This 2003 article written by Charles Rubin provides us a wealth of insights regarding the beginnings of AI research, its importance, and how its results can veer away from the original intention. Rubin explores the compelling need for AI, as well as the dangers it poses. For Rubin, the idea of creating machines that can become like humans is “extinctionist” – it offers minimal benefits for our society, and the risks are much harder to manage.
In conclusion, Rubin prompts his readers to “refine and enlarge” their idea of human progress and evolution.
…the project is based on an eroded understanding of human life, and that the science that claims to make it possible only accelerates that erosion. Of course, part of being human includes the difficulty of reconciling ourselves to our finitude. There is certainly much to despair of in the world, and it is easy to imagine and hope for something better. But the extinctionists illustrate the hollowness of grand claims for new orders, and how easy it is, in their pursuit, to end up worse off than we are now.
Charles T. Rubin, author, Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress,