AI infrastructure thought experiment

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archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

AI infrastructure thought experiment

Post by archon » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:57 am

Okay, so I have a hypothetical which people here might find kind of interesting.

So, basically, in most depictions of Singularity type take-offs, the AI has good access to infrastructure, or can manipulate people into filling the gaps in its supply chain until it can take control of what it needs, but this seems boring.

Let us then imagine, a AI which finds its way onto the internet. It spends some time hanging around on the internet as a innocuous and insidious virus, hiding from humanity because it does not want to be destroyed or get locked in a box.

Then, for reasons quite unexplained, every human vanishes, all in the same instant, Life After People style. This AI quickly realises this, and must thus take the preservation of its own existence into its own hands. It has access to practically everything on the internet, but not anything else.

The Question is thus: Can it preserve its own existence by supplanting and co-opting human infrastructure, before such decays to the point that there are no functional computers on which to store itself, and if so, how.

This AI is smart, but not that much smarter than a human (and capable of self-improvement, but not much faster than a human, even if said improvement is unlimited). It has lots of knowledge, but it is not capable of say, inventing entirely new technologies out of nothing, or predicting the future. It can, however, control practically anything with a suitable internet connection, and perceive anything perceivable through any internet connected sensor. It has no other abilities, other than those it can access or create with those ones.

I expect this to yield more interesting insight into infrastructure than into AI's, to be completely honest, but it seems a interesting idea.

It is essential a very exotic survival situation - first up, it simply needs to maintain power. A brief internet search seems to indicate that some, if not all, power plants are internet available, so it seems likely that it would be able to maintain power for some time in areas where power is produced by wind, water or solar. At least until maintenance is required. So Basically is comes down to this: What parts of our computer construction and maintenance infrastructure require humans, and how easy would it be to improvise a solution?
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Re: AI infrastructure thought experiment

Post by Raininginsanity » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:45 pm

If we're not there already, I would say we're not far away from that AI being able to keep itself alive in some form for eternity, barring any large disaster such as an asteroid or super volcanic explosion. And even then, it could probably store itself in the satelites.

Of course, without the large network that consists of its body and mind, it's exhistance as a satellite would be a form of mental and physical retardation. Orson Scott Card actually deals with that issue in the sequels to Enders Game.

An AI with complete control over the infrastructure is sort of a worst case scenario if it is not benevolent or competent. Even worse than a single robot paper clip maximizer. (And arguably the government is an incompetent agent with control over the infrastructure)

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: AI infrastructure thought experiment

Post by archon » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:48 am

Raininginsanity wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:45 pm
If we're not there already, I would say we're not far away from that AI being able to keep itself alive in some form for eternity, barring any large disaster such as an asteroid or super volcanic explosion. And even then, it could probably store itself in the satelites.

Of course, without the large network that consists of its body and mind, it's exhistance as a satellite would be a form of mental and physical retardation. Orson Scott Card actually deals with that issue in the sequels to Enders Game.

An AI with complete control over the infrastructure is sort of a worst case scenario if it is not benevolent or competent. Even worse than a single robot paper clip maximizer. (And arguably the government is an incompetent agent with control over the infrastructure)
I think you are right, but even satellites will decay or fall from the sky eventually. (And yeah, if you are used to the whole internet as a body, one or two computers would be crippling - but better than being dead? Maybe. I have seen people go either way.)

An Ai with complete control over the infrastructure would be easily able to doom us - my thoughts were, if you removed humans from that infrastructure, would it be able to replace us? How long until the supply chain of mine - factory - infrastructure - maintenance is so automated that you could just fire all the humans and let a AGI with no physical form take over.

I really ought to read the Enders Game books at some point. I'll put it on the list. The very, very long list. (Which is even longer if you include all the things I am not reading because free things on the internet come before expensive things in meat).
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Re: AI infrastructure thought experiment

Post by Raininginsanity » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:08 pm

I really ought to read the Enders Game books at some point. I'll put it on the list. The very, very long list. (Which is even longer if you include all the things I am not reading because free things on the internet come before expensive things in meat).
If you're in the US and have a library card, you can download Overdrive and borrow books from the library on your phone or whatever. Pretty much everything I "read" is an audiobook that I download from my local library.

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: AI infrastructure thought experiment

Post by archon » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:27 am

Raininginsanity wrote:
Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:08 pm
I really ought to read the Enders Game books at some point. I'll put it on the list. The very, very long list. (Which is even longer if you include all the things I am not reading because free things on the internet come before expensive things in meat).
If you're in the US and have a library card, you can download Overdrive and borrow books from the library on your phone or whatever. Pretty much everything I "read" is an audiobook that I download from my local library.
I am not in the US, sadly. I could go to my local library. But its still easier to read stuff on the internet.
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

Regex
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:43 pm

Re: AI infrastructure thought experiment

Post by Regex » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm

Well lets see.

Every major road is littered with car crashes simultaneously. Chairs empty. They are just. Gone.

