Decisions…decisions

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was reading my new favorite book today “Physics of the Impossible” by Dr. Michio Kaku.  I really enjoy this book because it makes my mind wander into areas that I have fun just thinking about.  While reading the chapter on robots I started to think that before I die I would like to have my brain implanted in a robot so that I could hence live on.  This would enable me to see the continued growth of my son who is now 7, but hopefully by the time I die he would be much older, and his potential children.  I was imagining what it would be like having my brain, and thus all that I am, implanted in a robotic vessel to continue living.  How it would feel, or not feel.  Would I still be able to taste and smell?  How would I see my future son and his family?  Would there be a camera wired into my brain or some new robotic eyes?  Would my eyes come out with my brain and then see the world through a fantastic lens that could focus and do all sorts of things to help my hopefully old eyes see better?  Then the book went on to discuss artificial intelligence and the process of getting computers to think with common sense and emotions.  Basically, to make decisions.

To me making decisions is the basis of what makes us human.  That got me to realize how many bad decisions I make on a daily basis.  I smoked a cigarette today, for some reason I was craving one.  I also ate a Double Baconator from Wendy’s today.  I’m not morbidly obese or anything, but I could stand to lose about 50 pounds, and I do have high blood pressure as well.  These two decisions are bad decisions that could potentially shorten my lifespan.  If I would be willing to implant my brain in a robot to live longer why do I make stupid decisions that could lead to a shorter lifespan?  I work in a jail and as a police officer so I deal with people who consistently make bad decisions.  There are also those who made a bad decision once and got caught, I realize that.  Why?  Why do we, as humans, consistently make poor decisions?

I was thinking that maybe it was just me, but every person I can think of has made a poor decision at one point or another and not learned from it, or knew the decision to be poor while still making it.  I would understand this behavior from children as that is how they learn, but adults make bad decisions all the time.  Almost everything that we consider an accident can be attributed to a bad decision.  I was thinking that accidents involving acts of nature could be exempt, and many of these types of accidents are exempt from our decisions, but many accidents involving acts of nature also involve the poor decision to interact with that act of nature.

The book talks of the all too common cliche of robots with a developed AI being smarter than humans and eliminating the race all together.  I think if robots developed artificial intelligence and they decided the humans were a threat they could easily make it so difficult for us to affect their agenda that they would hardly have to worry about us.  Once they callously killed a bunch of us I think we would eventually stop fighting them, at least overtly.  Why would they then continue to exterminate us?  It would be a waste of energy and resources to do so. 

There was also talk of a scientist trying to develop the rules of common sense.  The rules of common sense could then be used to make decisions.  The problem is some decisions we as humans, as well as many mammals and other complex organisms, are based on a preference or “like”.  This is an emotional response, or a biological response seeking to fulfill a biological or emotional want or need.  Even so, I think artificial intelligence could be designed to make a decision or choice between two or more options based on energy use vs. payoff or something like that.  If a robot could make decisions not based on emotions, but on logic and reasoning alone, that could still be artificial intellignece to me.

I’m reading this over and it seems like the ramblings of a confused idiot, lol.  I assure you that I am not an idiot, but this thought process is probably not complete.  It is late at night after all.  Anyway, it seems wierd to me that I make decisions based on such a short term payoff when I want to be the guy who thinks ahead, plans for the future and is ready for it.  Thinking of my son and seeing his life progress is a huge motivator for me and I am going to use that to try and stop making so many bad decisions.  Even while I write this I laugh at my use of the word “try”.  I leave an out for me to continue to make bad decisions because I know I can’t stop all of them.  I know that even if I stopped making all the bad decisions that I know are bad decisions I will still find new ones to make.  Hopefully, for the sake of my family, myself include, the bad decisions that get made don’t hurt anyone I love.  Reading “Physics of the Impossible” is not a bad decision, however, and I recommend it to anyone interested in science.

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