Monday, October 27, 2008

Bad Ideas: #16,478

So it appears that one Selmer Bringsjord, a researcher at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has created "E," an electronic personality construct - sort of the primitive ancestor of an artificially intelligent entity - designed to represent the embodiment of evil. The idea, supposedly, is to study E in order to learn more about human evil.

There is no way this could possibly go wrong. Nope, no sir, no way at all.

Bonus: Bringsjord is using Asimov's Laws of Robotics to keep E on a tight leash. "'Because I have a lot of faith in this approach,' he says, 'E will be controlled.'"

Editor's Note: I am deeply enamored of the idea of artificial intelligence and it is only by a supreme effort of rational will that I keep myself from becoming a transhumanist and singularitarian (both of which positions are, given the current state of technology, narcotically appealing to those of a nerdy bent but logically indefensible); I simply think that perhaps it's not a good idea to let an electronic personality designed to be pure evil loose on the world.