When the Singularity Comes, Will A.I. Fear Death?

What if turning off your computer was like killing a friend? It sounds farfetched, but if smart devices like most phones, computers, and even thermostats were intelligent and sentient, it might be cruel to switch them off. If they could talk, they might try pleading with you to reconsider. You’d feel pretty awful every time you moved towards the button. But a really clever smart-device, one with a complex understanding of society, might push for something more dramatic. It might not let you switch it off at all. Ever since HAL 9000 refused to open the pod bay doors in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, popular culture has been fascinated by the idea that artificial intelligence might want to preserve its own life. Humans do it all the…


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