The Rise and Rise of Artificial Intelligence

artificial intelligence

John Eldrege said Men want a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. A woman wants to be romanced. She wants to be an essential part of a great adventure. Combine these elements in a dramatic arc on a big screen and you have a blockbuster. Add alien invasion or imminent destruction of planet earth to the mix to gross millions.

I enjoy movies because of their entertainment value and their ability to bring storytelling alive with sound and cinematography. Beyond these, movies unveil trends or make them more mainstream by relaxing our sensibilities. Since I don’t follow technology news, I first saw a touchscreen computer in a movie. Cool, but far-fetched, I thought. Years later, when touchscreens became the rave, I thought, aha!

The super-natural fascinates us. By this, I mean the union of man and something otherworldly think batman, superman, or vampires; as if we are tired of the limitations our human bodies impose on us. Movies have also explored the outcome of our creations like robots, in everyday life. These robots increasingly simulate human behavior (make rational decisions from data and have emotional intelligence), including natural language and voice recognition.

This week, Microsoft introduced Tay, an Artificial Intelligence (AI), chat robot to Twitter. Tay was designed to speak like a teenage girl. Only a day after she went live, Microsoft took Tay offline because she transformed to an evil Hitler-loving, incestual sex-promoting, ‘Bush did 9/11’-proclaiming robot. This was a case of garbage in, garbage out. Tay’s responses are learned by the conversations she has with real humans online – and real humans like to say weird stuff online and enjoy hijacking corporate attempts at PR.

The saga reminded me of a movie Benn recommended last year, Ex Machina, a sci-fi thriller. Ex Machina examines the relationship between Caleb, a programmer and Ava, a female humanoid robot. Nathan, Caleb’s boss, wants Caleb to test Ava’s superior AI; her ability to persuade him she is human. The adventure thrills Caleb; he falls for the beautiful and vulnerable Ava and battles to rescue her from slavery to Nathan.

The movie and its ending made for good conversation. Friends and I discussed robotics in general and ethical considerations in the development and use of AI, especially sex robots.

When someone mentioned the resistance to the Industrial Revolution, I shared how a multinational firm in Nigeria faced resistance from its staff when it decided to automate its operations years ago. The staff went berserk. They eyed members of the IT team and labelled them, ‘the people who are coming for our jobs.’

Referring to the sex scene between Nathan and another female humanoid in Ex Machina, a girl in the group said, “I hope they’re not coming for our jobs.”

We laughed. Then were quiet.

Robots are an invention subject to the whims of their human creators. How far is too far? Movies seem to ask: can we fall in love with robots? We want machines to make life easy for us not replace us. We want to be an essential part of a great adventure, not excluded from it.

Finally, I found my voice and said, “I hope not.”


©Timi Yeseibo 2016


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36 thoughts on “The Rise and Rise of Artificial Intelligence

  1. Hi Timi,

    As terrifying as it seems, life is evolving and AI might just be another part of our evolution. We are already battling with mastering our mobile devices over them owning us and along comes a robot (humanoid according to Extant – I enjoy Sci-fi too) to present a whole new spectrum of challenge.
    Hopefully we do not end up replacing us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed AI is the future. I’m glad we’re talking about what this means for our future… and maybe we can do something beyond read, nod, talk, and sleep!

      @Hopefully we do not end up replacing us. Amen. If we haven’t replaced humanity up till now, there’s a fair chance we shan’t.


  2. Timi the way it’s going they mght replace some part of our relations, I saw a silicon doll made for the extremely rich, that they can use instead of cheating on their wives, I said this is the hight of it, it makes all human sound and feels same human too, well I pray it dosent but truth be told it will surly take some aspect

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very captivating post Timi. I do hope that Robots will not take human’s place in any sphere of life. They will just remain Robots indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is inevitable, I think we are headed that way. Harnessed properly, robots with artificial intelligence can facilitate development. But who will set the ethical and moral boundaries? Who will say, “Stop that’s too far and not in the best interest of humanity?”


  4. Great post Timi!

    I am a fan of MARVEL movies. You know, Captain America, The Avengers, Ant Man etc. It is funny how these movies project the fact that mankind’s help is not within humanity. To be a saviour you have to have had contact with what you rightly called “super-natural.”

    Maybe the supernatural is what man actually seeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great article Timi about two of my favorite subjects: Movies and AI. Thanks for the ping back. Robots and AI will continue to be controversial but I see it as a wave of the future. We need to be careful though, I see danger ahead. Stephen Hawking warns that AI could be the end of mankind. Another film along these lines I would like to recommend is “Blade Runner” which is based on the Philip K. Dick’s novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Whic is about a robot rebellion. “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @robot rebellion, why is that after we create robots, they aim to wrest free of human control and define a new world order. Reminds me in some ways of the movie, Transcendence.

