“So, what has you by the heart these days?” she said with one of those looks that only friends who’ve know us forever can have.
I didn’t have an answer. So I decided to spend a day walking through the Byward Market. It’s always filled with people and brims inspiration.
I bought fresh cut flowers and found a bench where I could write. I wanted to imagine life stories for the endless stream of passers by and look at my own with new eyes.
I felt content. You know, the kind of content that grabs your heart and makes you fall in love with the whole world, with just being alive. Can happen is a second. Usually does.
That knowing had me by the heart. Then she did:
I heard her laughter before I saw her – bare shouldered, arms flying, sandals in hand, sun burned nose. I didn’t want to stare, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her and it took a second to understand what was happening.
The flower sellers had just watered everything. There were puddles everywhere and THIS grandmother was a woman on a mission; granddaughter in tow, she was jumping in all of them.
“I spy with my little eye…another one!” she’d say pointing and off they’d run.
It was one of those moments when you can actually feel delight moving through space. You catch it from another person and it becomes yours too.
That kind of childlike exuberance is such a simple natural thing, but the gift of witnessing it, knowing it was a once in a lifetime moment and inexplicably had me by the heart filled it with mystery.
It had come from nowhere and was totally unexpected but I had an answer to my friend’s question… moments like that day’s.
What happened when I watched the film “Ex Machina”?
My geek gene jumped out of the closet (again) and I started recommending it to all my friends who just might be interested in not sleeping for a couple of nights running, and enjoy spending that time in mind bending conversation about the potential effects of artificial general intelligence (AGI).
Seems the consequences of super intelligence and advanced robotics are drawing engineers, futurists and ethicists from universities, think tanks and high tek firms all over the world into late night debates in basements, bars and board rooms.
The camps are divided, but include the likes of Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Elon Musk , Jeffrey Hawkins and John Bresina. They all have compelling arguments and informed opinions.
What my friends and I have is passionate curiosity and the sense that this matters more than we’re able to imagine.
What are the experts asking? Same questions my friends and I are.
What if human beings become obsolete because of A.I.? Just what kind of global good might it do? Could it solve problems like famine, poverty, illiteracy, pollution? Is it even possible to create a conscious life form capable of replicating itself? And just because we can, should we?
One of the most understandable takes on all this comes from Sam Harris during an interview by Joe Rogan. Harris manages to look at it without getting too technical.
It’s a good starting point – one that ends with him saying the only thing scarier than developing A.I. is not developing it.
Espresso… I need another cup, or two or three.