I say some things for Imagining the Digital Future Center at Elon University in their latest report on Artificial Intelligence.

What if AIs could eventually become the realization of kind beauty?

Although I was raised on doubt from the very first time I read science fiction books as a young man, something in me thinks that artificial general intelligence, while not emulating a human mind precisely, might be possible. I say ‘general’ in the sense that many domains and sensors will be integrated in such a way that something that resembles a human conscience might be achievable.

This would not take physical form in a Robbie the Robot, R2-D2 or C3P0 kind of way, but it would take shape in a way that may seem discorporate, even ghostly, and yet pervasive. I cannot escape the fear the lessons from Karel Capek’s 1920 play ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots’ about the parallels between enslavement, revolt and general AI creations. I cannot escape that fear.

But what, I ask myself after a light mind-relaxing Sazerac, what if such a general AI creation was benevolent? What if instead of bending to the will of malicious rulers and economic opportunists as in Capek’s robot revolt, instead of killing us the AIs decide to be our angels, reformers and protectors? What if they care about our health? What if they understand and improve local living conditions and transportation and distribution systems? What if we, like Walter Benjamin, thought more deeply about art in an age of changing means of composition and saw one more kind beauty there? What if they were to be something wonderful?