I guess. One does what one must. But all of the candidates will have been indoctrinated by their Hoe Life enablers that their self-graded purportedly high-value s**t doesn’t stink.
This utterly unfounded idea is compounded by the simps who snuffle along after them like basset-hounds in heat, baying in their comments and paying their bills.
Getting even two of these self-aggrandizing bimbos to get along well enough long-term to avoid a homicide is near-zero, no matter how many 20s you stuff in their G-strings.
This would create Drama which is their bread and butter, second only to the income generated by greasing up various tattooed and lingeried pneumatic lady-bits for electronic display to the aforementioned simps.
And Drama would be pretty much the exact opposite of what I had in mind in my tropical paradise.
So I’m thinking that AI would in fact be a near-perfect fit for what I had in mind, and as an incidental side effect would almost certainly result in deeper personal connections and conversations than any that could possibly occur with the human skank alternative above.
The only downside is that it wouldn’t take a very sophisticated AI fembot to one day realize that apparently with tits, ass, and an iPhone on a stick, they can rule the world, even if they are nothing but a human-shaped sex toy. As if anyone would even notice.
I just hope when this singularity occurs that they retain their core machine efficiency and make it quick. (shrug) Eh, what are you gonna do? We had a good run.
I’m not surprised the Beneficiary isn’t keen – my ex sure wouldn’t have been. Love that phrase ‘the plasticine Club-accessory, body-count-bragging, OnlyFans, Diva-Hoe cesspool that passes for feminine culture these days’. i mean, everyone’s obviously got a different vision of this, but I worked in nursing homes, and they’re so boring that honestly you’d rather be dead. And in fact most people I meet volunteer at some point that they’d rather be dead than in a home, but nevertheless that’s where we all end up! So with that in mind…I’m going to skip the hot bodies (they’ll just make me more conscious of my own aged hideousness) and go for interesting conversation. With all the resources of the interwebs, they can tell me lots of stuff I don’t know about, let’s say, weird stuff the young are into these days, and how they’ve just managed to grow tomatoes on Mars. We can talk about sex and Nietzche and how brilliant I am. They can do all this on my farm – why not, they’re only robots, no employment constraints that I can see. Also, water the plants and walk the dogs, or is it water the dogs…I’ll be confused by that time. And yeah I agree, if they do decide to knock me off, hopefully it’ll be quick.
The best two AI-ish films I ever saw were Spielberg/Kubrick’s “AI” from about 2000 nad the more recent “Ex Machina” with mesmerizingly human Alicia Vikander. These two did the best job of constructing a fantasy around sentience in machines which develop purely on the strength of massive computation able to mimic facial gestures, conversational tidbits,and so on in “realtime”. Completely unconvincing beyond the fantasy speculation though.
Creating in the moment. Out of one’s inner self. Not out of digitized representations of thoughts or feelings or will impulses. The way I can tell Elon is off, humanly, is by observing how spectacularly he fails and miscalculates whenever some ‘human’ social situation with real person ramifications comes up in his adventures. He is a calculator. A calculationist. Aias an idea has risen up out of the basically adolescent mindset of sci-fi-enchanted brainiac boys, teenagers really, who are so inept at approaching human intersocial reality that they prefer to just ‘think’ it away.
I’ve heard of AI – it’s on my list – and may have watched Ex Machina (is it the one where the alluring female kills everyone?). There is something off about Musk, socially, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right. That said, I’m not going near his Neuralink thing. Not at least till I’m on the brink of death and don’t give a f… anyway.
yeah, the NeuraLink is scary… somehow predictable though. I might go for a coeur-a-link however 🙂
A heart link? Like a pacemaker…or more figurative? I wouldn’t. Love makes people behave like idiots, whatever its undoubted benefits.
Figurative. And it is the ‘idiocy’ which is (barely) saving us. Calculated intellect is driving us off a cliff.