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"We must think about the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence and brain enhancement before it's too late"

This is what Prof. Jonathan Glover, of King's College London, one of the nine winners of the Dan David Prize, and one of the three who won the prize in the present time dimension given this year to researchers in the field of bioethics, says in an interview with the Hidan website. The awards ceremony took place on Sunday at Tel Aviv University

Prof. Jonathan Klover receives the Dan David Award for the present time dimension, for his research in the field of bioethics from the hands of Gabriela David, wife of the late Dan David, and the chairman of the award committee, Prof. Itamar Rabinovitch. Photo: Israel Hadari, for the Dan David Prize
Prof. Jonathan Klover receives the Dan David Award for the present time dimension, for his research in the field of bioethics from the hands of Gabriela David, wife of the late Dan David, and the chairman of the award committee, Prof. Itamar Rabinovitch. Photo: Israel Hadari, for the Dan David Prize Foundation

"We must think about the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence and brain enhancement before it's too late." This is what Prof. Jonathan Glover, of King's College London, one of the nine winners of the Dan David Prize, and one of the three who won the prize in the present time dimension given this year to researchers in the field of bioethics, says in an interview with the Hidan website.

The Dan David Awards ceremony was held on Sunday this week, 6/5/18 for the 17th time at Tel Aviv University in the presence of the family of businessman Dan David who founded the foundation and participated in the first ten ceremonies - his wife Gabriela and his son Ariel.

Prof. Glover received the Dan David Award for his original contribution to the theoretical aspects of bioethics: for leading the research agenda in many subjects, especially in the field of Human Enhancement and fertility ethics. His original research covers different and varied topics, including human nature, war and the Holocaust, ethics in genetics, neuroethics and psychiatric issues. Prof. Glover shared the prize for the field of bioethics with two other researchers, Prof. Ezekiel Emanuel from the University of Pennsylvania and Baroness Marie Warnock.
First Prof. Glover addressed this in the words of thanks he gave on behalf of the winners of the bioethics category. "You chose to give honor to the field of bioethics. It's an interesting topic, but we are not a uniform group - we have scientists, doctors, theologians, lawyers and philosophers among us. The field is said to be a nest of songbirds. Sometimes I would say, it's more of a nest of angry birds."

"Bioethics is a regulation designed to prevent harm, codes of medical ethics, laws that regulate areas such as abortions. However, we also hold open discussions intended for the future, planning how to deal with possible future scientific developments before it is too late, such as in the field of nuclear weapons which we remembered to deal with after a weapon is developed. During the development itself, no public discussions were held. "

Two things we need to start thinking about now. The first is reading their thoughts from their brain activity (watching the movie inside our head). George Orwell wrote in his book 1984: "A few centimeters in the passage of our skull are the only private space left". Now this space is also threatened. The second field is artificial intelligence that will overcome our biological limitations. On this subject, I quote Ray Kurzweil in his book "The Singularity" Biological minds will be replaced by non-biological minds that will come from future computers. Can we be sure that these artificial minds will have awareness? The natural mind evolved as the universe's way of being aware of itself. "

A group photo of the 2018 Dan David Prize winners. Photo: Israel Hadari, for the Dan David Prize Foundation
A group photo of the 2018 Dan David Prize winners. Photo: Israel Hadari, for the Dan David Prize Foundation

