Bugle-Blowing Front Men

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A steady procession of front men makes headlines, prophesizing that robots and AI will outperform and replace humans.

These media moguls, industrial plutocrats and celebrity scientists are reading off the same script. I call them “front men” (from Henry Ford onward) because they simply interface between technology that has been waiting in the wings and, well, us.

So you don’t think smart phone technology was really available decades ago? Technology is being dripped, filtered, time released… This requires a steady procession of front men and carnival barkers.

In any case, clearly, robots will reach spectacular levels of IQ. They will outperform humans in many tasks (but not all). Lacking a soul, lacking true intuition, robots will also lack true creativity. At the end of the day, these will simply be gadgets, like vacuum cleaners, but smarter. But still gadgets, toys.

Consciousness does not have a material origin; it cannot be found in the neural networks that silicon chips are trying to mimic. At least I don’t think so. The gray matter in our cranium operates more like a radio receiver, rendering knowledge from other sources.

So I’m not as paranoid about robots as many people are. But we should always have a way to pull the plug, just in case.


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