There is a concept thrown around in science
fiction and futurological circles called an Engineer in a Box (EIAB). The Idea
is that one could make a non-general AI or expert system that would have the
ability to design anything requested of it. Of course with limitations
physical, technological etc. much like the kind of engineer we presently make
out of meat.
Engineer does not need to be self-aware pass a Turing test or even carry on a
conversation. Those things would actually be a distraction, although some
natural language processing would be nice. It would most likely be using genetic
algorithms and simulation to give us the desired object anyway and would thus
not “think” in a way intelligible to us.
One would tell the EIAB
suspended sex chair in the style of Corbusier for a 400 lb. Edgar Winter look
alike with sciatica”
“bleerp bleep bloop”
It spits out a perfect design for your disturbingly specific needs
not only taking account Fat Edgar’s girth and sciatica but complementing his
snowy complexion. Take it to the next level and hook the EIAB to a 3d printer
and ya got things cooking.
But what about the other end? The input. If
an EIAB is possible, why not a MRIAB? This Market Researcher in a Box could
sift through all that juicy data on the nets, figure out trends, decide out
what consumer products are “needed” feed them to the EIAB which then designs
them. They are printed out, made available on Amazon prime and delivered by
drones. While we are at it why don’t we add a Marketer in a box? The MIB
designs ads, promotes the product through Google and Clear Channel maybe even
makes a few computer animated TV commercials. If instead of hard goods software
is our desire a Programmer in a Box would replace the EIAB and ITunes would
Here is the fun part put all this sophisticated
but weak AI in one box get it a bank account and a coupla grand, let it
bootstrap (in the business sense). You end up with Apple with no Steve Jobs in
fact no jobs at all. Our entrepreneur in a box does not take a salary, does not
buy yachts, hookers or blow. Really does not buy much of anything at all. All
it needs to do is pay its electric and internet bills and sell stuff for less
than its overhead. No salaries, no bonuses, no dividends, no debt repayment.
This would give it something of a market advantage allowing it undercut its
human competition while still turning a profit.
The question in world were such an enterprise
“How do we convince the Poor that they are
Maybe we can ask the Programmer in a Box to
make us a Sophist in a Box?