Prof. Glover has been involved in the field of bioethics for many years, in an interview with the science website the day after the ceremony in which he delivered these words, he explains how he has accompanied the field since its inception. "In the last fifty years, there have been many developments in the field of medicine that have led to improvements in the areas of the beginning of life, the end of life and the quality of life in between, when life expectancy increases. All these issues have moral aspects, 35 years ago I wrote a book in which I analyzed what we should do in the event that genetic selection becomes possible (as manifested in the field of in vitro fertilization which was then still in the experimental stage of AB). I was particularly interested in this question because we have here on the one hand parents who want a healthy child who will have a good start in life. On the other hand, hovered over the shadow of Nazi eugenics, and the idea of ​​creating a superior race. The big difference is the ability to choose. In England and also in Israel, when a fetus with Down's syndrome is detected, the doctors recommend that the pregnancy be carried to term, and the parents are the ones who have to decide. Some parents will say that they want to raise the child, even if he has Down syndrome and are not ready to have an abortion. This is completely different from what the Nazis did because the Nazis had an ideology that was based on the wrong idea of ​​social Darwinism. According to this ideology, nations or races are in an evolutionary or Darwinian struggle that can only be won if you have a pool of good genes. The Nazis were mistaken in thinking they were in a race with the Slavs in Russia or the English and French. Today we allow parents a choice. That's not what the Nazis did. They decided that the state is the one that should decide and that the state does not want people with disabilities. This later led to the murder of psychiatric patients in hospitals. It is the same ideology that led to the genocide at the hands of the Nazis."

Why are you concerned about the development in computer science that will lead to the development of artificial intelligence and the improvement of the human brain?

Artificial intelligence is developing at a time when the human race is still morally immature. I think it's like a nuclear weapon. We did not have a discussion before nuclear weapons were actually used. I don't think we'll get to the singularity that quickly but we still need to start talking to them now. It is true that artificial intelligence will help develop things that will help us and improve the quality of our lives, but on the other hand, it is very difficult to criticize the development, and a good reason to prevent the development.

In other words, we live in a world where there are violent struggles all over the world, in Ukraine, Crimea, Sri Lanka, North and South Korea, the Israelis and the Palestinians, and therefore I believe that every country will want to develop weapons based on artificial intelligence, just as a nuclear race has started. I guess it would be hard for the Pentagon to refuse such a weapon development offer. We can develop machines based on artificial intelligence that can suddenly eliminate the enemy's army. I guess it would be difficult for the Pentagon to refuse an offer to develop such a weapon. I don't see Putin saying no. That's why I'm afraid because they will continue on the path, even if the Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and tranquility, the crises in Ukraine and the Crimea are resolved, the Korean half is united and denuclearized, if the crisis in Sri Lanka is resolved, maybe in such a situation we won't have to fear artificial intelligence. But there is no sign that these crises are going to be resolved, so I am also concerned about artificial intelligence.

And why are you afraid of improving the human brain through an interface with computers?
I am concerned about others having access to our minds and personalities. I am afraid that this will develop gradually, just as they developed an implant that allows the disabled to control the movement of the wheelchair with the power of thought, not something that anyone can oppose, nor will there be any opposition to the development of a brain implant that will allow the cessation of addiction, but when there is one implant followed by another and one more, we can replace the the whole brain and know what's going on inside it before we understand what happened. In particular, we don't want to let the government know what we are thinking about, which is the reason for the link I made to Orwell's book 1984. Have we already reached the Orwellian age, in my opinion not yet, but again, you have to think about it in advance.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

7 תגובות

  1. Suppose there is some animal. For example: a lizard, a fly, and everything else...
    What interests her in life?
    1]. beware of lunatics.
    2]. be protected from extreme weather conditions.
    3]. eat and drink
    4]. reproduce.
    5]. Rest in a safe place and gather strength.
    All her life she is busy with these 5 tasks of an animal.
    All her thoughts are constantly given to planning and executing these 5 tasks.
    a question:
    Is it possible to clearly define that this animal has consciousness?
    the answer :
    Yes, of course.
    And this is an ad consisting of only 5 variables.
    Does the person's awareness consist of a greater number of variables?
    We believe so, and therefore, to our perception, our awareness is much more complex. consists not only of 5 variables but of many more.
    How many variables does our awareness consist of?
    At first thought we tend to think that our awareness consists of thousands and maybe tens of thousands of variables.
    I assume that, research and scientific investigation of the issue will show that the number of variables that make up the consciousness of the (average) person is indeed greater than that of the fly, but not by much, maybe by 10%, maybe by 25%? certainly not 100-200%
    About the same as the difference in the amount of genetic load between the fly and man.

