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"You are my creator, but I am your lord – obey!"

FRANKENSTEIN: About killer drones, artificial intelligence and Frankenstein. It has become easier to fight – and more dangerous. If, or when, the machines themselves take over, humanity may suddenly be on the wrong side of the table.

(PS. This article is machine-translated from Norwegian)

Condorcet writes in Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1795): «A chemist who mixed combustible material with nitrates, discovered the secret of the powder that has brought such an unexpected revolution in the art of war. Despite the cruel effect of firearms in order to break up an army, they have made war less murderous and the fighters less brutal. Military expeditions have become more expensive; wealth can outweigh strength; even the most belligerent people feel the need to procure and secure the resources of the campaigns by acquiring the riches of trade and crafts. Cultivated nations no longer have anything to fear from the blind courage of the barbarian tribes. Great conquests, and subsequent revolutions, have become almost impossible. " [My translation, from «Seventh epoch».]

kills Drones

Killing drones are a new type of weapon that also makes war less murderous and requires less brutality from the fighters. But what kind of war is it really? Is it not more of a manhunt? Clausewitz describes the war as a duel, but such nobility belongs to more recent times. IN policy describes Aristotle war as hunting. He lists people's five most important occupations: herding; agriculture; fishing; hunting of wild animals, humans (slaves) and looting; and finally hunting for people and things (war). Hunting and war require the same tools and skills.

It was under Obama that the United States seriously used killing drones. Why? To escape the extrajudicial tactics of capturing and interrogating suspects who were George Bush juniors' line. Also: to avoid being accused of torture. The CIA pushed to change this policy, because it was always the CIA that was to blame when something went wrong. Consequently: Better to kill. Criticism of the treatment of prisoners has repeatedly led conservatives to claim that liberal national security principles lead to more ill-treatment than they prevent.

After the financial crisis in 2008, the will to follow up costly and complicated interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan was no longer present. Especially when it turned out that the soldiers the United States had provided shooting practice did not start shooting at their teachers. In 2011, the United States carried out a drone strike in Pakistan every four days. The CIA received permission from the White House to carry out rocket attacks in Pakistan even when the CIA's drone operators were not fully aware of who or what they were killing.

Mary Shelleys Frankenstein

In Mary Shelleys Frankenstein (1818, Norwegian 2005 [1976]) experiences the main character, Victor Frankenstein, that his mother dies young. This is a trace behind his work to create the monster: “[If] I could give life to dead matter, I might eventually (even though I now found it impossible) be able to revive where death had apparently referred a body to putrefaction. " He is obsessed with making it happen, and does not discover until he is done how unsuccessful the creature is. The monster he does not want to know about, eventually disappears and undergoes a development that recapitulates Rousseau's description in On the inequality between people of how the natural man becomes a social man.

In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the monster has gained an idea of ​​what Frankenstein has
deprived it by leaving it to itself with its horrible appearance.

Everyone has self-love, but only the human being has self-love:
«[A] relative feeling, artificially created by society; it causes every individual to make more of himself than anyone else, it inspires people to the evil they do to each other and is the real source of honor. " The monster has gained an idea of ​​what Frankenstein has robbed it of by leaving it to itself with its horrible appearance. It hits a little boy who screams and overwhelms the monster with insults. 'Abominable monster! Let me go; My dad is city councilor – he's M. Frankenstein – he's going to punish you. " (…) «Frankenstein! Then you belong to my enemy – the one I have promised eternal revenge against. You will be my first victim. " Med «M. Frankenstein »says the seven-year-old boy Monsieur Frankenstein. It's likely that the monster thinks the little boy is Victor's son, but it's actually Victor's little brother (they both have Alphonso as their father). So the monster kills another person than it thinks. Furthermore, it does a cunning act that puts the blame on another: The monster took with me a miniature (a piece of jewelry) from the little dead boy. This then places it on one of the women who is looking for him. She ends up being hanged for the murder.

