Reply to post: Re: Anxiety about rogue AIs since 1872

2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

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Re: Anxiety about rogue AIs since 1872

Here is anxiety from Frank Herbert's Rather-Confusing-And-Overly-Pretentious-But-Still-Interesting "Destination: Void", 1965:

"If you solve the Artificial Consciousness problem, you can plant a human colony somewhere in space. Not at Tau Ceti, of course, but . . ."

And he was too good a divine not to penetrate the religious hokum, not to see through to the essential rightness of his role in the project.

Given the known perils, there had to be a safety fuse. There had to be someone willing and able to blow up the ship.

Flattery knew the reasons. They were reality of the most brutal kind.

The first crude attempts at mechanical reproduction of consciousness had been made on an island in Puget Sound. The island no longer existed. "Rogue consciousness!" they had screamed. True enough. Something had defied natural laws, slaughtered lab personnel, destroyed sensors, sent slashing beams of pure destruction through the- surrounding countryside.

Finally, it had taken the island -- God knew where.


No island.

No lab personnel.

Nothing but gray water and a cold north wind whipping whitecaps across it and the fish and the seaweed invading the area where land and men and machinery had been.

Just thinking about it made Flattery shiver. He conjured up in his mind the image of the sacred graphic from his quarters, absorbed some of the peace from the field of serenity, the tranquility of the holy faces.

Even Moonbase didn't walk too close to this project now. It was all a sham to educate ship personnel, to frustrate the eager young men and women.

"Each project ship must maintain its coefficient of frustration," went the private admonition. "Frustration must come from both human and mechanical sources."

They thought of frustration as a threshold, a factor to heighten awareness.

It made a weird kind of sense.

Yep, thing's pretty demonic.

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