Artificial Morality

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“It was easier when you could tell the difference between droids and humans.” Zeek Wilburn had the vestiges of a bygone era draped like priests’ vestments over his words.

“Best thing that ever happened was when the Supreme Court declared droids have equal rights.” Joshua Milia had a black or white view of the solar system.

Zeek rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms. Even though it was his calling, he was exhausted sometimes by the weight of the biggest questions in life, and longed painfully in certain moments for the bliss of ignorance. If only he could shut it off … the gravity of the ultimate answer, True Center. Human beings in homeostasis as one body; a fractal of sorts, of the bodies of each of them, making up a larger body with each individual as a cell. He remembered reading about the birth of the concept in level 2 school, the equivalent of a middle school from 150 years earlier. The Citizen Body was just an idea then in the mind of Rai Linchman and a few friends.  It seemed so obvious in hindsight that the internet was the final missing element to connect all human beings.

Ancient religions had advanced the idea of oneness or wholeness thousands of years prior, but the glacial pace of philosophic technology from 5,000 B.C. to 2,020 A.D. had been a mortifying limitation. How aliens must have snickered at human beings and their enslavement to their own comfort configurations, he thought. The electronic nervous system of the citizen body, the internet, appears in the late 1980’s, and the citizen body behaved rather with the chaotic and random disorder of a newborn. Surely there were other life forms in the universe that were more primitive, but relative to now, the humans of the Ages preceding the Age of Merger circa 2,190 A.D. seemed rather barbaric. Classes, racial divides that were based on melanin concentration, narcissists as rulers, slaves to physiology, egregious power concentration, and operating codes for the human device that looked like the ramblings of a schizophrenic shaman were the rule.

“Well, I am holding that in active uncertainty Josh.” Zeek snapped back into form in remembering the first Principle of OptEvo – Wholeness – the current iteration of the oneness, unity and interconnectedness of all human beings, as one body. And the principle mentioned how everything connected and affected everything else. It was not some dreamy superstition now; it was scientifically verifiable. And this was an advancement beyond both socialism and capitalism into homeostasism, a blend of the two that mimicked the biological processes of the body; this, the manifestation of philo tech. Zeek knew if he were exhausted and jaded it would bring the standard down for all, through Josh.

“Neutrality aids the oppressors.” Josh was prone to the energy of righteous indignation, and his comfort configuration compelled him to exert his power through a personality of dominance which required appearing and feeling right, and holding the answers unequivocally. Zeek being an advanced balancer was able to realize Josh was not only unaware of his power, but of the delusion that he was wiser and more influential than Zeek. The elder knew there was no contest, as in no competition, because the goal was to help Josh discover more, and grow. As a balancer, he had the blessing of higher order wisdom along with the curse of its inherent sacrifice – a constant message of pain for the underdeveloped, and less carnal pleasure. But he knew that True Center was somewhere in the space between despair and euphoria, and that neither was real, but merely overindulgences into our biology. And he knew Josh’s stage of development called for him to establish trust over all else.

“You might be right, Josh.” Zeek knew Josh was most probably wrong but the active uncertainty kept even an advanced balancer humble and able to be truthful even when the probability of that truth was negligible.

Josh felt satisfied. In his mind he had won and held a different definition of that verb than Zeek. He thought of poor Zeek and how he had so much to learn, and Zeek thought of Josh as his responsibility to help grow.

Then the two went back to their work – Josh coding the training games for level 3 school, and Zeek analyzing the code for the 2190.2 version of the humanoid bot operating system; a job of enormous responsibility. He had to ascertain the probability of an android committing a murder of a human being as there had been a rash of in the 2180’s. The bots had begun to become self-aware in the 2160’s and demand equal rights in the 2170’s. The 2178 Supreme Court ruling of Blaise R90-PX vs Pennsylvania was the landmark case Josh referred to in that decade, when the National Council of the Body of Androids won a split ruling that essentially equated androids with human beings.  The OptEvo system of The Citizen Body sent consensus advisement that androids and humans were not yet “equassentiel,” meaning androids were still programmed by humans, and their operating systems were not compatible with complete freedom. But SCOTUS argued that human beings also murder and aren’t completely compatible with freedom either. TCB held (in their advisory role) that because androids don’t reproduce themselves, yet, and are dependent upon human wisdom in their operating systems, that they needed more time to develop autonomy. They felt this was overshooting the stage of development of the morality apps and therefore prone to crashes (aka corruptions) that lead to murders and other criminal acts by humanoid bots. TCB saw the coding of the morality apps in bots as a confluence with upgrading the OptEvo operating system in humans. When the two were successfully compatible, the merger would be complete. But this could be decades if not a century away.

The chime rang to announce a visitor. Josh being in the lesser responsibility role, answered.

“Who ordered the tacos?” The drone spoke as it hovered outside the holographic door.

“That’d be us.” Josh declared as if his taco idea anointed him king of the office.

“20 Decibits, please.” The drone volleyed back.

Josh’s watch bleeped and the drone sped off as the door became opaque again.

“Seateen or Beyond Beef?” Josh was hoping Zeek would take the Seateen, vegetarian fish choice.

“Appreciate it Josh, I’ll take the Seateen.” And with that choice, Zeek broke his fast, unexpectedly, and unbeknownst to Josh.

Published by John Katrina

TCB Member, Father, Co-Founder of The Citizen Body, technical philosopher, and artist.

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