Can AI and Humanity Coexist?

 

     It’s all over the net.  If you haven’t seen it you’re probably living in a cave somewhere writing with an old fashioned pen on notebook paper.  AI and the pending demise of humanity have become mainstream news.  Sci-Fi has been talking about this since the 1950’s so we should not be surprised to find it standing at our doorstep.

     Heck, there is even a software program writing screen plays.  Supposedly, the plays aren’t terrible (though I have not seen one so I cannot say for certain).  I don’t know, maybe it’s me but how can a robot, or a software application possibly reach into the heart of humanity when it has zero understanding or comprehension about emotion?  Stories, at least stories that have any chance in the marketplace have a few benchmarks they must meet.  One, is there has to be some sort of emotional content, they must make us feel something.  Two, there has to be purpose that leads to change in the protagonist. 

     I’m not saying it can’t be done.  What I am asking is why would it be done?  Yet, humanity is ever resourceful; creative to an extreme.  Sometimes our desire to create something has nothing to do with needs.  We come up with an idea and chase it.  Someone wants to create a program to write best sellers, well, he could conceivably make a lot of money doing that.  Yet, I have strong doubts such programs will ever replace you and me.  Writing stories comes from the heart.  They come from our interaction with the world and the people in it.  Machines can never experience that in quite the same way.  They will never understand heartbreak of a failed relationship.  They will never understand the loss one feels when a life mate passes.  They will never understand the visceral fear that shivers through the body when someone sticks a gun in your face.  They have never felt the pain or aftermath of having a bullet pierce their skin.  On the other hand, if they are running things, why should they write stories at all?  They will have no need of entertainment.

     Whether AI can completely displace humanity is a question only time will answer.  Yet, there is little doubt robots are cheaper to purchase and maintain than keeping mistake prone humans working and paying them (Especially in light of ever increasing minimum wages.  In China, the company who makes Apple Computers just displaced 60,000 workers with robotic equipment.  With continued innovations in technology it seems that cost differential is growing wider and wider.  How far has it gone?  A former CEO for McDonalds says that minimum wage jobs in their restaurants will soon disappear.  Those people can be and will be replaced with robotic equipment.  No more high school jobs for teens, no more spending money for college students.  Walmart is even in the game developing a robot shopping cart that will follow shoppers in the store.  Will it also spout information about the latest sale items or ask if we would like to apply for a Walmart credit card? 

Challenge 4:

    Write a story about survival.  The singularity has occurred.  Humans for the most part are obsolete, though pockets of software engineers worldwide are ‘working’ in AI directed research programs.  How are humans fairing in this new world?  Is it a utopian world of pleasure and fun?  Or have we devolved into a post-apocalyptic planet of misery where humans scratch for survival?  What is the standing order for the cyber police concerning humans?  Is anyone offering resistance to this world?  Who and why?