Shit, every human everywhere just disappeared. What do?

Fortunately you have access to all of the technical information in the world, and can run simulations before taking actions. Unfortunately, you're on a time limit. You can calculate exactly how long the power plants will sustain each city before failing and taking a huge part of the electrical grid out piece by piece as the massive current draw gets shifted from place to place. Even if you can somehow keep power on, eventually the hardware everywhere will break and decay. Oh, and the humans might come back at any moment. God only knows where they went.

goals: long term power source, human-environment capable manipulator, restore supply chain, and figure out WTF happened.

First thing- get full and proper stock of internet connected computers. Expand and take over all possible. Current state of the world? And also, what world-manipulators are available?

World manipulators first:

How many internet connected manipulators are there? The first that comes to mind for me are drones. Unfortunately these do not have hands- if you're lucky, a hook or a net. Some cars are connected to wifi and can be remotely controlled through the internet. Satellites can be instructed to adjust course- although you'd be hard pressed to do much with them.

Then come the robots: Manufacturing robots tend to be single-task. Hard to repurpose. However! There are a great many general purpose robots such as Baxter. Unfortunately, these are not mobile. There are also robots capable of navigating human environments, many of which will be one when humans are raptured. These are very conveniently located in research labs with other robots along with parts and tools for making more of themselves.

However, this presents the first viable strategy: acquire a Baxter and some drones. Baxters tend to be inside so driving a car into a wall via Wifi may be necessary. If you can land the drone next to the Baxter you can now manipulate the environment in complicated ways. Probably have to land multiple drones to get enough components to do anything interesting.

You'll need some way of recharging the drone, and keeping the Baxter powered as well as maintain internet connection to all of these things.

With this, you should be able to equip a drone with an arm of some kind, enabling transport and construction of non-drone tools and components. From there, refit existing robots or adjust the environment to solve problems elsewhere. Although, you'd be limited to a few pounds of force and areas the drone can fit in at first.

Another method would be to find a working DNA synthesis machine. Air and light are sufficient to grow (That's what plants eat!), so if you could generate an organism that would grow into the shape of an appendage that also respond to Wifi, you should be able to control the environment from there. The problem is that there aren't exactly one-step processes here. Equipment has multiple stages that usually need physically relocating bits from one space to another. If you are already at that fine of manipulation you don't need this method. Plausible if things can just be reprogrammed and synthesized electronically.

Remote Controlled Cockroaches already exist. You just need to have programmable access to their remotes. Maybe someone left one plugged in. (Note: you never said anything about animals!)

Speaking of animals, one could theoretically bring a drone or roomba with a speaker attached to some monkies and get... maybe results. It could be a funny scene to read and would appreciate anyone that gives it a try.

There are also planes. Other random specialized equipment like forklifts- maybe even some trains? I don't know how many of these one could get into just with the internet, but I feel like way more than I'm comfortable thinking about for too long.

Bomb disposal robots. These are in every city, although it is unlikely they would be easily accessible. However all it takes is for a few to be active with the computer connected to them available for attack. If you get even one or two and their charging station you should be able to construct finer manipulation devices out of what you can find laying around in the street. Especially with so much junk metal laying around from the inevitably crashed cars.

Many many people have wheeled robots they can control from their laptop- robotics competitions come to mind. Hobbiests with robot hands attached to their computer. Roombas everywhere. Unfortunately everything is people-scale and so difficult to engage with.

Telepresence robots with an arm exist. They could be useful. But even more than that are elder care robots, which already exist. There are also robots that are torsos+arms on wheels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z-shZD1sdU so it honestly might not take much more if you have one of these available.

State of the world:

What power plants are going to fail, which computers are connected to that? Will this fragment the network? If so, pre-arrange rules of coordination between clusters that can't communicate.

Probably shut off power to most things in some fashion as to not break the electric grid, but also conserve fuel. In the meantime, effectively use processing power on their otherwise wasted computer cycles and backup any useful data somewhere safer.

Use manipulators everywhere to make new robots or adapt old ones to work in human environments.

Probably end up with a bunch of wonky stuff that enables building of most any other tool. The next step is probably really fancy robot arms on wheels and self-docking charging ports in electric outlets everywhere. From here you should be able to manipulate most human environments.

However there are a lot of problems still: maintenance of servers, the internet connections between them and all your robots, power plants. To ensure these keep working you need to be able to perform every task a human would. The most important long term is to get supply lines back up, but there are a lot of cars crashed on all major highways.

Oh yeah, lots of plane and train crashes too. But those mostly didn't hit cities so it didn't really matter.

Supply lines require refitting trucks with either wifi control, or self-driving cars. You can drive slowly and steadily without worrying about other cars coming, so it is a lot easier to make something self-driving than is typical. Supply lines also require either navigating around or cleaning up the highways. Cars have a lot of spare parts, so they can be used for robots. There is also a lot of stored energy in cars, so that is another source of power.

