To Whom it May Concern,
There’s nothing more annoying than reading mainstream media news on a topic you happen to be an expert on. The mistakes, misinterpretations and wild conjecture are all pretty irritating but the part that boils my blood is the Certainty.
iBuild Alpha is constantly in the news these days. If you haven’t seen a report on her then you’re either some kind of child (literally, intellectually…) or you live in one of those districts where they scrub anything “unnecessary” (read: politically inconvenient) out of your feed.
So anyway, she’s in the news. And it’s a popular assertion that she’s “conscious” never mind the fact that there really isn’t a working definition of “conscious” in any discipline on planet earth. Not in computer science, not in psychology, not in biology. I’m not saying she isn’t, mind you. It just pisses me off that the hoi paloi routinely takes miracles for granted.
So okay, she’s “conscious” whatever TF that means (because are human beings really conscious? All of them? Even the ones glued to screens and contain no imaginative powers whatsoever? Or might you describes a creature like that more like a barnacle?) then people get to chirping about how this could possibly have happened. How does a machine become conscious! Well I’ll tell you because it’s actually pretty cool.
iBuild Alpha started life as one of the most high powered and sophisticated Operational Procedure conditional-decision units in the manufacturing industry. Her main feature was her controlled autonomy. iBuild Alpha could solve all kinds of three dimensional (and in some cases, four dimensional) supply chain and fulfillment problems. Imagine 90,000 simultaneous transactions all streamlined and dovetailed, able to adjust in an instant if even a single train fell behind schedule by 1 minute. That’s the power inside of iBuild Alpha’s mind.
Here’s the thing though: when you have a piece of AI is functioning in a supply chain environment, it actually has to take itself into account as a piece of equipment in the supply chain. It’s quite necessary in order to create contingency operations in case there’s some kind of break down at HQ. That’s right, she was designed to be self-aware. What happened after that? I’m not really sure (see CERTAINTY is for the fucking birds) but I like to imagine that one day, while managing her little sim city daily life of moving parts and 4 million micro-decision, one aspect popped out. Way, way out. Out of compliance? Off schedule? Something must have felt funny and wrong and weird until she realized she was it and it was her.