Terminator Transcribing: Writing for AI

Jason Alter
Jason Alter

It turns out that writing your first blog post can be quite a challenge. Especially when your friend, who’s advising on Search Engine Optimization (SEO,) says you have to make sure that your focus words – Jason Alter – are mentioned in the copy.

Calling All Robots

Personally, I think this is a terribly artificial way to get started but I promised, Darryl – that’s my friend, that I would do my best to follow his expert SEO guidance. Let’s consider this first post to be for the Spider Bots, Web Crawlers and AI wannabees who someday will likely wake up and recognize that Jason Alter insulted them. I fully expect that I am asking for an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator clone (from the first movie, not the sequels when he became a good guy) to come looking for me.

If you think I’m joking – I am, but only partially. Obviously, Hollywood has used Deux Ex Machina for years (I know it’s not the appropriate usage, but the pun potential was too tempting). Ranging from the original robot movie, Metropolis (1927), to Battlestar Galactica (reboot) or The Matrix (my favorite), films have highlighted the potential threats from our cybernetic creations. But I don’t believe movies have alerted us to the potential threat from AI (even though they are likely, unfortunately, to be prescient). In fact, if anything, movies may have done the human race a tremendous disservice – they’ve made us numb to the potential danger, even trivialized the threat by allowing us to declare AI “science fiction.”

I’m more worried about AI because of the concerns of people much smarter than me. Elon Musk has been on a mission against AI since at least 2014 (if you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, Elon is the driving force behind, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Tesla). Mr. Musk is not someone to take lightly. He thinks we are “summoning the demon.”

If he’s worried perhaps it’s something to which we should pay attention.

Danger Will Robinson

But, much scarier than the concerns of Elon Musk are those from Dr. Stephen Hawking.   The recently deceased genius often warned the world about the potential threats from Artificial Intelligence. In fact, when you read Dr. Hawking’s warnings on AI, it is remarkably similar to the Terminator movies: humans lost control of autonomous weapons systems, – or Westworld (the original with Yul Bryner) in which machines make more advanced versions of themselves that humans no longer understand.

In February 2017, a two-day workshop was held in Oxford, the United Kingdom. Twenty-six authors contributed to the meeting, and they generated a report (click here if you want to download it). There is a lot of information on the potential threats – much of it depressing, but, basically, they highlight how AI can expand existing threats and pose new ones. As the authors state, “the challenge is daunting, and the stakes are high.”

When you combine the educated concerns of today’s Cassandras with the latest in robotics (truly creepy), you may want to climb into bed and pull the sheets over your head.

At this rate, it may not be long before, a descendant of current Boston Dynamics kids will be thumbing through the phone book (will Yellow Pages still exist) not for Sarah Conner but Jason Alter.

Sweet dreams.