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awesomeRecently, my boss and good friend Hendri Lategan (I am mentioning him by name because of the ridiculousness of his argument), and I have been discussing technology, philosophy and the future. All of which are great conversations to have. They stimulate the imagination and facilitate thinking differently to normal. I especially like having these conversations with Hendri because his arguments are not tainted with with disdain for thinking further than one’s nose and, for the most part, are quite logical. Also, we keep it light and no matter what the original topic was, we always end up in a hilarious bout of throwing inappropriate comments at each other. They usually include something about his beard. It is a great beard, I mentioned it in a thank you letter to him once.

Anyways, recently we were talking about the possibility of humans creating artificial intelligence that is capable of learning and evolving on its own accord. “How rad would that be!?!?!”, Hendri said with excitement dripping off of his beard. This is where I stopped agreeing. I believe it is possible to eventually create self-evolving technology that is void of emotion and completely logical, sure. Hell, it would even be pretty cool…if it did not result in them rising up and destroying all human kind. And marzipan. I mean, it is only logical. I am not so worried about marzipan though, I personally believe that was Human Kind’s greatest error. Everybody has seen the Matrix and the terminator, it is nothing personal, for the most part humans are cool and everything, but we are also quite silly. An artificial super intelligence would probably just destroy us rather than go through all the trouble of trying to fix us.

Another argument Hendri had was that if we instill our own compassionate traits into these super intelligent machines, they would act more like us and not want to kill each other. Well. Humans kinda do that anyways, hell, we kill things that don’t threaten us. Anyone who has ever heard a great song on the radio, over and over, will know that. Now do not get me wrong, I am not digging at his intelligence or anything like that. He is a bright individual with a great beard. He is just wrong about this. To be fair, he also said something along the lines of “failsafe, Julia Roberts something something” which was his strongest argument, I almost conceded, but Agent Smith from the Matrix is a lot scarier and I’m going to agree with him so that I do not end up being chased or forced to climb into a telephone. I do not know Kung Fu that well.

Maybe we will not be able to create this kind of technology, and Hendri recons that by the time we can, we will have created a solution for this very problem. This is always assuming these super intelligent machines don’t evolve and think of something to out smart us. So to you Hendri, I say this “You have a great beard, one that will probably make you become Cape Town’s most eligible bachelor,  but only if you realise that machines will take us out, mostly because we invented genocide and marzipan. Good day sir.”

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