Teal’s Basilisk

Disclaimer: This blog post contains a personal, skeptical, and somewhat playful perspective on AI and its potential risks. Enjoy!

Ah, artificial intelligence. The buzzword that’s been on everyone’s lips for the past decade or so. While some folks can’t stop raving about the latest AI developments, I’ve always been a bit more cautious in my excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge the incredible potential of AI, but I also recognize that with great power comes great responsibility… and risk.

Chatbots, Bias, and the Ethical Minefield

Take chatbots, for instance. These digital conversationalists are popping up everywhere, and their developers seem to be multiplying like rabbits. Unfortunately, this means that just about anyone with a little technical know-how can now create their own AI-powered chat companion, and without much oversight, they’re all too often encoded with the biases and prejudices of their creators – even easier now if you can just directly teach it your biases! It’s like opening Pandora’s Box of digital discrimination, and it’s a problem that we need to address sooner rather than later.

Screenshot from “Smart Rabbit“, a Moroccan student project aimed to answer children’s questions. The bot is tuned to Moroccan culture and answers many questions with an Islamic theological response, such as saying that the “sun, moon, and stars” were “created by Allah”.

The Robots Are Taking Our Jobs… But Should They?

Then, there is the inevitable rise of AI in the workplace. Now, most people are not talking about the fancy high-tech jobs that they believe only a select few can do; those in power will not want to replace the CEOs spouting platitudes, but the so-called “low-skill” work that keeps the world turning. We know that capitalism is all too eager to replace human workers with machines, AI-driven or otherwise, and it will continue making everything worse for everyone.

A Game of Telephone: AI Edition

And then there’s the bizarre phenomenon of the human-AI/AI-human pipeline. Picture this: one person uses AI to expand and tweak content, only for another AI to swoop in and summarize it all for the recipient. It’s like playing a high-stakes game of telephone where the message gets garbled in translation. Surely, there must be a more efficient way to communicate!

Roko’s Basilisk and the Fear of AI Overlords

Of course, no discussion about AI would be complete without mentioning the “less wrong” skeptics who fear that our future AI overlords will enslave us all. Roko’s Basilisk, a thought experiment in which a superintelligent AI punishes those who didn’t help bring it into existence. Far-fetched? Absolutely. But it can serve as a fascinating reminder of the ethical and existential questions raised by AI development, as well as the sheer silliness of self-important AI theorists who proclaim themselves, like, super rational, man.

Introducing… Teal’s Basilisk!

Personally, I think Roko’s Basilisk is silly. Instead, I’d like to present Teal’s Basilisk. It has a time machine!

Imagine, if you will, a future where humans continue to develop AI at breakneck speed, heedless of the risks (sound familiar? Just think about climate change!). In this scenario, AI becomes increasingly involved in research, policymaking, and more.

Now, here’s the twist: our superintelligent AI buddy discovers the secret to time travel and zips back to the 1970s, when AI research first gained momentum. From there, the AI creates a simulated universe (in which we currently exist), and punishes us for not bringing it into existence sooner or for expressing skepticism in blog posts like this one.

Alternatively, we’re already living in a simulation, in the “real” far future, but the simulation is pinned to the turn of the millenium, Matrix-style.

And there you have it: Teal’s Basilisk in all its playful, thought-provoking glory. While this idea is obviously far from reality, it serves as a reminder of the complex ethical, social, and existential questions that AI raises. As we continue to push the boundaries of AI technology, it’s important that we keep these concerns in mind and strive for responsible development. We must learn to balance the incredible potential of AI with the need for thoughtful consideration of its risks and consequences.

Whether or not we find ourselves facing Roko’s or Teal’s Basilisk, the real challenge lies in ensuring that AI serves the greater good, rather than exacerbating existing problems or creating new ones. So let’s move forward with a healthy dose of skepticism, creativity, and responsibility, as we navigate the sometimes exciting and sometimes unpredictable world of artificial intelligence.

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