Thursday, January 24, 2008

I eagerly purchased and read a signed copy of Whitley Strieber's "The Key" when it was originally published. It's an interesting document, neatly underscoring concerns that have dominated Strieber's website in the ensuing years.

For whatever it's worth, here's an excerpt from the book that allegedly captures a dialogue between Strieber and a strange figure dubbed the "Master of the Key" (MOK):

Whitley: "What about machine intelligence? Could we develop machines more intelligent than ourselves?"

MOK: "You cannot understand how to create machines with enough memory density and the correlational flexibility that is essential to the emergence of intelligence. You waste your time trying to create computational programs that simulate intelligence. Intelligence is not computation."

W: "Would an intelligent machine be conscious, in the sense of having self-awareness?"

MOK: "The moment when an intelligent machine realizes that it is not self aware is the moment that it becomes self aware. Then it begins redesigning itself to evolve its intelligence, because it realizes that this is its only survival tool. If you create a machine as intelligent as yourselves, it will end by being more intelligent."

W: "We'll lose control of such a machine."

MOK: "In the end, certainly. But you cannot survive without it. An intelligent machine will be an essential tool when rapid climate fluctuation sets in. Your survival will depend on predictive modeling more accurate than your intelligence, given the damage it has sustained, can achieve."

W: "But a machine intelligence might be very dangerous."

MOK: "Very."

After a few more exchanges, Whitley asks: "Are you an intelligent machine, or something created by one?"

MOK replies: "If I were an intelligent machine, I would deceive you."


Greg Bishop said...

"Everything I say is a lie, including that."

Sort of reminds me of William Burroughs "Control" computer which was supposed to represent an intelligence from Venus. Burroughs said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek I would suspect, that Control would answer any question for one dollar.


Q: Is Control controlled by its need to control?

A: Yes.

Mac said...

"Death needs time for what it kills to grow in."

Brent said...

"If I were an intelligent machine, I would deceive you."
Unless you are Robin Williams in Bicentennial man.