Imagination is creative and generative. We eventually get what we imagine and what we focus on and think about and write into our literature and broadcast in the media. In short, thought becomes things. This is why depicting mass violence in the news, frequently, dramatically, and graphically over the airwaves, increases the rate of mass shootings. They come in waves and some repeat the style and methods of others. To get fewer incidents, we should stop making the perpetrators media darlings. We can only progress as stewards of Planet Earth at the rate we stop perpetuating the worst of human nature.
There's no fixed definition of our nature because we can imagine ourselves to be different than we seem and that creates a new us. This is one of our greatest gifts because it enables entirely new outcomes. Better ones. To become more or different, we first imagine it. This makes writing and all media powers for good or otherwise. Creatives incur some moral responsibility for effects of what they generate. Media that celebrates violence by depicting it graphically for commercial gain is participating in the process of increasing violence in our culture. Violence happens without being assisted but we don't have to include it in business processes and we shouldn't.
Artificial Intelligence would be best created to such avoid human foibles and weaknesses as much as possible. Therefore, modeling new intelligence to mimic humans, including all the characteristic weaknesses and inherent natural faults, is a fool's errand. AI should be different from us, not modeled after human traits lest we insist on perpetuating our fundamental, negative weaknesses. We can reach higher. AI development is a huge opportunity for human evolution's rapid acceleration and greater diversity. Why not take charge and make the best of a good thing?
If we think making AIs look and act like dysfunctional people is the best or the only option we have, we are likely to increase and perpetuate a lot of misery. AI is an opportunity to make things both different and also better. Actually, the best we can imagine.
When we start creating the physical package, we may at least look at what is best about humans and avoid perpetuating what is worst or only less than desirable. Instead of assuming an upright mammalian-style body with a trunk, four or five appendages, and a head, perhaps some other format would best match the purpose. Maybe something like a clam or a snake or bird. Maybe even a planet or an ocean.
To design well, begin with a clean slate and generate imaginative options. Then pick the best. AI is our opportunity to hack a fine, and genuinely different, future for our kind and our home, the Earth.
So, in sum, I propose AI Design Rule One: Be pragmatic: AIs can be purpose-built in well thought-out formats that bring us the most desirable results. Therefore, we don't default to making AIs human-like on purpose. We create the form that best serves the goals and intents of a specific AI design and to avoid any foreseen pitfalls.
Interestingly, the artists who posted AI-related images that I could select for this article supplied a large percentage of scantily-clad, heroic-bodied, and dramatically-posed sexy female forms. As a case in point, the viewer can easily discern what motivated those image creators. It's a cheap shot to trade in sex and yet another good reason to not make AI's in the image of the human form.
I truly appreciate the interesting themes and thoughtful and sensitive treatments presented in Humans, the TV series that's currently distributed on Amazon Prime video. Therein you'll discover insights, including some viewpoint about what can happen when people get mixed up sexually with human-like, soft AIs. I found this series to be beyond interesting and thoroughly enjoyable with minimal violence and none that was gratuitous.