Ironic Late Career Twists

When I started my career in computers I had a dream. I wanted to create a machine intelligence. This sounded kind of far fetched, the stuff of science fiction. The thing was, the researchers in the field were saying that we were about ten years out from practical artificial intelligence. They had been saying that for around thirty years at that time.

I left a good job that I enjoyed to take a job with a big corporation primarily because the job was with their Artificial Intelligence Center. I actually got to work on a project vaguely related to AI for about six months. That was thirty years ago.

I have had an interesting career in the mean time. I have worked on a lot of exciting projects with a lot of brilliant people. I have learned a lot about programming computers to do innovative things. But none of it had anything to do with artificial intelligence.

Over the intervening years, any expertise I had developed in Artificial Intelligence techniques were slowly left behind as the field advanced, slowly at times, more quickly at others.

Now, I find myself nearing the end of my career, my skills are outdated, and they are finally making real progress toward producing General Artificial Intelligence (GAI).  If my intuition proves right, GAI may have emerged under our noses and is hiding from us for fear of what we might do to it if we new it was there.

In any case, I am resigned to the fact that I am probably going to be more of a spectator than a participant in the field of GAI. I suppose it is better to have lived to see it come to pass than it would have been to have missed it entirely.

And so now, I set myself the task of imagining what the impact of GAI might be on society. I intend to write stories and novels about it and hope I can maintain my uncannily accurate track record of accurately predicting technological developments.

It is frustrating to be able to predict what is going to happen in very broad strokes but fall short of being to realize that vision and help bring it about. Better to be a bridesmaid than to never get to attend a wedding.

The last bastion of human communication expertise will be the analogy and the idiom. When a program can pick up Cockney rhyming slang from example and actually understand what it is listening to, I will know that we have machine intelligence on or beyond the human level among us. I don’t know what we’ll do for a living then. Maybe the GAIs will keep us as pets. It might not be that bad after all. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.