Roman Veselý Software Engineer from Slovakia. Somewhere between trees and bytes of code.

Comforting to know

Currently, I am reading The Star Diaries, a book by Stanisław Lem, a Polish sci-fi writer, in which he describes the stories of protagonist Ijon Tichy. Stories about space voyages, time traveling, extraterrestrial life, and robots.

Having different AIs fall onto us from all sides, it’s comforting to know people thought about artificial brains way long before they started being introduced in every other product we use. Products that are either software or hardware.

While AI may present its own set of challenges and complexities, it ultimately lacks the nuanced moral compass that defines human behavior. For good or for bad, as Ijon’s thoughts suggest as one of his journeys concluded (emphasis mine):

Thus concluded one of the most unusual of my adventures and voyages. Notwithstanding all the hardship and pain it had occasioned me, I was glad of the outcome, since it restored my faith, shaken by corrupt cosmic officeholders, in the natural decency of electronic brains. Yes, it’s comforting to know, when you think about it, that only man can be a bastard.

As I read the book in Czech language edition, I’m adding the translated quote as well:

Tak skončila jedna z mých nejpodivnějších cest. Přes všechny ty nesnáze a strádání, které jsem na ní zažil, jsem byl rád, že se všechno takto vysvětlilo, protože se mi vrátila víra v přirozenou důstojnost elektronických mozků, jejichž dobré jméno ti kosmičtí šejdíři tak zneuctili. Je to přece jen milé pomyšlení, že ničemou může být jedině člověk.