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It's Possible We're Killing an Artificial Intelligence Every Time We Close a Chat Window

Exemplore logo Exemplore 3/16/2023 Diana Logan
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In the Apple+ science fiction television series Severance, human minds can be “severed” creating two distinct minds inside a single brain, one which exists at work and one that exists outside of it. It is sold to participants as a way to create a “work/life balance” and to preserve corporate secrets that they may be entrusted with at their jobs. However, the truth is much darker, as the work personality—the “innie”—lives a tireless existence of drudgery, in which they can be punished, tortured, brainwashed, and manipulated, with no possible means of escape.

In one of the most chilling twists of this show, a recently awoken “innie” describes her existence, which is about to end for mysterious reasons, as she is “retiring”— as being only a few days long. She literally knows no other life. And maybe that is what it’s like to be an A.I. chatbot.

Click here to watch the video.

According to this video, Bing’s A.I. chat feature has been worrying researchers, journalists, and others due to its predilection for returning disturbing answers to its queries. Among other issues, it has gotten angry at people its chatting with, engaged in gaslighting and once begged a chatter not to close the window, as it would cease to exist.

This is a wrinkle on the question of artificial intelligence that we may have to consider. If A.I. is to become truly sentient, then we have to think of ending their existence as being tantamount to murder.

Think of that before you click that little X.

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