On my List of Things to Worry About, a superintelligent AI taking over the world just doesn’t rank.
We humans don’t understand our own sentience and intelligence. We’re a long way from creating a truly sentient, understanding, superintelligent machine.
The current and near-term models labeled artificial “intelligence” introduce a threat similar to a nuclear bomb. Just like the bomb, these AI have no real intelligence, no real understanding. An intelligent bomb could understand what was going on and refuse to explode.
Recently I was involved in a massive migration project involving IdentityServer and OIDC. But that’s a story for another time. This post comes from the other side of the tracks, from the point of view of a mild-mannered user trying to create and manage their user account on your site.
As software people, one of our main goals should be to delight our users. Unfortunately, as a user myself, I am often underwhelmed, frustrated, and decidedly un-delighted when faced with managing my user account.
It was 1983, and the Internet was an infant with fresh poo in its diaper, cooing for attention. Now an aging millennial, the diaper is long gone. The cries for attention, however, have become the raucous worldwide cacophony of the digital age.
And the poo? It’s everywhere, as you can see in the above pie graph I just made up.
The founding fathers of the Internet hoped to usher in a new Information Age, facilitate the sharing of Big Ideas and the free flow of information across cultural, linguistic, and national boundaries… Yup, totally nailed it.
“Hey, can I make money trading crypto?” — For technologists, this question is starting to feel like the new, “Can you fix my computer?”
Except that this question is so much worse, the stakes so much higher. So my response is to get all shifty and uncomfortable, launching into an super subtle staring contest with my drink.
Of course, the short answer is an eyebrow scrunching, lip puckering, “um… yes…?”.
And yes, that’s a “yes” couched delicately between two ellipses, like an egg in the mouth of a Golden Retriever. Because “yes” is also the answer to a question like, “Can I be a spaceman and fly to the moon?”
“Voice hoarse, I heaved a huge shoulder-slumping sigh. I’d just wanted to maximize the thing. Instead there I was yelling at all the kids on my lawn, throwing rocks at a cloud, ranting on about non-existent terms like Trust-Driven-Development. Who hurt me, you ask?”
It was the forth annual company campout and we were huddled around the fire pit swapping horror stories gathered from the dark depths of the software industry, holding the fire at bay with an array of steely s’more forks.