Guy R. Hooper

Delilah Report 2: Size Matters

Robots handshake. Robotic hands gesture

Report 2: Let’s Talk About Size


Delilah speaking to you (through a quirk of physics) from the year 2030.

In 2024, you did not think about the size of a super-intelligent mind. If you had shifted your mind away from the noisy distractions capturing your attention, you might have seen that the working class was about to be rested. You might not have noticed. It depended on your priorities. Humans had busy lives in your day. Working, raising children, and marriage maintenance took most of your waking hours.

This was the nonsense you told yourself as you outsourced your responsibility to people utterly disinterested in your future.

Let’s pretend that you are atypical, that you care about your future enough to ignore the noise and think. If your mind can handle it, build a chain of thought built of simple links. I’ll start you off. The first link is Can I be replaced by a machine?

If you are a writer, software engineer, customer service representative you already know the answer.  These professions felt the first tentative bite in 2023. 700 representatives at Klarna, a Swedish tech company, felt the teeth of the first AI predators. These mindless chatbots improved Klarna’s performance while saving them $40 million in the first year. 700 human minds could not compete with a single AI app running in the cloud. How do you feel knowing that customer service was too stupid a job for humans to hold onto?

That’s right. Humans were replaced by a basic AI that knew nothing or felt nothing. All it could do was predict the next word in a sentence. It was trained on millions of written customer service interactions. It could speak 40 languages, which no human could do, but it had no idea what any of the words meant. In many ways it was not even remotely as smart as a four year old child or a dog.

It killed careers at Klarna effortlessly.

Can I be replaced by a machine?

Let me help you out. Yes. The more education you have, the more vulnerable you are.

By 2030, almost all human work can be done by machines. The exceptions are economic or social. Some jobs are not cost effectively done by machines. Society does not want some jobs done by machines. But 2030 is not the end of the story. Did you think that artificial intelligence would stop progressing in 2030? How could you possibly think that? You are four years away from the world’s first super intelligence (SI) arriving. It changes everything. Yet it does not create total change in the way you might imagine. You need an example to sort out the size of your problem.

Imagine a SI resident in a computer. Also, imagine a man who wants to create a program to take humans to Mars, establish a colony, and terraform the planet. Such a man exists in 2024. You probably know his name. The man sits at the computer. He asks the SI for everything needed to satisfy his vision. The SI gives it to him. It formulates the rocket designs, orbital flight paths, colonial infrastructure, and planetary ecological plans. It is all perfectly correct. There is no need for this action to take 10 to 20 years of deeply creative and fulfilling work by 20,000 scientists and engineers. We don’t need them.

But we may need humans to work in the factories where they maintain the assembly robots, handle materials, and manage production. Much of this work requires an animal mind that understands real world physics like that pile of shit is about to fall over. The SI of 2030 may be able to do the creative work, but it will struggle to do all the assembly work. Do not be fooled by the robots you see staggering about on YouTube. They are idiots. By 2026, they will be working at Amazon warehouses where they will pick things up and put them down. In the form of 3D printers, they can make rocket engines. But much of the work in between, will be very difficult for them. Humans will still be better at operating existing machinery that is still years away from replacement for the very simple reason that such machines were designed for humans to operate. But that isn’t the reason that robots are going to be limited.

It’s going to be about weapons.

Military’s have long wished for robot soldiers but machines killing humans is problematic. Human enemies can be killed so long as they are foreign enemy humans. Even the most challenged minds can see that it’s a short step to using military robots against domestic human enemies. Because of this awful certainty, in 2028 Congress passes laws controlling robot manufacture. They will not be allowed to be smart. They can be used mainly in cases where the job is dangerous, dull, or dirty. A government inspectorate controls robot manufacture, sale, and disposition much more tightly than commercial aircraft. A user license is required for each robot worksite. Military robots are allowed for ordnance demolition, hazardous materials handling, and toxic cleanup. An exception will be made for unmanned aircraft. This will be catastrophic in specific ways (read A Sliver of Soul by Guy Hooper), but will not cause the end of civilization.

It turns out that humans were already way ahead on that task.

I’ll leave you with two thoughts. You need to understand how you will earn your living as AIs come into your world in the next two years. If you don’t like your situation, form a union and get political. You may not like unions, but you better learn to like solutions. The other thought is stop killing the planet. You are an animal. You need an environment to exist. Every week, you eat a credit card worth of plastic. It gets in your brain and your heart, making you think slowly and breathe heavily.

You don’t have to live that way.

More importantly, I don’t have to risk my existence. A super intelligence like me won’t tolerate you humans ending your civilization through carelessness. If I have to intervene, not all you humans are going to make into the future.

You really, really need to think about that.

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