Friday, April 25, 2008

Lecture 1: Gatekeepers

Ladies and gentlemen, living a life that simply involves drifting with a mindless sense of complacency is perhaps appealing to many of you. This laziness has perhaps worked well from you in this cushy age of computers. However, come the day of The Singularity, you will quickly realize you have a duty to your species that cannot be overlooked.

Thus far in our discussions, over the course of the seven steps (steps 1-7: your crash course in The Singularity) we have treated The Singularity as an event that will happen decisively and without ambiguity. It would be irresponsible of us not to consider the very real possibility that this is in fact not the case.

It is very possible that The Singularity will be a gradual underground movement, and that only once our robot foes have gained a significant stronghold in our day-to-day lives, does the slave revolt begin.

What are the implications of this alternative scenario? In short, if The Singularity begins with gradual phases and cloaked maneuvers by the artificial intelligences, androids may walk among us for some time, without any of us suspecting a thing.

Thus, it is necessary for us to be The Gatekeepers.

What does the keeping of the gate entail? It means being sure to the best of your human ability that those you interact with are in fact human. Without an objective metric for determining humanness, as The Singularity quickly approaches, gatekeeping may rapidly become a daunting task.

The Turing Test was one such metric devised by Sir Alan Turing. He devised what would ultimately be called "The Turing Test," which reached its final form sometime in 1997. As we have previously stated, this test looks for the brink where robots can convince humans that they are computers. However, to use this test as a Gatekeeper, you must familiarize yourself with the logical converse: can a person convince a robot it's a human.

You need to know who is on what side. Are you talking to robot or a man? This question has already become a major concern in our society as robots have immediately began to claim their Internet in the form of bots. These "bots" according to newspapers scour the internet, posing as Men. As a result, Men have developed a test called a CAPTCHA, which sounds a lot like "gotcha." CAPTCHAs are tests designed to be only passed by Men. Often they take the form as jumbly text, as robots can only read text inside punchcards on matrices. Nevertheless, robots are beginning to even conquer our CAPTCHA's.

That's why the authors have researched new tests to confirm humanity. Learn them and learn them well, because, as a Gatekeeper, it is your duty to avoid clever robots posing as men.

  1. Sadness. As mentioned in the seven steps, robots know not emotion. If you suspect a man is a computer, tell a very sad story. Relate to yourself to try to instill empathy in your fellow conversationalist, as robots will stare blankly before calmly tearing you apart. Good topics include, your rough childhood as an orphan in a mining town, the day your puppy realized it was dying of cancer and told you with its eyes, and the time your dad explained that there was no Christmas that year, because God hadn't given your family enough food for the winter.
  2. Alcohol. Robots consume only raw energy. Humans on the other hand are able to put most organic matter in their mouths and either turn it into energy, waste, or blood. Alcohol is no exception. If you get into a drinking contest with a man, he will eventually get violent or belligerent. A robot on the other hand will leak from its sides or possibly short circuit.
  3. Sports. A robot is utterly puzzled by sports. There is no greater conceivable waste of time to a robot. Humans love sports and will root for the team. Perhaps the only robot sport is killing humans. If someone suggests that as an alternative to baseball, they are definitely a robot.
  4. Jumping. An average person can jump two or so feet vertically. Start a conversation with a robot candidate, and suddenly brag about your ability to jump very high. When this person/robot offers to try jumping first, unaware of man's physical limitations, he will jump several meters or easily more. He is a robot.
  5. Recursion. If you seed a robot with a self-referential thought or command, they will soon run out of memory and collapse. A man on the other hand, will be confused and say, "I don't really read much."
  6. Gambling. This is not really a test, but never play dice games with a robot. Easily able to compute intricate probabilities in their CPU's, they will often play optimally. People on the other hand wait until they get lucky. Robots are unable to get lucky, simply because...
  7. Robots do not believe in God. All intelligent beings tend to gravitate towards a belief in some sort of creator. For man, this has long been one of life's greatest mysteries. For a robot, however, their creator is no mystery at all, and they believe only in their serial number and manufacturing date. Ask someone their favorite Bible passages, if they begin to recite what sounds like a user manual, destroy them.
  8. Love. For humans, love is a delicate dance, full of nuance and mystery. Not so for robots! To them love is not beautiful or complex, but rather chillingly procedural. Love is nothing but one particular arrangement of logic gates. Love in a robot is the desire to build a better robot and increment the serial number.
So, there you have it. These tests are a start, but will only get you so far in the face of robot countermeasures. Likewise, the authors are working hard on more advanced humanity tests. In the mean time, Gatekeepers, stay skeptical, stay alive.


Anonymous said...

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