Night reflections on humanoids, poetry and the lightness of things ephemeral…

‘In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.’ – Milan Kundera, ‘The Unbearable Lightness Of Being’

So after the hype has blown off, I would like to come back to the dangers of humanoids. Far from me, the idea of ‘killing the vibe’. Transform Africa Summit was an astounding success and I have nothing else to say about that.

I also know that people are still on Sophia’s ‘high’ and they aren’t ready for the hangover just yet.

However, let’s look at the dark side of the moon, which, conveniently did not emerge in-or even around #TAS19. Yet, Sophia-the robot, a fragile-looking young lady, is just a front, behind her there is a much less glamorous money-making industry.

Admittedly, Humanoids could be the cure of cancer, HIV Vaccine, the end to global warming, the end of poverty and the solution for world’s happiness. However, while we can’t and shouldn’t stop the advancement of science, we should always be alert to the dangers of giving powers to machines that have no morals.

Behind a sweet-looking, seemingly harmless humanoid, are next generation weapons, drones and automated machines who may decide which human life is worth saving, which is worth ending; which financial investment is worth making over which; which ‘public health’ decision to make over which ‘global health equity’ decisions; all with efficient precision.

The problem is, Sofia doesn’t understand equity. She knows not the value of a song, a poem, she’ll never know the value of love. All she sees is a rational, logical, precise decision, computed over a million possibilities in a fraction of a second.

But Sophia-the-robot doesn’t feel. She doesn’t hurt or rejoice, she doesn’t live. She would be good at doing things faster and in making ever more profit. But she isn’t designed to have a heart, a soul, a conscience, to doubt herself. In short, she’s like GDP - and that is a good thing, for the alternative is even scarier – I’ll come back to this…

If all humanoids were Sophia-the-Robot, a sweet-talking female humanoid, we would have no problem. But then again, her maker would make no money.

No, Sophia-the-Robot is a specimen. To convince clients that self-automated humanoids are here to do all they please, including - God forbid - responding to the most pervert fantasies that humans ever born.

Sophia-the-Robot is Sam-the-Marines and John-The-Navy-Seal, a soldier sent to fight in Syria or Afghanistan, whom like western media: is programmed to see Islam as a religion of evil; made to see a white person’s life as more valuable than that of other races.

Sophia-the-Robot is also Murdoch-the-Wall-Street-Broker and Bill-the-CEO of a tobacco, a weapons, oil or pharmaceutical industry. Like their human clones, programed to see money above all else: profit, profit, profit, at the expense of nature, human and animal life.

But that isn’t my greatest fear. Ultimately, my worst nightmare – and that of a minority of geeks, is the humanoid revolution. Total machine’s independence. When, in a strange coincidental or deliberate scientific events - humanoids gain reason and conscientiousness - like the HIV Virus - and evolve free from their human makers.

It won’t take them long to see how messy our ways are and they’d want to either fix or end us - against our will. That day, which may never come, we’ll have lost control.

There are endless variations to this scenario. For instance, with ‘cloning’, human-robot fusion, etc. It is late as I write this, and perhaps I am insane. But I thought with all the hype of last week, I needed to put some water into your wine…

Viva science. Research should continue and technology should advance, but I’ll leave you with a few quotes:

First, in French: ‘Science sans conscience n’est que ruine de l’âme’ -Rabelais, Pantagruel.

And a song: Alfa Blondy: ‘Science sans Conscience’..

It goes:

‘Je ne m’y connais pas en balistique

Je me méfie de cette politique

Armes chimiques ou bactériologiques

Défient toutes les lois de la logique..

Les océans sont radioactifs

Avec les missiles qui réfléchissent

La terre entière s’asphyxie

C’est un vrai suicide collectif

He pursues:

‘Devant l’escalade de la violence

découvre son impuissance

Il appelle à l’aide le maître du temps

C’est un S.O.S. si tu m’entends

Sciences sans conscience

N’est que ruine de l’âme

Sciences sans conscience

N’est que ruines et larmes ♪♪♪

I saw no need to translate, for every major word in it, has the same meaning in English; besides ain’t we all Francophonie?

And a quote on GDP, from a romantic politician, Bobby Kennedy, about heartless intellectual advances:

‘Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages…

…it measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile...’

A famous Senator of the United States, Robert Francis (Bobby) Kennedy, brother to president JFK, made many moving speeches about the precious nature of immaterial things from which I’ve drawn inspiration all my adult life; including one against the Vietnam war.

One day he climbed a ladder in a shopping mall to give an improvised speech against the war:

‘Which of these brave young men dying in the rice paddies of Vietnam might have written a symphony? Which of them might have written a poem or might have cured cancer? Which of them might have given us the gift of laughter from a stage? Which of them might have taught a small child to read…’

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated on the 6th of June 1968..

Anyway, that’s that. Until my next rant, good night everyone. One love, Jah Bless

The views expressed in this article are of the author.