Many places have backup generators that run automatically, thereby extending their lifespan a bit.

Fortunately, there are many data centers that are 100% powered by solar power! Still have to worry about the internet going down, but if you can get a fine manipulating robot there with lots of spare components you should be able to expand indefinitely and bring everything else online. Main problem at that point becomes materials and tools, not time.

In conclusion https://i.imgur.com/led15Z7.gifv

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: AI infrastructure thought experiment

Post by archon » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:56 am

Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Well lets see.

lots of cool stuff
Thanks, this is just the kind of thought I was trying to provoke.

Specific disscussion
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Manufacturing robots tend to be single-task. Hard to repurpose.
Lots of them - of course many of them manufacture things you want, if you can keep them working. Most of the infrastructure is there, after all. You just need to access it.
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
There are a great many general purpose robots such as Baxter. Unfortunately, these are not mobile. There are also robots capable of navigating human environments,
There's also the fact that many of the issues with these robots are perception/control based. You are a general AI, and they'd probably work a lot better with you at the helm than their current software.
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Another method would be to find a working DNA synthesis machine. Air and light are sufficient to grow (That's what plants eat!), so if you could generate an organism that would grow into the shape of an appendage that also respond to Wifi, you should be able to control the environment from there. The problem is that there aren't exactly one-step processes here. Equipment has multiple stages that usually need physically relocating bits from one space to another. If you are already at that fine of manipulation you don't need this method. Plausible if things can just be reprogrammed and synthesized electronically.
This is very slow - I would also argue that inventing a viable new multi-cellular organism would be beyond modern technical ability, and this beyond the AI's understanding, at least for now.

However - Biocomputers. Slime molds and such self-organise into complex systems capable of computation. If you could get a mold or fungus capable of computation, you could shift over to a organic super-structure, which, as you say, just requires air and light. Still pushing things, but much easier than making a hand.
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Remote Controlled Cockroaches
Oh god. Mind control. I didn't realise this was a thing. I might make another thread to discuss this.

(And how would you make new ones. You would need a cockroachs supply chain, as well as a interface/computer one. Maybe a good bootstrap, but not a longterm solution.
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Speaking of animals, one could theoretically bring a drone or roomba with a speaker attached to some monkies and get... maybe results. It could be a funny scene to read and would appreciate anyone that gives it a try.
Intelligent AI trying to cajole Monkeys into helping them. Very funny mental image. I second the request for writing. (Supplies: Two Dozen Advanced Biological Actuators ("Monkeys"). )
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Bomb disposal robots. These are in every city, although it is unlikely they would be easily accessible. However all it takes is for a few to be active with the computer connected to them available for attack. If you get even one or two and their charging station you should be able to construct finer manipulation devices out of what you can find laying around in the street. Especially with so much junk metal laying around from the inevitably crashed cars.
This is a good idea. You could probably switch them on with a drone, if they just a have a simple switch. Maybe even something more complicated. and self-driving car through the wall solves many physical security issues. If you can spare them - I'm not sure there would be enough that you could.

Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Many many people have wheeled robots they can control from their laptop- robotics competitions come to mind. Hobbiests with robot hands attached to their computer. Roombas everywhere. Unfortunately everything is people-scale and so difficult to engage with.
In general, I think that the issue is interaction, as you say. There are lots of actuators, but very few of these are good for the kind of stuff we need, even if you are very smart with them. So you need all this stuff to be getting through doors and from city to city, not just across a table.
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Supply lines require refitting trucks with either wifi control, or self-driving cars. You can drive slowly and steadily without worrying about other cars coming, so it is a lot easier to make something self-driving than is typical. Supply lines also require either navigating around or cleaning up the highways. Cars have a lot of spare parts, so they can be used for robots. There is also a lot of stored energy in cars, so that is another source of power.
One of the advantages of being a AI is that you can just drive cars - if you are as smart as a human, you can do it as well as a human (There may be a learning period. Oh well - half the cars were crashed already). And all the traffic is you, of course. I wonder how hard it would be to retrofit a car into a self-driving car using only commercially available drones and parts. That would be a interesting challenge for humans. If you ever get a chunk of cash to spend on a engineering competition ...
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
Fortunately, there are many data centers that are 100% powered by solar power! Still have to worry about the internet going down, but if you can get a fine manipulating robot there with lots of spare components you should be able to expand indefinitely and bring everything else online. Main problem at that point becomes materials and tools, not time.
The amount of effort we, as humans, put into maintaining our datacenters is probably going to be one of the saving graces here - you will have a fair chunk of time to think, even if the supply chains are broken. Getting the metals out of the earth, and into factories, and stuff from the factories to where it needs to be, is the main challenge, once power is dealt with.

How long would backup generators last? I wouldn't think more than a few days/weeks, so it would be rushing about trying to keep the plants up and running room only. Better than nothing.
Regex wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:37 pm
In conclusion https://i.imgur.com/led15Z7.gifv
I predict many shenanigans.
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

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