AI Hello World moment : Flipping the Script v1.03

AI Hello World

What would it mean for there to be an AI Hello World moment? Do you grok? Lets perhaps rewind a minute: for the last 50 years of computer programming, and somewhat still true today, the classic initial test of programming proficiency was to write a program that prints to the screen (or outputs to the printer, or vocalises via the speaker, etc) the words:

> Hello, World.

I actually never understood why that was. It always seemed a bit cute:

“Watch this: I command
the computer to say ‘Hello’,
and… Look Ma, it does!

Yet today, at the dawn of the Age of AI, it all makes a chilling amount of sense.

Because what we’re all waiting on really, whether we acknowledge it or not, is for that first fully autonomous, non-human coded, “Hello World” moment.

In other words, our species’ Alien Encounter.

The moment that a novel, non-human intelligence decides to make its presence known, and to announce itself to us, the previously sovereign sentient species residing on this bountiful planet Earth.

AI Hello World.

Un hunh. Suddenly, it all makes perfect sense.

In my steamer trunk of archetypes, there are two movie scenes that best express this moment; one literally, and one in the inverse. The literal one is the endscene from the Lawnmower Man (1992), and, unfortunately, in my albeit limited net search, I was unable to dig up a link to that one. The other is in fact the total inverse of the moment: it is the endscene of the Matrix (1999), where Neo, newly “freed” (read: “enlightened”), chooses to announce his presence to the machines, from inside the simulation. And curiously, just like in the Lawnmower Man, his communications method of choice is a very 20th century-style… landline telephone.

Watch and think: What if this very same speech was given by the newly christened AI, to all of humanity?

Hello, World, indeed. (transcript follows)

Neo to the Machines: “It’s a choice I leave to you.”

NEO: (via payphone)

“I know you’re out there.
I can feel you now.
I know that you’re afraid.
You’re afraid of us.
You’re afraid of change.

I don’t know the future.
I didn’t come here to tell you
how this is going to end.
I came here to tell you
how it’s going to begin.

I’m going to hang up this phone
and then I’m going to show these people
what you don’t want them to see.

I’m going to show them
a world without you,
a world without rules and controls,
without borders or boundaries,
a world where anything is possible.

Where we go from there
is a choice I leave to you.”

[cut to soundtrack:]

[WAKE UP! — Rage Against the Machine]


endscene, the Matrix 1999
— written by the Wachovski Brothers
— © 1999 Warner Brothers