Consider L’il Johnny McPixelTM
Tyrell Corporation introduced the L’il Johnny McPixelTM program in 2020, replacing the venerable Siri personal assistant application. Commonly known as the McP, the AI program is a vast improvement over its predecessor, with the capability to learn from interactions with each of its users—roughly three billion worldwide.
Unlike Siri, the McP is able to incorporate updates to its software dynamically, improving its interface and performance through advanced machine learning techniques. Its exponential growth in performance has sparked debate among its user-base. The interactions that some users experience with their McPs feel so real, so human-like, that petitions have been made to legally declare each individual McP instance as a “person.” In fact, some petitioners have indicated that they intend to marry their McPixels once the legal proceedings are complete.
Protestors have been picketing in Washington, D.C. for the rights of their McPs.
Is L’il Johnny McPixelTM human?
Additional known facts about L’il Johnny McPixelTM:
- The McP is not a central program shared by all users; each user has its own instance.
- The McP centrally incorporates data from all users and pushes out updates to each device incorporating new changes.
- The McP is designed to perform personal assistant tasks (e.g., make appointments, set reminders, perform searches, answer questions). The McP is also outfitted to be conversational, learning by imitation of human interactions worldwide.
- Each individual McP contains both a centralized knowledge base and an individual knowledge base. It can learn aspects of the local environment (e.g., its users’ favorite colors, pet peeves, habits).
- Different McP instances develop different mannerisms as reinforced by their users. This includes use of slang, general tone, and demeanor.
- The McP is not designed as a general, all-purpose AI, but rather to perform certain tasks. However, some users have explained that the imitative, conversational nature of their McPs includes human-like discussion of virtually any topic. Through imitation, McPs have learned to indicate personal preferences, including stances on political platforms/candidates.
- McPs do not smell, taste, or feel. They are limited to acquiring information through sound and sight from external sensors, as well as Wi-Fi information exchange.
- Any McP can be reverted to a prior version, whereupon it loses any learned functionality that is no longer supported.
What do you think?
Some Interesting Resources:
- A similar idea is explored in the 2013 Spike Jonze film, Her.
- John Searle’s Chinese Room thought experiment: http://www.zompist.com/searle.html
- Pathological evidence that the brain is a form of machinery: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~gawron/intro/course_core/lectures/aphasia_cases_slides.html
- Scientists discuss what it means to be human: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/06/what-does-it-me/
- Free-will and determinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomological_determinism
- The “Duck Test": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_test
- HAL 9000 scene (Is self-preservation its end motive?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwBmPiOmEGQ
- The Technological Singularity: Signs of the Singularity part of IEEE Spectrum’s SPECIAL REPORT: THE SINGULARITY