Re: Nice review of Robots in fiction ...
>Iain M. Banks is self indulgent fantasy.
To be self indulgent is point of fantasy. Self awareness is throughout Bank's 'A Few Notes On The Culture', an excerpt from which is here:
Certainly there are arguments against the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, but they tend to boil down to one of three assertions: one, that there is some vital field or other presently intangible influence exclusive to biological life - perhaps even carbon-based biological life - which may eventually fall within the remit of scientific understanding but which cannot be emulated in any other form (all of which is neither impossible nor likely); two, that self-awareness resides in a supernatural soul - presumably linked to a broad-based occult system involving gods or a god, reincarnation or whatever - and which one assumes can never be understood scientifically (equally improbable, though I do write as an atheist); and, three, that matter cannot become self-aware (or more precisely that it cannot support any informational formulation which might be said to be self-aware or taken together with its material substrate exhibit the signs of self-awareness). ...I leave all the more than nominally self-aware readers to spot the logical problem with that argument.
It is, of course, entirely possible that real AIs will refuse to have anything to do with their human creators (or rather, perhaps, the human creators of their non-human creators), but assuming that they do - and the design of their software may be amenable to optimization in this regard - I would argue that it is quite possible they would agree to help further the aims of their source civilisation (a contention we'll return to shortly). At this point, regardless of whatever alterations humanity might impose on itself through genetic manipulation, humanity would no longer be a one-sentience-type species. The future of our species would affect, be affected by and coexist with the future of the AI life-forms we create.
-Iain M Banks
(Sun-Earther Iain El-Bonko Banks of North Queensferry)
Copyright 1994 Iain M Banks
Commercial use only by permission.
Other uses, distribution, reproduction, tearing to shreds etc are freely encouraged provided the source is acknowledged.