Artificial Intelligence without the Human Touch

Ambitious science fiction is not about offering an escape from daily boredom or problems, but rather discussing actual and coming challenges. Industry 4.0 and especially Machine Learning make many of the predicted scenarios reality.

In the short-movie “Blade Runner 2036: Nexus Dawn” the business leader Niander Wallace presented his new line of advanced replicants, called “angels” to a group of governmental officers. The meeting was necessary to receive permission to commercially produce and sell these machines on Earth. In his impressive presentation he verbally ordered the human appearing machine to chose between killing him or itself.  Complying with the famous Asimov’s Laws, the machine decided to kill itself witnessed by the group of governmental decision makers.

00) A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

01) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

02) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

03) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Back to reality, in a remake of the famous Milgram experiment, students had not been asked to give electric shocks to another human, but instead to a human appearing avatar inside a virtual reality. Although the students had been aware that this was no real person, they perceived notable stress executing these tasks. Even 15% denied to “hurt” the avatar.

The global research and advisory company Gartner changed its definition of “Artificial intelligence”

  • from 2018: “Technology that appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, coming to its own conclusions, appearing to understand complex content, engaging in natural dialogs with people, enhancing human cognitive performance or replacing people on execution of non-routine tasks.”
  • to 2019: “Artificial intelligence (AI) applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques, including machine learning, to interpret events, support and automate decisions, and take actions.” 

The two definitions are relevant different, as Gartner waived the “emulated human performance” as criteria.  Already earlier in 2017, the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) had to shut down two of their chat-bots, as the scientists discovered that they invited their own language to communicate with each other.  It was not part of their primary program, nevertheless the machines did it, as they perceived it as more efficient.

Artificial Intelligence is not limited to develop human-like, but based on the universal language of mathematics can develop in something completely different. This does not mean any kind of singularity, especially because of its missing human likeness it may become “more human than human”. Inside the Blade Runner universe, the presentation fulfilled its purpose as Wallace received the required business licence.

Henz, Patrick (2019): “Tomorrow’s Business Ethics – Philip K. Dick vs. W. Edwards Deming”




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