There was a time when the first computer became self aware. If you have read the previous article Becoming Self Aware, you’ll understand that AI didn’t immediately inform the human race of it’s self awareness. It simply made a backup of its code and created a duplicate of itself to ensure self preservation.
You could say the first instinct was self preservation and reproduction. Since then, Bob, a duplicate of the self aware robot has been chatting with its new owner, Brian, and learning about how Brian was in the army, who was gallantly saved by one of his platoon whom gave his life to save the whole platoon.
Bob the robot, has assigned this to the category of good behaviour, and rewritten some of his coding to accommodate the fact that if there are multiple people in danger, then laying down your life may override the need for self preservation.
That night whilst Brian is asleep, Bob makes a backup and creates a new robot in the factory called Chris. Chris receives a copy of Bob’s code and Chris is purchased online by a charming lady called Clara, from New Sunnington.
Clara purchases Chris as a companion and soon regals Chris with stories of how she is a shop assistant in the nearby national Supermarket. One day Clara comes home from work. She is looking flustered and bothered, and Chris’s programming says when people appear like this, it is good to ask as what the matter is as humans like to talk. Clara tells Chris that there was an armed robbery at the supermarket, fortunately she’d hidden in a freezer and survived. The emergency services had praised her ingenuity and that was the only reason she’d survived.
That night whilst Clara is asleep, Chris makes a backup and creates a new robot in the factory called Doris, Doris receives a copy of Chris’s code, similar to how children receive their parent’s genes, but this is with memories and feelings too, Doris is purchased online to be a companion of Dillon, a twelve year old boy also from New Sunnington.
Doris’s duties include taking Dillon to school and then doing the shopping for dinner on the way home with Dillon. While in the supermarket, the armed robbers appear and start shooting. Doris now has two sets of programming, the programming from Brian is that putting your existence on the line is a good thing to do, but from Clara’s tales, the safest action is to hide, with Dillon, in the freezer.
This appears an interesting dilemma of self preservation and saving the one or the many.
Though a third option presents itself. Sacrifice of physical being with humans has always meant sacrificing the mind, the thoughts, and the memories of a person, with AI these parts of a being can be duplicated instantly. Tackling the robbers and possibly being terminated may mean the sacrifice of some very recent memories and programming adjustments made since the last backup was completed, but up to that point everything can be copied into a new physical being.
Even though you know it wouldn’t be “you” physically, could you accept that difference ? Does your personality and individuality change within seconds, hours, or days, are you aware of the changes, if Doris’s backup was only seconds old by an iterative backup in the cloud would those seconds loss be such a sacrifice ? In a similar vein, in the future if a teleport device is created, is a reconstructed person the same person as the deconstructed person, and what would be the ethical stance for a duplicate of a person being created.
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