Link to U.S. News Article "Google Seeks Kill Switch for Rogue Artificial Intelligence"
I came across an interesting article in my Google news feed (see link above) that deals with the subject of artificial intelligence and technology. This subject has been in the news a lot recently and unless you pay no attention to technology news, you've probably read something about it or seen a movie or TV show about it.
Recently Emily and I watched 2 TV programs that deal with robotics and how society is changed or impacted by robots that are run with A.I. One called "HUMANS" deals with a group of robots who have been given sentience by their designer and how the authorities want to deal with them (basically control them and figure out how not to let this happen again). The other show EXTANT has a "boy" (a humaniform robot) who is adopted (literally) by the robot's designer and his wife. Things get out of control when they discover a government conspiracy involving the discovery of an alien life form seeking to contact, maybe invade earth. So the robot with AI is more tangential to the story. In both stories, we are confronted with questions of how we can deal with A.I. as it becomes more and more a part of our lives.
In the case of the news article above, we are confronted with the question of what do we do when our technology makes a bad decision if something goes wrong? If we entrust our lives to these A.I. cars, will we be safe? How can we trust it? Right now A.I. is only on the level of machines (robots are not widespread), but eventually we will see robots more and more. The more interesting question is robots with A.I. How do we interact with them? What happens if something goes wrong and a human life is at stake?
Isaac Asimov in his robot series of books was ahead of his time in dealing with these questions. The books are worth reading. As always, technology impacts society. Conversely, society will shape technology and invent new technology. We need to make good decisions about how far we will adopt A.I. technology. It won't be easy. We will make mistakes along the way (hopefully not fatal ones).
In EXTANT at a presentation that the robot boy's father was giving, an audience member was asking what happens if something goes wrong, will there be a way to "kill" the robot? The dad was offended because he saw the robot as if he were a real human being. He asked, do you have a child. "Yes" was the reply. He asked, "Do you have plans to murder your child if they do something wrong". A kill switch in a car makes sense. We want to be ultimately in control of a car. As A.I. expands though, I don't think the question will be so clear cut.