Gosh seems like decades since a scribbled a few things on here. Glad to be back.
I was extra sad when Winter ABC had to happen in the month I had exams this year, but this week’s theme was super exhilarating. Business and Tech. I am definitely leaning towards the Tech for this blog post.
For the past couple of years, I have been fascinated by the notion of Artificial Human Intelligence. This was triggered in 2019 when I participated in an International competition where the question to be addressed involved a W.A.L.L (Weaponized Autonomous Limitation Line) that was set up at the boundary of two belligerent countries inorder to ensure that whoever breached the peace, would be brought to justice, without any form of human intervention. This thing had been designed and filled with information from across the world on identifying any form of resistance inorder to combat it. This same weapon had been used by many despotic regimes to stay in power and an argument had been made against it.
I had also been following the creation of drones and the attacks happening using these drones, but the whole aspect of creating a whole automated machine that was said to have the ability to respond to outbreaks and lawlessness with a false positive of 0.000% definitely intrigued me.
Before I let my passion get carried away, for those reading who might not know, Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the stimulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. [source: Investopedia.org] It is the ability of a machine to perform various commands, based on information being fed into it, and the capability for it to respond with very minimal human interference. Infact! Why am I using many words to explain AI when Vision in Avengers was an AI. My work here might as well be done. *Tihee* I digress.
Anyhow, my interest in the subject was further spurred when I watched Black Mirror, a thrilling NetFlix show, on the recommendation of a couple of my friends. This series cemented my desire to actually study the nature and response of artificial human intelligence and the aspect of liability with regard to who can be held responsible in instances of harm or damage caused by the machine. For starters, Black Mirror is a series of independent episodes with one common theme; Artificial human intelligence. The ability of a chip or an application to do a couple of things that might even have legal implications, was portrayed through out the series. (I’ve been told to also watch Love, Death and Robots, can’t wait to!)
To put this into perspective, ill talk about two of my preferred episodes in Black Mirror. Preferred because they had a lot of questions left unanswered regarding regulating these autonomous devices created by human beings.
The first episode I’ll talk about is White Christmas. In this episode, there was a chip that was created that had the mental version of a person, made from reading and absorbing the likes and wants of the host body, and then, being made as an assistant of the host. I don’t know if this makes sense but literally, a smaller you was created and put into a chip to organize for the bigger you. It was literally trapped and enslaved into that chip. Your conscience locked up to work for you *absurd, I know*. Anyways, this chip was used to get a confession from a certain gentleman who had committed murder, but it was done using the smaller conscious version of him and he was convicted based on that testimony.
This episode in particular spurred my curiosity on how such a confession could be used to convict a person who did not even know that that confession was gotten. Technology was used to create something that was later used by the same persons for a good cause, but to what end?
Anyways the second episode that intrigued me was Be Right Back. It was basically about an online service that helped people reconnect with their loved ones who had died, by absorbing all the data fed to them, inclusive of pictures, videos and likes, and recreating that same person online, with whom conversations could be had. In this particular episode, the protagonist lost her boyfriend and signed up for this program, but her need went beyond the need to speak and reconnect online, and so they gave her the option of physically brewing the deceased boyfriend. This was the creepiest because they actually created a flesh like body into which they installed all the data that had been collected from the memories of the deceased person and the person was actually recreated.
In short, the ends to which technology is headed, would need some form of legal regulation because in the event that harm was occasioned by the fleshy substitute in the last episode I mentioned, who would be held accountable? The online entity from which it was purchased does not have a physical person or location from which one can say they will sue and physically arraign them in court. Would it be a civil or criminal action?
The same question arises with the use of cryptocurrency which Benjie vehemently discussed in his piece written yesterday. The vast uncertainty of who would be held liable in case of online theft or any errors which may occur is such a big bet.
I might be speaking like this because I have the biased opinion of a lawyer who is always looking for solutions in instances of disagreement or breach let alone harm, but technology sure has come to make so many things easier especially with the creation of cryptocurrency and artificial human intelligence but there still so many blurred lines that need to be straightened before we fully get into the wave of the Tech Revolution.
I hope that one day I’d be able to answer this question.
I also hope that I have not confused you though. Ha-ha I still have so many unanswered questions but do let me know what you think about artificial human intelligence and whether as Africa, we are ready to use and adopt it.