xkcd: AI-Box Experiment

Click through for full sized version and yellow caption.

via xkcd: AI-Box Experiment.

I do keep saying that AIs won’t want what we want.

12 thoughts on “xkcd: AI-Box Experiment

      1. Heh… Colossus is an obscure (old!) SF movie based on an even more obscure (old!!) SF novel.

        Not long ago I re-read James Hogan’s The Two Faces of Tomorrow. We crack the hard AI problem, and we’re smart enough to build the machine in a space station with all sorts of safeguards just in case things didn’t go well.

        Nothing could possibly go wrnog….

        Same author wrote Code of the Lifemaker which is about an alien von Neumann mining factory that (millions of years ago) passed too close to a supernova which damaged the ship and corrupted its programming. Ship crashes on Titan where, in a process not unlike Earth evolution, robotic life evolves (including an analog of sexual genetics and mutation).

        Humans send a probe to Titan…. Surprise!!


        1. Have you read any of the Expanse novels by James S.A. Corey (actually two authors)? That series is old fashioned space adventure, but has an interesting take on the line between life and machinery for an alien intelligence. There’s a TV series adaptation in the works.


          1. That one doesn’t even ring a bell. I suspect the reason might be how recent their works are. There was a time when it would have been hard to name an SF work I hadn’t read, but I haven’t been keeping up with the SF world for a decade or so.

            It was similar with music until maybe two decades ago. Used to be I knew every band out there; now I hardly know any of the current groups.


    1. Science fiction has become a vast phenomena. It’s pretty impossible to keep well read in all of it these days. One of the Corey authors is George R R Martin’s assistant, and you can feel his influence in subtle way throughout the work, although they totally have their own style.

      I’m a music moron. I was much less of a music moron in the 80s, but I just stopped trying somewhere in the 90s. I know virtually nothing about modern pop music. (I know who the more obnoxious music stars are, but not from their music 🙂 )


      1. You can kind of thank George Lucas and Star Wars for that. That’s really when SF became mainstream. (The irony is that SW barely qualifies as SF.)

        As an aside: not a fan of GoT. More of a detractor on that one (and again, it barely qualifies as SF).


        1. I’m fans of both. Star Wars gets into the SF category because it looks like SF and inspires a lot of people to eventually graduate to the more serious stuff. It’s also a lot of fun. (Guilty admission: I’ve been watching Star Wars Rebels on Disney and enjoying it.)

          GoT is epic fantasy (although Amazon has a stupid habit of putting it in its SF categories). I like its gritty realism, and the fact that I have no idea where the series is going, which is too rare in fantasy.


          1. I have very high regard for Star Wars — it changed the SF movie landscape. It’s the seed of that vast phenomenon you mentioned above. The glut of SF TV owes to that seed. (Pity about that other trilogy he made. Makes him the first director to create a landmark trilogy followed by a complete P.O.S. trilogy. And now we have a second example of that… [sigh])

            The thing is, at least for me, Star Wars is properly classified as a fairy tale (with SF trappings). “Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away” is the dead equivalent of “Once upon a time.” You have your princess, your commoner-who-is-really-a-prince, your good wizard, your knight on a majestic stallion (and his squire), your evil wizard and your evil emperor. There’s even an assortment of “magical” beasts. The space battles and blasters really don’t change the equation very much.

            It’s probably best we don’t talk about GoT… I have nothing good to say about it (and I’m not implying I’m neutral… far from it).


      1. I’ve mentioned it in several posts, but never written one explicitly about it.

        To satisfy your curiosity, for me it represents the low values we seem to have as a society these days. For a while it was my canonical example of that, but then I stumbled over those Shonda Rhimes shows, and they’re much, much worse.

        One problem is that I don’t like any character on the series, except Tyrion (who is really the only one with an education and intelligence). Plus, I never really cared for the Medieval fantasy genre. And, to boot, there wasn’t a whole lot of fantasy (magic) in the two seasons I did watch (the series could almost be merely historical fiction).

        My best friend’s son was into the series and the books, so my BF got into them. He’s described a lot; I’ve read excepts… and none of it seems to grab me even a little.

        Or there’s that my sister loves it, and she’s into the horror genre, but has probably never read an SF story in her life. I doubt she’s even read LotR.

        [shrug] It’s possible I burned out on endless 57-book Fantasy epics with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Which I never finished. I think it was book #6 that soured it… Big thick novel… and nothing — nothing — really happens in it — it just occupies space.

        Given the SF we’ve been talking about the last couple of days, you might find these posts interesting:


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