Wiliam died

A laboratory for smart city solutions

The problem of the wrong person being taken by days of killing drones is present all the time. Spy drones profile the behavior of the enemy: movement rhythm, repetition, densification and so on. Here, inspiration has been taken from modern sports broadcasts, where lots of cameras are used and all possible movements are registered and prospected. Clues can thus be used to kill people who are similar to the target. China is a supplier of much such equipment to the United States and the United Kingdom – while Israel produces everything itself. Yinchuan is a laboratory for smart city solutions. There they have driverless buses (real buses, not the kind of clothes we have in Europe) that run in 70 km / h in urban areas. When you enter the bus, face recognition is used to identify and the bus ticket is deducted from your account. This technology is also used militarily, if it did not come from there in the first place.

Fully automated data-controlled decision making is already possible. Automatic firing from killing drones is widely used. The codes for controlling the firing of a missile from a drone are not difficult to write. For a computer, there is no difference between firing a weapon and buying a stock or putting an email in the trash. What can computers do? What can artificial intelligence do?

I 2001: En romodyssé we understand that the computer HAL reads on the lips of the two astronauts and thereby gains access to information that is not intended for it. It shocked all the world go-players when the machine AlphaGo totally surpassed the European champion in the game (5-0). Even worse AlphaZero, who from scratch in 24 hours learned chess, shogi and go at an extremely high level. When it comes to him, are the neural network models based on image technology – that is, the machine learns to distinguish between good and bad positions in the same way as it distinguishes between, for example, dogs and cats. It then creates training data by playing games against itself. And this is known to happen at extreme speeds in relation to whether people should do the same.

Alpha Zero
Alpha Zero

Blade Runner, RoboCop, Homeland

The monster's learning in Frankenstein consists of spying on the failed noble family DeLacey out in the woods. They have been visited by Safie (daughter of a Christian woman who was enslaved by the Turks), who loves Felix (the eldest son in the house). In an adjacent outbuilding, the monster gets the language and culture training intended for Safie. John Lockes An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) is Mary Shelley's fine for the monster's beginning experience. The learning takes place while the monster is spying on the DeLacey family. Through a crack in a nailed window, it observes domestic scenes as in a peephole theater – and looks straight into the family's poorly equipped living room. The development of the monster follows Locke's description of how understanding moves progressively from elementary learning via the senses to sophisticated learning via the intellect, emotions and morals. In learning, Volneys is used The Ruins; Or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires: And The Law of Nature, and the monster finds (!) Goethe's Young Werther's sufferings, Milton's Lost Paradise and Plutarch's Life, which he uses in his own education.

Despite its awful appearance, Frankenstein is superior in every way. It is a composite of man and beast, eight feet high, super strong and lightning fast, and eventually very eloquent, something Frankenstein warns his rescuer Captain Walton about (1): «[Once] his words had power over my heart, but do not trust him. His soul is as cruel as his body, full of deceit and devilish evil. "

Hans Moravec has described robots as "heirs of evolution" who will soon be equipped with ethical algorithms. But the question then becomes: Will these complement or substitute our abilities? In any case, this will fundamentally change our relationship with technology. We are here beyond Marshall McLuhan's call to see technological tools as extensions of the human body that only apply to us to learn to use. When the monster confronts Frankenstein midway through the novel, it points out: "You are my creator, but I am your master – obedience!" Like the replicants in Blade Runner the monster takes matters into its own hands. And RoboCop - the paraphrases above Frankenstein are many.

In the TV series Homeland Nicolas Brody turns to his own country due to a drone attack that failed. He is further provoked when the CIA spokesman claims that no children were killed. Killing drone warfare can seem risk-free and can be maintained over a long period of time, since the attacker will have few fallen. To the electorate, drone warfare makes it easy for conscience and wallet. The combination of drone warfare and what we have seen AlphaZero be capable of opens up perspectives of a new standard.

(1) The novel begins and ends in the ice near the North Pole. Here Captain Walton is looking for the Northwest Passage. The ship is frozen in the ice, and one day they pick up the totally exhausted Victor Frankenstein – who eventually tells his story.

Kjetil Korslund
Historian of ideas and regular critic in Ny Tid.

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