X-Message-Number: 23319
From: "Basie" <>
Subject: End of artificial-intelligence research
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 01:35:34 -0500

CAMBRIDGE, MA-Scientists at MIT's Advanced Machine Cognizance Project
announced Tuesday that, after seeing the final installment of the Matrix
trilogy, they will cease all further work in the field of artificial

Above: Jameson announces his decision to cease artificial-intelligence
"As scientists of conscience, we must consider the ethical ramifications of
AI development," said Dr. Gregory Jameson, director of machine epistemology
and ontology at MIT. "The Matrix taught us that we cannot ignore our
obligation to the future of mankind. We must free our minds to this fact, or
we will accidentally unleash a nightmarish army of sentient machines."

Added Jameson: "Some may call the extinction of humankind inevitable, but I,
for one, will still resist."

A statement drafted by the MIT group was co-signed by an international
coalition of AI experts that included scientists from the American
Association for Artificial Intelligence, members of the Society for
Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behavior, and a team of fan
experts from the newly created San Diego ComiCon Committee on Moral and
Ethical Implications for Society at Large.

In the statement, researchers said they were "frightened by the disastrous
potential of AI" and called the Matrix trilogy of science-fiction
action-thrillers a "wake-up call to any scientist concerned with the
long-term consequences of his work," as well as a "freaky head-trip about a
future run by floating metallic drones that look kind of like really scary

Pattern-recognition development analyst Dr. Janice Wunderling said the MIT
team has placed its AI projects on hold pending the completion of a
comprehensive feasibility study on the threat of "humans being imprisoned in
tiny, slime-filled cyber-canisters."

"When we first saw The Matrix back in 1999, the premise of AI evolving into
an unstoppable army of self-aware programs intent on dominating the planet
gave us pause," Wunderling said. "But like most moviegoers, we dismissed the
movie as a fun blockbuster showcasing cool bullet-time photography and
shapely, leather-clad cyber-babes performing gravity-defying kung-fu in slow

After seeing The Matrix Reloaded, however, Wunderling and her fellow
scientists began to worry.

"The more we thought about it, the less we were able to laugh off the threat
of killer machines," said Dr. Henry K. Arronovski, a leading expert in the
field of heuristics classification. "It really started to freak us out. What
if, decades from now, humans end up in a virtual-reality construct designed
to blind them to their enslavement to the hivemind-all because of the work
my colleagues and I started?"

Added Arronovski: "I want no hand in creating a world where only Keanu
Reeves can protect my great-grandchildren from a giant drill that plummets
through the ceilings of subterranean cave dwellings."

Above: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a vocal proponent of AI
research, offers an opposing view.
It was The Matrix Revolutions, the final movie in the series, that convinced
scientists at MIT to put the brakes on their AI research.

"We were hoping that the third movie would quell our fears about the work we
were doing, but it only raised more questions," Jameson said. "Sentient
programs, like the Merovingian, though formerly agents of the Architect's
operation to neutralize the human race, rebelled against the very system
they were meant to serve? And which side were the renegade programs even on?
Was the Oracle a sentient program herself, earmarked for 'deletion' by her
former masters? Or was she just another part of the system without knowing
it? We had no choice but to pull the plug."

Team member Dmitri Markovitch, author of Mechanical Computation And
Consciousness, called his vote to abandon AI research "an intensely personal

"I saw Revolutions with my 12-year-old son Eric," Markovitch said. "He saw
the look of worry on my face and said, 'Dad, don't be scared. It's only
make-believe.' I had to tell him, 'No, son, it's what your father does for a

"After watching Captain Mifune blast away in his robotic battle exoskeleton
as hordes of relentless Sentinels swarmed the dock screaming in
battle-frenzied rage, I could no longer put my career before the future of
mankind," Markovitch continued. "Those poor, brave children of Zion-their
annoying tolerance of rave culture notwithstanding-did not deserve that
horrible fate."

Critics of AI research commended the decision. Dr. Lyle Freeberg, author of
Ethics In The Age Of Nanotechnology, said humans have ignored the warning
signs about AI long enough.

"The first two Terminator films identified the potential for global-linkage
computer networks to send android assassins back in time, but the warning
went unheeded," Freeberg said. "Artificial Intelligence: AI recognized the
ethical dilemmas inherent in creating a robot who can love, but no one took
the movie seriously, because it was so boring. But in the wake of the
Wachowski brothers' prophetic series, we must, as the '90s alternative-rock
band Rage Against The Machine urged us, 'wake up.'"

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