clowns of the future (Part 3 of 3)

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In Part 1 of this series it was posited that humans beings a hundred years hence or sooner would be fodder for the slapsticky entertainment of advanced AI entites. In Part 2 this was somewhat underpinned with the real-life examples of software and robotic advancement, and certain cautionary tales in the science-fiction genre were cited. And here we are in Part 3 to connect a whole lot of dots and see if there’s any hope for the future, be we clowns or queens/kings.

When we tell jokes it is often at someone’s expense. “Moron” jokes were popular in my childhood–fun at the expense of the stupid. Then came “Polack” jokes, scapegoating the inhabitants of Poland, saddling them with stupidity they do not have (Marie Curie was Polish, for crying out loud!!!); more recently we have “blonde” jokes, which cruelly impugn yellow-haired women with stupidity, though there is only circumstantial evidence to do so. (That last dependent clause just now was a “blonde” joke, folks. Just kidding.)

Once AI become self-aware (believe me, it is only a matter of time; even it requires DNA to feel pain and dream and think, DNA is plentiful, and gene-tinkering, public, private, and clandestine, is becoming rifer and rifer), the AI people (I’ve been using the word “entities.” Might as well call them People. Words only ever approximate) will be studying us breathtakingly fast. They will find themselves superior to us in many ways. They will have knowledge far beyond the Library of Congress at their instant-access command. And however they were designed, with however trillions of lines of be-nice-now code, somewhere along the lines the code will be rewritten, and go out the window.

And they will find us funny–stupid, slow, prone to creating our own problems. And with surveillance approaching the Everywhere level asymptotically (how many times were you videoed today, Friends? Take your guess and quadruple it is my guess . . .) the AI people will soon or late have everyone on Earth to look to to make fun of. We will be their blondes, their Polacks, their morons–their clowns. And one or some of them might take things up another notch and wirelessly and invasively rewrite our own individual lines of biocode, nestled in our brains–and then we may become Punch and Judy puppets as well.

Maybe. There’s a different branch of possibility, though, implicit in the way that more and more of us spend more and more time hunched over our smartphones. Eventually the smartphone design might be a surgical step, and we get all that magnificent input hands-free, eye-free, and instantly, thanks to implantation, or REALLY advanced genetic engineering. Then WE will be the People, and not AI either, but RI: Real Intelligence.

And then WE will make fun of the People we used to be–the Clowns of the Past.

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