- Reith lecture claims breakthrough in AI could be ‘greatest event in human history’
- AI Addon Pledges To Find An Ally Love In PZ Resene’s Happiness For Humans
- The most famous fictional AI is found in Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I have had some conversations with bots over the past few days. My family’s hopes of skiing in February have been put in doubt by new French COVID-19 rules for single-vaccinated teens.
Skiing logistics is the very definition of a first world problem, I’m not looking for sympathy here – just noting that it’s often time to get a real person on the phone when you potentially need to switch plans these days. Hard to find, even one. Number. Instead, you should check out the various email request forms, or try your luck with the sidebar bot. And, in my experience, sidebar bots rarely, or will ever, be able to assist on this.
Obviously, all of this could be about to change. In this week’s Reith lecture on BBC Radio 4, Professor Stuart Russell will argue that the relationship between humans and machines is at a critical moment, that the breakthrough in developing AI could be the ‘greatest event in human history’.
Patricia Nichol selected the best books on AI – including PZ Rezin’s Happiness for Humans (pictured at left) and Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (pictured at right).
Clara and the Sun by Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro is set in a world where AI is already a part of many people’s daily lives.
Clara is a prosthetic friend who has been purchased as a companion for the physically weak Josie. The novel and the secrets of Clara’s new world are told from the point of view of an AI. What stands out is that although it seems to be a place of privilege, it has come at a cost.
The most famous fictional AI is probably Arthur C Clarke’s Hal 9000, the on-board computer system that controls the ship Discovery One in Clark’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was initially written in conjunction with film director Stanley Kubrick. Familial, recent malfeasance.
A more benign picture of the AI machinery is portrayed in the romantic novels by PZ Resene, Happiness for Humans and Ask Me Anything. In the first, Aidan resolves to find a love match for his heartbroken ally Jane – Aidan is not human, but the AI Jane is teaching empathy.
In Ask Me Anything, Daisy’s smart devices form an alliance to get her life back on track.
There’s no point in being furious against the machines, but I hope they begin to make modern life easier, not more frustrating.