The science of the nineteenth century was dominated by the perfectibility of knowledge. Fueled by the analytic/systematic distinction provided by Kant, the European thinkers of the day were bent on elucidating all the empirical rules that governed the universe. Even if the universe was infinite everything was potentially knowable and humans were capable of detached observation that could elucidate and name all these facts and rules.
What I wish to explore today – in a rudimentary and truly exploratory way – is the idea of incorporated artificial intelligence, which I will explain in a minute, and its philosophical, psychological and physiological implications and impediments. A couple of working definitions are necessary before we begin. Let ‘artificial intelligence’ refer to an entity capable of independent thought yet not of evolutionary genetic origin. When I speak of ‘incorporation’ or ‘integration’ I mean the inclusion of an artificially intelligent agent acting in close conjunction with a human actor. This, I believe, is not only a technological possibility but highly likely within the next one hundred years. In referring to ‘integrated agent’ or simply ‘agent’ I mean this theoretical entity that is inferred from the above. The ‘actor’ or ‘host’ is the being in which the entity is embedded. I leave my definitions intentionally vague because I cannot pretend to know how the intricacies of development will proceed. It is still possible and useful to examine the implications of this without knowing the details of how it will come about, or even if it will. Think of this essay as a diving board of unknown height into murky water of unknown depth.
I’ve managed to wrangle myself into a directed studies course in sociology with the ominous title ‘Studies in Political Ecology’ for this semester, which I hope will garner some interesting readings for myself and potentially a theoretical framework from which to view much of our current dilemmas in international politics and development.