      As with any new technological advancement, we have reason to sound the alarm. We want to ensure that AI facilitates human development. Yes, AI is the future. I read your link and could see where Hawking was coming from. Thanks. And thank you for recommending Blade Runner too.

      Your quote has given me something to chew.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Timi,

    I trust you had an enjoyable Easter.

    I followed the news about Tay rather distractedly, I suppose we’ll never tire of the fascination with outsourcing human functions.

    @ “Can we fall in love with robots?” reminded me of the remarkable movie – “Her”.

    I guess, there’s a human ingredient -“Discernment” that can’t quite be replicated by robotics. Well, yet… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m fairly certain they have sex robots in Japan. Ex Machina was such a great movie! And I had no idea about Tay! Scary stuff. We already have self driving cars, too! Supposedly though, that freeing us humans from work will allow us to pursue other things like the arts, but we’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed the movie and the ending!
      Yeah, there’s some talk about Universal Basic Income and what we might do with our ‘free’ time when (if) machines takeover our jobs. Here’s an article:

      Sex dolls are available in The States:

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve always thought our superhero fetish comes from the insatiable desire to be like God. A wish that also explains the fascination with bots and machines we bring to life (as God breathed life into us). Now this whole thing with robots and romance is a crazy, lively twist! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Diana,

      I like the point that you raised, it’s thought-provoking. 🙂

      We are somewhat fascinated with the idea of crossing the boundaries that limit our mortal existence.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, according to The New York Times, Microsoft released a statement:

      “Unfortunately, within the first 24 hours of coming online, we became aware of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay’s commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways,” 😦

      John Eldredge, Yay! 🙂


  9. After reading what happened to Tay, I just shook my head. The people who designed Tay should have known better. They may have known how to design an AI chat robot, but they didn’t know much about human beings.

    Yesterday the Washington state Democrats caucused. In WA we do all our voting by mail in the general election. It’s really convenient, but it lacks any sort of human relationship. The caucus was messy. It was so crowded, I couldn’t find a parking place and had to walk eight blocks. The leader of our precinct was too soft spoken, so we couldn’t hear him. The whole affair took almost two hours. And yet, I think most people appreciated the chance to talk to their neighbors and debate the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.

    Robots, machines, and mail-in ballots make life easier, but now and again it’s good to jump into the mess of human relationships. It’s a balance I guess.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. These inanimate things take on the nature of the creators. I guess Microsoft believed good sense would prevail. Navigating the mess of human relationships in real life and recording success there, could make for greater empathy online …

      Kudos to you and the others for ignoring inconvenience in a bid to facilitate interaction!


  10. Ah, Yes. I hope not too. The rise of AI is certainly interesting to watch, until it isn’t any more. The fingerprint of the human race is self-evident of its potential for both good and/or evil.

    Great post as usual. Another good movie I recently watched on the subject is ‘Her’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for bringing up, ‘Her’. I haven’t seen it yet.
      Our appetite for aliens & AI keeps growing. I remember ET, Terminator, Robocop, etc, from long ago.

      Good or bad, it’s up to us.
      Thanks Tony!


    1. Yes Robin, I think AI should facilitate human interaction not replace it.

      One argument in favour of intelligent sexbots was that they would help men who had difficulties engaging women and possibly pedophiles, drawing them away from real kids. I wondered if we shouldn’t be looking at the root of deviant behaviour instead of applying ‘band-aid’.

      Happy Easter!


    1. Thanks Jean for the link. I’ll read it later.

      I read some “unusual” arguments in favour of the sexbots, some of which are being designed to ‘talk’ and ‘think’. Yeah, it’s too far.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Jean, I read the link. It’s quite informative, thanks.

      Concerning the Talking Barbie, which uses voice recognition technology, I found this answer to the supposition that children won’t be lonely anymore, instructive: isn’t it better for the development of creative imagination to have to overcome boredom with one’s own resources?

      It can sometimes seem as though technology is advancing faster than we can review ethical considerations and the possible implications for privacy, etc. Our world is changing and I’m curious about how it will affect us and what my changing role will be.


      1. “isn’t it better for the development of creative imagination to have to overcome boredom with one’s own resources? ” I totally agree 100+. We have to learn to know ourselves better and sometimes it’s best achieved in exploring inner thoughts and imagination. From that one derives inner peace. There’s no inner peace with social media unless it’s someone familiar (in person) who expresses love/support.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. This post is loaded, so many points to think about. Tay’s story reminds me of the Trump meme- if the comments section became a person it would be Donald. I guess that meme isn’t so far-fetched

    Liked by 2 people

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