Are All Our Machines Potential Terminators?
Robots conspiring with each other to wipe out — or at least control — the human race is the stuff of blockbusters. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a fortune, after all, personifying the amorphous fear in many minds about the potential danger of artificial intelligence. The notion of benign home appliances chatting with each other to “help” their owners certainly does not fill all humans with boundless gratitude. And the prospect of a machine-managed life eventually spiralling out of human control would not seem at all unlikely to the average technophobe. Nor does scientists airily poohpoohing the idea of their creations developing a mind of their own — quite literally — allay fears as long as Frankenstein’s monster remains a favourite trope. So Facebook team denying that its bots had to be shut down because they had developed their own language that sounded like gibberish to their human ‘bosses’, seemed eerily part like any Terminator or Person of Interest script. Doomsayers can also be forgiven for conjecturing that these bots — and others — may instead be still ‘talking’ and plotting even as their “creators” loftily decry the idea of ever being outwitted by mere machines. They would be chuckling in particular at the supreme arrogance of flesh-and-blood mortals deeming their intelligence to be “artificial”.