The Sermon on the Modem?

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Followed by a fashion show for the Emperor’s new clothes…

How long are we going to make like we believed in the Artificial Intelligence scam? I think we have to stop when the computer starts lecturing to us on morality.

In a “debate”–I mean a simulated debate–between an international debating champion and the “AI-powered IBM Debater,” addressing the question of whether the government should subsidize pre-schools, the computer “said”–that is, it delivered a programmed response–that “Giving opportunities to the less fortunate should be a moral obligation for any human being” (

Is this a satire? ‘Fraid not: we’re supposed to take it seriously. A computer’s moral compass. Of course, had it been programmed by someone else with a very different set of “values,” it might have said, “The kindest thing we can do for the less fortunate is to kill them and use them as fertilizer.” It would be just as meaningful as the other: a robot saying what it has been programmed to say. There is no intelligence involved, artificial or otherwise. It is only a machine mindlessly repeating what it has been programmed to say.

One of the reviewers said the computer was “surprisingly charming and human-sounding.” They could have just as easily programmed it to sound like Dracula.

Why are so many people willing to swallow this–hook, line, and sinker? Why can’t they grasp the fact that the machine is not “thinking,” it is only performing simulations of things that humans say and do. It is not alive. It is not a person. It’s a machine, like your toaster-oven–only more expensive. And more pretentious. At least they haven’t yet invented a toaster-oven that harangues you about Climbit Change every time you want to toast an English muffin.

“Yeah, but it’s Artificial Intelligence!”

Just can’t get through to people, can we?

19 comments on “The Sermon on the Modem?

  1. I wonder how long before they start saying that machines have “rights” too, and we shouldn’t treat them like slaves. Good-bye toasters.

  2. My home boy once told me when he learned that real cops weren’t being murdered in his video game “Grand Theft Auto” he immediately went over to AI and swears by AI. How do I break this to him?

    1. I told him to watch more action movies, but I really think this might just make it worse.

    2. The point i’m making is that what masks for entertainment these days seems so real with all this wild technology that it’s a short step into the twilight zone of an AI “believe it or not” magical moment.

  3. LOL.

    God gave us free will but we still pray “‘Your’ will be done.” So not only would I not trust myself to make me perfect, if i could program myself, but I definitely wouldn’t trust a socialist programmer either. My will is to be on the right side of left.

  4. “Giving opportunities to the less fortunate should be a moral obligation for any human being”

    Stupid me; I wanted to get my moral standards from the Creator, not a created machine. 🙂

  5. While what you write is true about machines being programmed yet there is a danger of control of electronics from a spiritual realm. This will be more human-like and extremely deceptive.

  6. If that moralizing computer turned into Jet-Jauguar and had programmed itself to be 100 X bigger and blurted out its own version of the 10 Commandments, I guess maybe then we should bow to it. Maybe that statue in Revelation is really a computer of some kind.

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