I count electric sheep

Today lets talk about AI, artificial intelligence. What is it and what will it do to us.

Even though there are mentions of intelligent machines like the mechanical Turk, I think the first artificial intelligence could be the Jacquard punch card loom.

So far the most apparent AI is decision making, if this then that. Based on a event, a yes or no question is answered. Our most recent AI innovation is the voice assistant on your smartphone. You are able to ask a question and have it parsed and answered by a system that takes into account your location, email, contacts and search history to offer up the most likely answer.

Will AI be in charge of our safety? We do have some robots protecting us, the intelligent cruise control that slows you down and brakes the car if needed. Anti locking brake systems. automated thermostats controlling the temperature of our homes.

Could they rise up against us? In Isaac Asimov’s collection of stories titled “I Robot”, he proposes that robots will help us and have three basic rules to control their behavior.


  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

While there are several science fiction stories that propose our computer/robotic overlords are already in charge, for the most part, our robots have not risen to the level that these rules can be programmed. Some feel that the rules may fall short of protecting us in their simplicity.


Can AI have a soul?

Some religions believe that only man can have a soul. Others that animals carry the spirits of our ancestors as we make our way through existence. Still others that the whole of creation is in us all, evens the objects around us.

What’s your thoughts on AI and robotic servants?

About jcoffey

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