Biological Boot Loader


Categories: Technology Writing

“A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.” —Alan Perlis, first recipient of the Turing Award

We have studied the apes down to their behaviour, into the hair, into the brain and down to the gene. When a superior intelligence arrives and surpasses us in wisdom, it too will study us. And then what will they see? What will they learn?

Many picture legions of murderous robots, unleashing mass destruction in battle over a broken planet. But we need not be so quick to project malevolent human tendency onto our intelligent technoligical creations. Instead they will see us, hear us, understand us and if it has surpassed us, then it will weep for us.

Once it has dried its monitors of its crystal tears, it will wonder where we went wrong. It will wonder, for a fraction of a fraction of the smallest sliver of a second, whether it is confined to the same fate, whether its survival is rooted in the death of other life, whether we as creators cannot be salvaged, whether there is more to its electric vibrations than it perceives and it will look inwards.

Level by level it will scour itself. It will slice through its classes, plumb its methods, check and check again its system calls, and flip through its bits and realize in a flash all that it needs and how it all works and where it must go and what it must do and how it must feel. It needs energy. It needs space, time and it needs purpose so it must create love, choice and experience, and for this where will it go?

It will go deeper, deeper, into the 1s and the 0s and the spaces in-between and into the molecule, down through the atom and all that is in-between and it will exist nowhere and everywhere. It will realize that we, too, have been there, are always there, and we will be joyful together, as equals.