  2. skeptic
    You assume that there is such an awareness thing, and you assume on top of that, that it must be concentrated in a small area. The existence of awareness depends on its definition, and I do not know of a single definition that is accepted by everyone. In my opinion, too

  3. Assuming that it is possible to generate awareness in a system that is not biologically based, there is no guarantee that the awareness will do the
    this system for better or worse than a system without awareness,
    And also who is supposed to decide if this is moral because there is no agreed upon moral standard among the human race, every ideology whether religious or secular has its own moral standard, we see it in people with an awareness system
    That doesn't stop them from killing each other, the Daesh people who have the awareness are convinced that the respected professor is an infidel for everything that needs to be destroyed and they have the purest moral gospel, so making the machine aware will not guarantee that it will be nicer, we are the proof of that.
    In addition, awareness is a system that was created during evolution and allowed individuals with awareness to survive,
    It was not created for the universe so that it could observe itself as far as it can be said that we are part of the universe and as a result when we observe the universe it is a part of the universe that observes itself but there is no scientific basis for the universe as a general system
    There is an integrative awareness that connects it to one thinking system, even the maximum speed of information transmission known to us today is limited in the universe to the speed of light, this is not exactly an indication to create intelligent that each thought takes tens of billions of years to pass

  4. You can forget about it - there won't be, at least not in this century, any device that can imitate, let alone surpass, human intelligence.... And I mean at the level of sophistication such as speaking, creativity, managing tasks and the like. ..

    A cockroach is smarter than the most sophisticated robot...

  5. In my view, the entire train of thought and logic expressed by Prof. Jonathan Glover in the above interview, seem to me and to my surprise, outdated and simplistic. I will try to explain this simply in three points:
    A]. These words and scaremongering warnings have been uttered throughout the history of scientific development. Whether it is artificial abortions or heart and brain surgeries or space exploration or any scientific-technological innovation, the roots of blackness arise and warn against human interference in the act of creation.
    B]. Just as no one currently has any idea about the range of capabilities and development of artificial intelligence, no one has any idea about the range of capabilities and development of the human brain. It is very possible that the human brain has not yet exhausted even 10% of its potential.
    third]. No one in the world has any idea, what is the direction of the development of scientific research, not only in the field of artificial intelligence, but in all fields of scientific research. This is the nature of scientific research, future discoveries are still unknown. Therefore, it is also impossible to know what to be careful of. Everything else is a guess that will probably turn out to be a mistake in the future.

  6. It's very complicated, I'll think about it and come to conclusions after upgrading my brain.

    But even in the non-upgraded state, one can notice that "the natural mind evolved as a way for the universe to be aware of itself" is a meaningless statement, and alternatively one can argue that artificial intelligence and superintelligence is the way for the universe to be more aware of itself.

  7. Fascinating topic, thanks for the article.
    Two paragraphs caught my eye:
    1. “Can we be sure that these artificial minds will be conscious? The natural mind evolved as the universe's way of being aware of itself. "
    2. "Artificial intelligence is developing at a time when the human race is not yet morally mature...it is very difficult to criticize the development, and a good reason to prevent the development".
    Regarding 1: It is difficult to understand why Glover is interested in making machines aware. Given that we know how to define awareness and that it is even possible to impart awareness to a machine, the potential for danger, to the extent that it exists, actually increases with such an alternative.
    Regarding 2: You can agree with the opening, unfortunately, and it is also quite clear that the control will be difficult. But the truth is that normal institutional control cannot be hermetic, and from this comes a conclusion opposite to that reached by Glover: development must be strived for, including the parallel development of neutralization and protection measures built into the systems and embedded in the production procedures. This is also what will happen: everything that can be developed on one side can be developed against it on the other side - the limiting and neutralizing development. At the level of the national/global policy - the policy that will be adopted is on the budgetary and investment level no less than professional: it is an economic policy that will be differential between the fields, together with regulations as well as specific control strategies.

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