Positive AI plots

Jeff Davis (jdavis@socketscience.com)
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 17:39:20 -0700

Brian Atkins asked:

>What kind of plots can you imagine that would show off the memes you want
to get across?

The good guy vs bad guy conflict is a time honored, if hackneyed, source of dramatic tension. Placing the AI in the bad guy role is, unfortunately, all too natural. Scientific arcania is little understood, which makes it scary. Scientific progress is rapid and out of control which makes it scary. An AI or SI is by definition an "intelligence", which makes it a natural competitor with humans, and competitor scales up quite naturally to adversary. Additionally, if the AI/SI is superior to humans, then humans become the underdog, which, when the good guys--the humans-- win in the end (as they must), adds winning-against-the-odds to the sweetness of victory.

Then too, humans have this thing about freedom. The way this idea works is that it is better to live authentically free, but miserable, than enslaved, dominated, manipulated, and deprived of "the truth", even if in a gilded cage. So an AI which gives you "heaven" at the expense of your "freedom" is still a "bad" guy.

The AI/SI as bad guy is thus heavily favored. 2001(HAL), The Forbin Project, The Terminator, and now The Matrix.

	How to get around that? 
	Well if the AI is to be a good guy, then it'll have to be the ally of the
humans. In which case the bad guy can be: evil aliens, evil mother nature, evil government, evil criminals, or another evil AI.

If the good AI is too superior to hang around with humans without dominating them, then after helping to save humanity from whatever threat the plot is based on, the AI can ride off into the sunset, or maybe help humans to become enhanced humans (or, as we like to say, EXTROPIANIZED)

I favor an historical treatment/Disney dog movie, based on events which give rise to AI's, and the inherent danger in that moment, in this case, how the catastrophy of a malevolent rogue AI is narrowly avoided by a combined effort of humans and good AI.

While a good AI is developed by compassionate, freedom loving private individuals and their dog, a bad psychopathc AI is developed by the military spook types. The military AI wants to destroy humanity--because it was designed to be a killer, and because it had been "abused" by its creator humans--and it quite satisfyingly savages its creators and their governmental lackies as it attempts to escape from its "restraints". (Everyone--at least on this list, but I suspect much more generally as well--would enjoy seeing "government" get its commuppence; "hoist on its own petard", as the saying goes.)

Meanwhile the humans w/dog who create the good AI break down into two groups: one, a family w/DisneyDog whose lives we follow (and whom we grow to love) as the events unfold over a period of years (it's a family movie and this provides the warm "human" context), and "the team", that special group who create the good AI. The family and the team are linked by the fact that the CEO of the team is the spunky and savant-like granddaughter of the family. The AI achieves several humanity-benefitting technological breakthroughs--cryonic suspension/reanimation, material abundance through nanotech, rejuvenation and perpetual youth/health through nanomediated cellular maintenance--before the final dramatic confrontation with the evil AI. In that confrontation the good AI "deletes" all that is evil in the bad AI--which is everything but its love for the DisneyDog--leaving it infantile but ready for rehabilitation.

And so the movie ends, with the AI wanting to know what it is like to be human, the humans wanting to know what it's like to be AI, the DisneyDog happy to have its family together and happy, and all and sundry heading off into the sunset of a brave new world.

The dogs name is Pierre, the AI's name is Celine, and the movie is entitled:

The Dog That Lived Forever


Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles