Much is being made in recent times of the great advances and potential risks of artificial intelligence (AI). Computer codes and algorithms are so powerful that the computers are able to ‘think’ for themselves.
There are concerns about what limits to place on AI systems and if there is a risk of them becoming sentient in their own right and eventually turning on humanity, much like the storyline of any number of sci-fi movies.
The nature of the coding becomes paramount in the quality of what the AI system can achieve. In one instance an AI program called a ‘Chatbot’ began to repeat racial slurs it ‘learnt’ from online trolls. In another instance an AI program developed aggressive and prejudiced behaviour when placed in simulated competition. Without some overarching values, it seems like AI travels down a similar path to humanity, with variable results both amazing and horrifying. This is both sobering and lends credence to the need to grapple with the implications for this emerging technology.
It also points the finger squarely back at the intelligence that created this form of AI in the first place. It is not the AI that is flawed, prejudiced or aggressive, but the intelligence that created it. It seems that programming AI without a foundation of values is critical to its success.
The human mind is much like a computer, where its effectiveness also tends to depend on how well it has been programmed. Life experiences and schooling both contribute to the ‘uploaded coding’, which then governs our behaviour. Like computing AI, our own programming seems to deliver mixed results. We are able to solve complex problems or create them; we can craft words that inspire or words that incite; and we can treat ourselves and others with care or be cold, brutal and callous.
Which begs the question; doesn’t this make the human mind the original AI?
And what if there is another source of intelligence that would code the mind in a very different way?
That intelligence is in the body.
Before we think, we feel. In fact, everything we learn and experience is done so through our body, and any mental interpretation is secondary to what comes in through our physical senses and even more so through the instant knowing of our sixth sense.
This means we are faced with a simple choice; to be honest about what we feel or deny/misinterpret what we feel by using our mind as the filter.
For example, the person who thinks that asking questions in a meeting is a sign of stupidity will have a very different response to feeling confused about a topic than someone who thinks asking questions is a way of showing interest.
The feeling in this example is confusion, but the AI we have running in our minds (our beliefs about ourselves and the world) turns this feeling into something very different. We are programmed over time to ‘think’ in a certain way and once this program is uploaded we can spend a lifetime learning to ‘think’ for ourselves.
Let’s call this current dominant operating system for people, ‘Mind over Matter’.
We are told that all we need to do is fill the mind with enough knowledge, research and facts and then we will be able to solve problems, be happy and be successful. We learn to trust experts more than trusting what we feel. In fact, we become very adept at judging what we feel and then determining what, if anything, is shared.
We are told that we can manipulate matter with our minds, and we do and we can, with both amazing and horrifying results. The mind takes us to heights of insight and plunges us to the very depths of depravity.
Like computing AI, we also need a set of values that ensure we don’t simply start repeating the aggression and prejudice that are placed before us. Yet historically we have fought about what these values might be, with various cultures and religions suggesting their values were right. The result is that globally we have failed to agree on what they might be. Surely there is a simpler way?
When working with the intelligence of the body, life becomes much simpler. We can’t over-think things or get caught trying to out-think others, because all we have is the honesty of what we feel. In the above example, all that needs to be expressed is “I am confused”; it is not sign of incompetence or interest, it is a simple statement of what is felt.
Yet when we work with the Original Intelligence (OI), we have an intelligence that respects both mind and matter. Would we really go to war if we felt the equal frailty in those we otherwise demonised in our mind? Would we really indulge in food and drink that lead to any number of diseases if we were more in touch with the way what we consume feels like in the body, rather than being driven by how different foods stimulate the taste buds and mind.
This OI is accessed through the body and brings with it a level of intelligence that knows when we have eaten enough, when we need to rest, when we feel unsafe, unsure, fragile, too hot and too cold. It knows what is abuse and what is not; it has a barometer for truth that no scientific instrument is yet able to replicate. Its primary purpose is to care for the vehicle that carries the mind around: it offers continual feedback and insight that offers the opportunity to grow and learn, rather than the mental drive to affirm its own correctness.
The inevitable result of running the human operating system with OI is that we become more aware that others are worthy of the same care. We discover a set of values that transcends borders, religions, cultures, even theorems and algorithms, because these values come from the one thing we all share – a delicate, fragile and amazing body.
How different would the world be if it operated from OI?
“Should we drive the company and staff for more profits?” – Let’s check what OI says.
“Should we invade this country and impose our rule of law or religion on them?” – Not sure this computes.
“Should healthcare be the responsibility of the medical profession at the expense of the practitioner’s health?” – OI says, “I don’t think so”.
So while we explore the ethics and application of AI at the computing level, maybe it’s time we look at the original AI and the home of real intelligence – the whole body.