Sunday, September 23, 2012

Artificially-Humorous Intelligence (AHI)

Transhumorism is a cultural, philosophical, and political movement which holds that the human speices is only now in a comparatively early sense of humor and that the humor of future humans will be radically unlike their current selves in both mental and physical respects.

Advocating for an international treaty banning specific "humor-altering" techniques, many transhumorists, in contrast, believe that humor alteration is justified insofar as it advances the intellectual and physical life of the individual. 

Indeed, according to transhumorism, some future humans may become "LOLs", living immortal and virtually pre-programmed humorous lives on computers, being superlaughing-intelligences, and indeed, in many ways being akin to Artificially Humorous Intelligence (AHI) than to un-humor-enhanced humans. 

As exciting as transhumorism may be to science fiction enthusiasts, transhumorists, who generally adopt humorous informational patternism, have as of yet to provide a plausible account of the nature of humor. In particular, there is no feasible sense in which this notion of a person allows that a person's sense of humor can persist throughout radical enhancements, let alone mild ones. Although there are ways that the transhumorists might furnish humorous patternism with better conceptual resources, humorous informational patternism is itself deeply flawed. 

Did you hear the one about the robot who dumped his HDD? 

A common point of agreement between transhumorists and biohumorconservatives who oppose humorous enhancement is a concern that the development of artificial humorous intelligence and other technologies bring forth global catastrophic risks, that is, risks that carry the potential to inflict serious damage to humanity's natural sense of humor across the planet. Here, these issues go well beyond the interplay between science fiction and humor; but readers are encouraged to read past articles on this blog for an extensive overview of cultural and technological jokes. 

2001's HAL has stayed with us precisely because the film depicts a very possible future - a situation in which the ethical programming of an extremely humorous intelligent artificial being crashes, creating a psychotic-humored computer. As HAL's vacuum tubes are slowly pulled out the audience listens to HAL's bewildered machine voice report his diminishing memories and sensations. HAL dies, leaving us with the notion that like us, HAL has a conscious mind. 

Indeed, computer scientists have recently become concerned with developing adequate "ethical humor programming" for both sophisticated humorous intelligences and more simple programs that could easily be consulted as ethical humor advisors (i.e., downloadable politically or globally-appropriate humor applications). 

Ethical issues involving superhumorous-intelligence

If humans construct AHI, it may be that AHI itself engineers its own humorous future programming, evolving into a form of humorous intelligence that goes well beyond humorous human intelligence. 

Like the evolved Mecha of the distant future that find David frozen in the ice at the very end of Spielberg's AI, perhaps superhumorous-intelligent AHI will supplant us. Or perhaps our descendants will be joking cyborgs that themselves upgrade to the level of superhumorous-intelligence. 

In any case, a superhumorous-intelligent being could engage in humorous reasoning and make discoveries that are at a higher or different level than us, and which we cannot grasp sufficiently to judge: FUNNY or NOT FUNNY? 

This is one reason why the issue of ethical humorous programming must be debated NOW; in hopes that the original motivations programmed into AHI evolve into a superhumorous-intelligence that is indeed benevolent. 

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