“You have to find out what you can’t know before you know you can’t, don’t you? (…) The point is people must think, people must go on thinking, they must try to extend the boundaries of knowledge and they don’t sometimes even know where to start. You don’t know where the boundaries are, do you?” Stephen Hawking’s mother, Isobel Hawking Walker, in A brief history of time – Errol Morris (documentary film 1991).
Albert Einstein was considered at school as a bogus because he always had his head in the clouds. His name is now used as synonymous with genius. Is there a link between his scientific creativity and his state of mind?
Many Studies prove that yes, there is one.
For instance, Ut Na Sio and Thomas C. Ormerod state that: “When solving a creative problem, individuals benefit from performing a wide search of their knowledge to identify as many relevant connections as possible with the presented stimuli. Each time individuals reapproach the problem, they improve their per- formance by extending the search to previously unexplored areas of their knowledge network.” I invite you to read Does Incubation Enhance Problem Solving? A Meta-Analytic Review Ut Na Sio and Thomas C. Ormerod – Lancaster University: http://www.psy.cmu.edu/~unsio/Sio_Ormerod_meta_analysis_incubation_PB.pdf
What a surprise to find a comic strip on Artificial Intelligence written by somebody called Montaigne!: Marion Montaigne présente l’Intelligence artificielle: https://youtu.be/DtdoNksCtmE
Indeed, Montaigne discusses in the Essays whether the savages found mainly in Brazil are human beings or not and whether they should be considered humans, the way the barbarians in Ancient Greece have been finally recognised as such. As it is growing more and more difficult to recognise an artificial intelligence from a human being; I think reconsidering this classic is relevant as it challenges again human identity.
From the conquistadors until now the concept of humanity has evolved. On the other hand, what is common to humanity, at each step, from the cannibals till now; is some human beings’ will to build weapons to kill others. Each time a new science has risen, some people have tried to find out how to use it to kill (physics, biology, chemistry and now AI).
The Palais des Nations is a place where diplomats and United Nations experts meet to talk about war and peace. The room on the bottom part of the picture is one of the rooms where they are debating. They are currently discussing thoroughly about these new lethal weapons nicknamed Terminator and the future we want.
Writers have also thought about robots and artificial intelligence. Isaac Asimov is the master of the genre.
The International Labour Organization, a UN organization, is actually debating about the future of work we want. How do we want machines to change the way we work? For example, some imagine a world where machines would work for human beings in cooperatives enabling citizens to have a basic income.