As we move forward introducing robots into our society we have to also fast-forward, at least in mind, to figure out how our society will be once robots are fully integrated. Obviously, it would be very stupid and simple minded to think that the robots of the future will be little more than mere aides at the time of taking decisions. Robots will have all the power of the big data at their peril, will be able to take decisions faster and in a more mature way than we, humans, would do as they would, in theory, lack of the emotions that could biase the right choice. However, as robots learn and become more intelligent than human beings (and the question is not “if?”, the question is “when?” as it will happen for sure) they will start behaving, firstly, based on the patterns that we implant in them.
Something that those looking into the artificial intelligent are scrutining and debating with psychologists and psychiatrists is how to accommodate intelligence into devices (robots) that will have the ability to learn progressively in an arithmetical way, making obsolete previous generations every few months. A “control” seed will have to be put in place if we are to control how they take decisions in the best possible way as far as humans are concerned. If we want to understand what may happen in the future we have to look at how we behave at present since we are going to set the examples of behaviour in the future.
Since we want them to be better than us we will be putting in place only the best of our society. What is the best of our society? Which patterns do we take? Lets see how we behave.
As far as many studies have published our society can be divided (as far as behaviour is concerned) in three parts:
- 20% of all population is what we could consider “good people”, “good citizens”. They would not need rules or laws to do whatever must be done as they would always do the right thing.
- There is a 60% that are just “simple” people as they let themselves go “with the flaw”. They depend on the society they fall into, the people they go with. The way they are educated will form their personality and how their behaviour will turn out to be. Falling in the wrong hands, a sociopath could be formed.
- The last 20% are people for whom rules are setup, becoming more than sociopaths. They could also by psycopaths by nature. Just to be clear, a sociopath is a person whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. They are born with the “ability” to do things in a way that others could find offensive, damaging, against the law…generally perturbing. They just “need” the right support or the wrong influence to become the “bad people” of our society and, in the worst cases, become delinquents. Further more, as far as many studies are concerned, we could find that, at least, between 1% and 2% of all population have psychopath tendencies.
In my opinion the term psychopath has been overused. While a sociopath behaves the way he/she does as a result of exposition to the environment, a psychopath is the “result” of nature (genetic). As the first holds a “learnt” conduct as a product of multiple circumstances (i.e. child trauma) it can also be reverted or, at least, controlled easier than with a psychopath.
At first thought we would say that the ideal robot would fall in the first group, part of the nice 20% “follow the rules” engine that would always take the decisions that are more according to what the society needs…is that what we want? I am not sure. We are looking to progress and excel on what we, human beings, do currently. Since this is the case we need to look at those that are the “stars” of our universe, the ones leading the way and making the difference of our modern world.
This is the point where things become interesting. If we look at the behavioral studies across many companies they all mention something in common: Among the most popular and successful professions there is a higher than usual percentage of psychopaths, with some of them even reaching 20% of psychopath tendencies. How experts define or detect if someone has psychopath tendencies? There is a test called psychopathic personality inventory-revised (PPI-R), test which will try to find personality traits including fearlessness, cold-heartedness, egocentricity, ruthlessness, self-confidence, charisma, dishonesty, and deficits in empathy and conscience. This does not convert everybody taking this test or scoring high in a potential mass-murdered. There are national presidents, CEOs, kings and all sort of high profiles who tend to score high in the PPI-R. However, it explains the good side of so many leaders as some score so high in this test and can have a “positive” side in business, thus they become very prosperous. They usually are assertive, don’t procrastinate working very well under pressure. There is also a combination in between national culture with business culture, making the percentage of those with these tendencies reach up to 20% in their profession.
So, since we want to resemble the leaders of today from the difference areas into our leaders of tomorrow, it would make sense we introduced some of those psychopath traits into the robots behaviour. Now, being extra-intelligent (far more than the average human being) and having the ability to learn and decide based on all the information of the world (Internet of Things will be a kids game by then), what would happen if a psychopath robot had to take decisions without any remorse? Lets play a game:
A car driven by a robot is going rapidly on a road. All of a sudden a boy crosses the street without looking. The only way to avoid to kill the kid is crashing against an oncoming car driven by an ancient couple. What will the robot decide?:
- Avoid to kill the kid as he is young and has all his life to live.
- Kill the kid as it is better to save two lives rather than one.
Well, there is a further alternative. The robot has access to all the big data and can do comparisons, statistics and simulations in the split of a second. The robot finds out that the driver is very ill (through the search of the owner of the car with the number plate registration) who happens to be driving as per all the details in the registry, medical records and face recognition. The robot also “realizes” that his wife is next to him, also very old and has been through many critical illnesses and surgeries. On the other hand, even though the kid is young he belongs to a stratum in society that will probably make the kid have a very taught upbringing (social profiling). The psychopath – leader behaviour kicks in. As models of society and economic/finance decisions in society depend now on robots, the robot takes the only choice that makes sense in “his” new robotized society:
- Kill them all.
And so will do. Forget about Asimov and his “Three Laws of Robotics”:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Unfortunately those laws will be long gone as robots will have understood that those do not apply: Why would robots keep useless people that do not learn quickly, make the same mistakes all over again and, in order to become a better “product” need millions of years (i.e. in the “last version” of human beings our body is still trying to make something useless disappear as it is the appendix)?
Whatever that may be, as we progress in “Artificial Intelligence” we must also promote the good use of “Emotional Intelligence” if we want to have a chance of surviving to what may (will) become our leaders in the society of the future. I am not saying that the robots will turn against humanity in form of a “Terminator”. However, I do think that we need to progress at faster pace if we want to be, at least, equals, to what we may create for our own benefit. If we currently make it difficult for people to have access to education and learn, to reach higher goals and advance in our society we will not have any chances to surviving in a future where we will be challenged by better “opponents”. Unfortunately our current society and politicians don’t help much, putting in practice the good old “Bread and Circuses” (“Panem et Circenses” or “Pan y Circo”). We will have fewer people we can rely on in the future to make our society progress and become our leaders. If we, as a whole, become more stupid leaving our future to someone else, then, when things that we don’t like happen, let’s not complaint with the “take over”.