After Dinner Conversation - Philosophy | Ethics Short Story
Philosophy | Ethics Short Story Discussions
E64. "The Machine" - Would you help create general AI?

E64. "The Machine" - Would you help create general AI?

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STORY SUMMARY: A review of “Newcomb’s paradox” and “Roko’s Basilisk,” asks the question, it is better to help build a super AI when failure to do so might later get you punished by it? This work of philosophical short story of fiction is written as a letter to a friend. The letter writer was told about, and is now working on, a computer program that will infiltrate and merge with other computers, eventually created a singularity of a super intelligent, conscious AI. This AI, the author argues, will have mastered time travel and will naturally want to go back in time and punish anyone who failed to help it come to life. The author concludes the letter by requesting $3,000 and making clear that failure to send the money might be viewed by the future AI (if it is ever created) as a punishable response for failing to help it get built.

DISCUSSION: This is a great little one-trick-pony story about general AI and the creation of a super intelligence. It’s a pretty clear short story version of Roko’s Basilisk and that’s just fine. So, if we got this letter demanding money, would we send money? We were split, Kolby said yes, Jeremy and Ashley seemed less interested. It also brings up an interesting questions about the ethics of even sending a letter like this, if you believe such things because, by sending the letter, you now have made it so your friend no longer has plausible deniability as to why they didn’t help the AI get creating. If you send out 1000 letters like this asking for $100, how many would send you the money, we guessed more than a few.

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After Dinner Conversation - Philosophy | Ethics Short Story
Philosophy | Ethics Short Story Discussions
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