The original and ideal humans-AI relationship
When you open your eyes in the morning, the sunlight sprinkles on your body and you feel incredibly comfortable. You get dressed and go to the dining room, the robot butler has already prepared breakfast and is just waiting for the whole family to sit down and enjoy it together. After chatting with the robot, you put on the coat handed to you by the robot and are about to go out, when suddenly there is a knock on the door …… Wait a minute, is this in 2038? Oh no, this is actually the year 2077, just now the scene from the video game “Fallout”. The household robot mentioned in it is called Mr. Handy. Mr. Handy is a nuclear-powered, multi-purpose robot with a strong retro design. Mr. Handy is a nuclear-powered multipurpose robot with a strong retro feel to its design. Its impressive number of arms (six at first, then three) seems to suggest that it is a good choice for a household robot. This reflects the most primitive need for a robot or AI – to help people do their jobs. The relationship between humans and AI is like that of master and servant, which reminds me of Asimov’s three laws of robotics, which seems to be the most ideal situation in the future.
Today, AI has appeared in all corners of life. If the smart assistants in IoT devices still have some remnants of the last era, the emergence of Chat GPT has shocked many people. While people are still happily sharing tips on “how to recognize AI-generated images,” AI’s capabilities are advancing at a rapid pace. On the other hand, humans have been much slower, so much so that there is no law governing the use of AI. This makes me worry whether we will be able to adapt to the speed of AI development in the future.
AI enters human society
Now imagine that you are a baby. As you open your eyes, a warm hand takes you into its arms and this kind lady begins to sing to you and teach you to read and write. You think of her as your mother. After you learned to walk, a tall, sturdy man began to take you for exercise and patiently teach you knowledge. You thought of him as your father. The days went by until your 18th birthday when you opened your eyes after making a wish and blowing out the candles in front of the birthday cake. There was a strange man and woman standing in front of you, and you were told that they were your real parents, and you felt dazed for a moment. Yes, you were actually raised by an AI. You can’t accept this at all and your world collapses.
At this point, humans have entered a new stage. Humans at this point are also no longer satisfied with AI helping them with simple tasks or answering questions, they start throwing everything that distresses or bores them at AI, even including raising their children. As technology advances, robots will look more and more similar to humans, and AI will become more and more capable so that eventually humans will be completely unable to distinguish between humans and robots. With the widespread application of AI technology, AI and robots will gradually become synonymous. There are many works of art that have explored the relationship between humans and “androids”, such as Alien, Cyberpunk 2077, and Detroit: Become Human. At this point, humanity seems to be divided into two groups. One part rejects AI, hoping to maintain human purity, while the other part embraces AI, hoping to become one with it.
You open your eyes once again. This time you seem to be in an underground world, with no sky overhead, replaced by a dim concrete dome. Your body is covered with oil stains and the smell of smoke is all around you. People around you are running around busily, with occasional sounds of urging and scolding in the distance. Just as you are feeling puzzled, there is a strange noise coming from above your head. You look up and find that the concrete dome has been drilled with many holes, and countless mechanical squid are burrowing out of the holes and swooping down …… Yes, this is a scene from the movie “The Matrix”. This movie builds an anti-utopian world: humans lose the war with robots and are imprisoned by robots in nutrition tanks. Everyone’s consciousness is fed into the server and no one can realize that they live in a virtual world until the protagonist starts to rebel against it. This is a typical pessimistic vision of the future, where humans are defeated by AI.
The video game Stellaris from Paradox offers another possibility. There is an interesting setting in the game: the Fallen Empire. For various reasons, the people of the empire have given up on “conquering the universe”. They may have uploaded their consciousness to the cloud. After all, compared to the dark and cold deep space, this cradle woven with AI technology and other technologies is so warm and comfortable. While there is a hint of irony in this imagining of the future, you can hardly deny that it is an optimistic prediction. Such a future is also indeed irresistible to many people.
In this way, the future described in “The Matrix” seems pessimistic enough, but is it really so? In my opinion, if things have developed to this point, then humans can completely put down the wariness of AI. After all, the capabilities of AI have surpassed that of humans by a lot at this time, and they are likely to no longer be willing to serve such lazy and stupid creatures, let alone covet their meager value. They may directly abandon humans and the earth, and go to more distant places alone to pursue their ideals. But from the human point of view, perhaps this is the most disappointing ending.
I think it is very interesting to know how different people imagine the future from literature and art. I hope that in this course, I can also construct my own imagination of the future, look for positive and optimistic possibilities, and reflect on the position and responsibility of human beings relative to AI.
Eddie Makuch(2016), Fallout Art<https://www.gamespot.com/articles/fallout-4-here-are-300-plus-new-names-codsworth-ca/1100-6441533/>
Brian McGleenon(2023), OpenAI<https://news.yahoo.com/chat-gpt-ai-tool-112100132.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAF8iZrnte7yJZj_kunHEshDK7ypsCRtP3rUIIl2rg7QxjkPXafkH2JHTQuXrurKHeEZw4RwIhdyp4n1Qt2YvvZKJiFDU638-G-aV2RJ_bQCkkJlN4OwsXsQxElU2w-eCSE_VMjBTFjRLRJncVsOqxFawm39JTAjiaNkrBLFOonrX>
Steam, No title<https://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/1222140/>
Antoine Meory(2015), The Battle for Zion<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6nOUyO2AaI>
Paradox, Stellaris art<https://rare-gallery.com/4521603-stellaris-spaceship.html>