AI and free will

AI and free will

The past computer victory in the Google DeepMind challenge made me wonder if this talking about true AI makes sense at all.

First of all, against what level of intellect are we measuring computers? If we think about geniuses like Einstein, we might argue that computers are not there yet. But what about the average person? Even though a person is very far behind the level of Einstein, we never doubt about that person being intelligent. In other words, just because one is not the smartest, it does not mean he’s not intelligent.

Others talk about computers not having any form of creativity. In this case the same reasoning can apply. Computer cannot compete against the likes of Picasso but then again I am not Picasso and neither is 99.9% of the world population. Does that mean no one has any creativity?

Those arguing in terms of artificial intelligence or creativity, I think miss the main point, which is: free will.

The key question is: will computers and AI have free will?

Can we imagine computers taking over humankind to control the world? I am not sure this could happen but if it does, it might not be the worst scenario. I think so because if computers will develop free will, they will also have developed such a level of intellect that they will make a better use of it than mankind has in the past. They will make a better use of earth’s limited resources and, hopefully, have more respect for other forms of life.

The real scary scenario instead is when computers will be extremely powerful in terms of AI but with no free will. This means that they will still be controlled by people; not the masses but those few who will win access to this unimaginable power. Then we’ll have the perfect storm: human beings coupled with and astonishingly powerful machine to control the other humans. Now I can see the future pictured in movies like 1984 or Brazil and I don’t like it.

So after all, we might be better off if computers will be truly intelligent, whatever that means, and have free will.


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