SEPTEMBER'S GLANCE

By William Markiewicz

Can an Intelligent Machine be Dangerous?

In a recent interview, Stephen Hawking warned that if humans do not genetically re-engineer their intelligence level, computers would take over the earth. According to Hawking, a system must be found that allows the human brain to be directly connected to a computer so that the artificial brain contributes to human intelligence rather than opposing it.

Here are my objections: There will never be a spontaneous opposition or threat engendered by a machine because, a priori, the machine has no motivation. Intelligence not linked to life remains a tool, and tools like all non-living objects are non-competitive. Only in life do we see motivation coming from within as a fruit of consciousness, while even the most sophisticated tool remains a tool. A dangerous computer will be dangerous due to a human mistake, like a burning match in a child's hand. Only if we create life will we be able to ask ourselves if this creation is dangerous in itself or not. And we're far away from creating the most basic form of life. We don't even have a satisfying definition of life, only an intuitive grasp.

Neither animals with inferior intelligence nor machines with superior intelligence will present any danger to humans, the former because they lack qualifications, the latter because they lack motivation.

I have no sympathy for any kind of genetic engineering for the simple reason that we contend with life and don't even know what life is. So to tackle something you don't know is like putting your hand into a hole in the ground not knowing if a piece of gold, a scorpion or a snake is inside. You don't run blindfolded down a road that nobody has ever walked before you.

By genetically manipulating intelligence we'll impoverish humanity rather than enrich it because it will be impossible to develop or perhaps even to preserve personality. We will start to produce clones on the psychic level.

Counterterrorism?

In "Killing Terrorists is an Honourable Thing To Do", ("National Post" September 14), George Jonas declares that "Shooting Osama Bin Laden probably wouldn't eliminate terrorism. It would, though, eliminate Osama Bin Laden." My question is: So what?!

In Algeria the French Commandos tried to fight the FLN. In Palestine the English Commandos tried to fight Irgun and Stern groups. Wherever powers tried to imitate the rebels' methods it flopped.

If we fight effects without taking care of causes, nothing will change, on the contrary, the situation worsens. Brutal methods engender cold determination and kill the fear of death. For each killed terrorist there will be ten to come. Negotiation is cheaper and more efficient than the attempt to wipe out the enemy. In the long run, it's easier to deal with minds than kill bodies if only for topographical reasons.

Revenge is the natural tool of terror, because it is their only tool. Mickiewicz, a Polish poet of the 19th century, wrote: "Treason is the weapon of slaves." Instead of imitating slaves and terrorists, try to find a noble and efficient way to protect the Kurds and Shiites without installing a steady foreign "terrorist" gendarmerie over Iraqi skies. Instead of keeping Golan and tiny Palestinian territories annexed by settlers via terror-state methods, give them back to the owners for the sake of mutual recognition. There is no kamikaze war between Israel and Egypt, nor between Israel and Jordan, so there will not be kamikaze war between Syria, Palestine and Israel. Fundamentalists will remain mostly confined to Iran and Afghanistan, without danger to Israel. Until now, international terror comes mostly from the Middle East. But others learn quickly and other kamikaze throughout the world may emerge and strike. There may still be time to install, wherever needed, a policy of negotiation instead of the adolescent "we'll show them."

Preventive Wars Which Prevent Nothing

First the NWO prevented Yugoslavia from defending its integrity when the provinces decided to simply walk away without preliminary negotiations. A never-ending war over Iraqi skies continues in order to prevent -- what? In the meantime, nothing is done to prevent the burial of the Oslo Peace Agreement. The only 'prevention' the NWO achieved was to ensure that the Serbs don't rise up from their humiliating, largely undeserved, doom. Another consequence of the preventive wars is the destruction in Manhattan and Washington. What will be the next preventive step of the NWO to ensure victory for the civilized world?

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