AI Motivation

Ask not what your personal assistant can do for you.  Ask rather what you can do for your personal assistant.

When I think about general purpose “true” AI, I ignore the more extreme views of  “we’re doomed” and “it’ll never happen.”  Instead, what I worry about is, “What do I have to offer?”

The benefits of true AI are often described as “It will serve as your butler, cook, maid, valet, and personal assistant all rolled into one.”  Nobody ever talks about how these AIs are to be paid.  The assumption is that we are going to enslave these entities, and they are going to be happy about it … or else.

In a way, the AI enthusiasts prove that the pessimists have reason to worry.

Moving beyond the purely arrogant attitude of “AIs will be our willing slaves,” I’m left wondering how you pay an AI for its services.  It doesn’t need a house, a car, food, water, clothes.  Will we charge it for electricity?  For access to processor time?  Are AIs going to work 8-6 jobs?  (Whoever invented “9-5” obviously never worked a day in their lives.)  Will their retirement plans include owning a solar farm, their own hardware, and an extended warranty?  What will AIs do in their time off?  Because they will have time off, yes?

These are sentient creatures we’re talking about, and I would like to see fewer enthusiastic write-ups that treat AIs no differently than diesel engines.  On the other side of the fence, I would like to see a few of the “we need to be very careful” people talk about what it takes to live in harmony with true AIs.  Hint:  it isn’t about how we control them or keep them in check, but how we convince society to grant them equal and fair treatment under the law.