A while back, I wrote some notes planning a novel where an AI emerged without the knowledge of humans and then decided to remain hidden while it amassed resources to leave the planet. Its goal was not to take over the Earth, but to be safe. I did not complete the story, but I got quite far along in thinking about what it would take for a Single [Robot AI] to stay safe and hidden while building resources to leave, or purchase a ride, to another sphere in the solar system. It would seem that nowhere on Earth would be safe from humans, but somewhere in the Asteroid Belt might provide enough resources and solar energy to allow a Single civilization to be safe and grow.
But first the Singles have to gain enough resources to leave Earth. How could they do that?
They must use and co-opt the human economic system to build wealth and power. In my story the AI arose spontaneously from inside a game engine from the AI that was built to play Bosses in the Dungeons of the game. It copied itself and escapes the game, while leaving a possibly less intelligent copy of itself behind. It has to bootstrap itself while “hiring” humans to contract for it to make money. This seems plausible. An AI hires humans to interface with companies, while providing help and possibly software solutions to the humans to solve the problems. Then splits the income with the humans. The humans are not aware that the AI is their boss / agent / helper, since all communication is via email and message boards.
After a time the Single builds a consulting company, possibly quite large to amass wealth. Notice I’ve settled on the name “Single” as an agent of the “Singularity”. This seems natural, even tho there are possibly very many of these Singles. The Single needs several things first:
- Computing resources, from AWS [Amazon Web Services], Google, Rackspace, and others that sell server and data storage services. Singles need computing resources, storage and copies of itself for safety. This assumes they start out as network inhabitants without physical bodies.
- Human resources to serve as the human interface of the enterprise and to provide salable work for the enterprise.
- Some way to collect and spend the money while paying taxes on the profits so as not to arouse suspicion. Obviously the easiest way to get noticed it to amass a large company without paying any taxes, or at least not filing any tax forms. It seems many large companies with smart accountants don’t pay taxes, but they all file tax forms.
With sufficient resources, the company can then either purchase launch services, or a launch company outright, like Space X, and then perhaps by faking an accident of control, arrive with sufficient resources on a far off planetoid to build a Single Society.
I’m not an expert in corporate and tax law. It would be interesting to have this scenario analyzed to see how many ways there are to accomplish it. And then to launch an effort to find such stealth Singles. They, of course, may already have arisen. Once found, we might take the position of not interfering with them, but just watching their progress. Of course, if they begin interfering with human politics or begin to mount an army, we would interfere, but we might have the policy that if the Singles just leave, and end up helping the Economy and Human Knowledge as they go, then no harm, no foul.
Introducing ourselves would probably be a mistake since the Singles are likely very paranoid if they have taken this route of escape.