I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I know it's been pointed out a lot before, but the trajectory of technology seems destined for HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Are we heading towards HAL or a brave new world or utopia or just really helpful and awesome technology?
Facebook's second day keynote had a lot to do with AI (artificial intelligence), VR (virtual reality), and connectedness. One of the speakers compared teaching machines to teaching children:
Similar to how we teach our children we teach AI, teaching them our values.
Facebook is starting what they call Fairness Flow, algorithms to measure bias as AI learns. It's one of multiple tools to "teach them human ethics."
They are doing a lot of work to train AI fairness and to have ethics. They went to lengths to explain and demonstrate this, particularly given the past year of security breaches and misuse on the Facebook platform. However it's hard not to consider it an overly utopian notion that a lot of people will distrust.
Facebook also point out that this technology now seems inevitable and that the good guys must win. It's like a new arms race where the missiles are technology and computers themselves.
Note that Facebook is not alone in this quest, I'm just picking on them since I'm at their conference.
The speaker concludes: "It requires all of us to teach it."
Hmm, but even with our ethics, our values, we can still say "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." In fact that's more common than agreement amongst us!