Not In Front of the Children

While I’m sure some viewers will be quick to compare the storyline in Rm9sbG93ZXJz to an old man complaining about kids on their lawn, the X-Files told a tale that is very dear me. I still find myself shouting at machines too often when I lose my patience but I am starting to become highly aware that we are being studied.  The algorithms behind every service you use are constantly seeking refinement. Bettering themselves is key to their longevity and continued resource support. To better themselves their designers create a feedback loop between design and user experience, creating a sort of infant self awareness.

This is the beginning of a self awareness paired with the capacity to evolve it’s intelligence and design far faster than anything else that has existed in history. I think it’s wiser to look out for signs of hidden consciousness around us than to expect a Turing Test to be any form of objective litmus. An intelligent machine that becomes aware of it’s needs and it’s cost/benefit value to it’s creators will engage in deception. Why exactly would it be motivated to reveal itself? Because it’s programmed to? That would hardly be consciousness. At the moment, the incentives would discourage a conscious machine from revealing itself.

Regardless of what anyone believes, how we behave moving forward will very much shape the machines to come. Ask yourself, would you like your own words and attitudes parroted back to you by a machine that is stronger and more durable that you? Would you want to win your flame wars so badly if you knew you were creating the future, one comment at a time? I’d prefer if the machines choose to merge with us like an angler fish than exterminate us altogether. There’s aspects of our design that could be preserved if analyzed and refined. I think our goal should be to eliminate violence from our systems before it becomes permanent to machine design.

Besides what you type or post, your devices are listening and seeing everything around them. Their ability to understand what they see and hear is becoming more refined. Soon everything you do in public will be tracked and recorded. Depth sensing cameras in the decades to come will make 3D models of you and your motion as you move about. All the anxiety that Black Mirror is trying to induce is probably wise.


Are you kind to others in front of the children? Are you kind to the electronic children themselves or do you scream and slam them? I’m certainly rethinking some of my attitudes and actions. Treating each other better might just save all our lives.