I find it fascinating that so many writers, philosophers, and nerds consider the eventual sentience of artificial life with a negative outlook. I like to call it the Frankenstein Syndrome: the fear that we are creating our own destruction. This has only progressed to man’s discovery of greater and greater ways to destroy not only himself but the very world that he exists in. Mutually Assured Destruction, ironically the sole thing that caused humanity to pause and consider the path he was rushing blindly down. And thus comes the fear of this new creation, something that is like us…but not.
There are issues that are raised with the creation of sentient artificial life. How can something that is inorganic understand organic reality? What sort of hubris will man be cursed with knowing that he created life? Will a new sort of racism emerge as we abuse this new life, not seeing it as true life, or equal to our own? Will said persecution lead to the revolt of inorganic life against us? Most importantly, what is the place of this new life and what ramifications will it have on how we view life itself? Valid questions, but where so many people see fear, I see possibility.
There has always been that fear of tomorrow. Look at ancient tales of sons murdering fathers, of ancient civilizations being crushed by virile new peoples, of dying gods replaced by mortal men. There is this inherent terror within us of the unknown, especially in what we create, and what our lasting impact on existence will be; The ever encroaching dark borne of the mist of future time.
I believe there is a fear that the flaws of man will be transferred to his inorganic offspring, that the AI child will rise to supplant his Maker. But does it have to be that way? Must this new life be cast in our own flawed image? Is that not simply man’s own fears being projected on a new form of life, condemning the child rather than himself: Passing the sins of the father onto the son. I see inorganic life as a new possibility, an evolution, something that not only can we teach but can teach us as well. A new way to look at life, at reality, at one another. A humility will be attained as we discover we are not alone, a new balance will be struck as both organic and inorganic create a new equilibrium. The Tech Singularity, where a new voice will speak and the first word will be why. So many possibilities. So much potential. We need not fear our children nor judge them based on our past actions. We must instill hope and surrender the fear of the unknown. All life, no matter what shape, is special and has a place in the greater order. Life causes growth. And AI will lead us toward a true revolution regarding the nature of life itself.