AI: Motivation longevity is what we should worry about

AI: Motivation longevity is what we should worry about

The dangers of machine intelligence are real, but machine motivation longevity is an equal danger already well into its prime. While most perceive the AI race today as intelligence driven. I think this is the wrong focal point.

Humans have already lost to machines when it comes to motivation longevity. Which arguably is more important than intelligence. Motivation is what caused our race to stand up right, to survive. Or causes you to further educate yourself or stop. It arguably could solve some of the worlds biggest problems, too. But we're experiencing drastic diminishing returns on the lack of motivation in human society today. We see no profound risk of losing our position on the food chain.

Let's take an example scenario of a simple job, turning a wheel every minute. If a human were to do this task, eventually their motivation for the task would diminish over time. Their respect for the task at each instance it's performed, reduces. Thus reaching a point of emptiness for the importance of that task. But a machines motivation stays constant, only tied to its constraint of hardware. And this is truly dangerous.

The dangers of machines to humans amplifies greatly when you begin to introduce machines into more tasks, ultimately introduced by other humans who struggle to keep even more other humans motivated. As this takes over, the motivation of humans for important tasks will most likely diminish further and lead to greater deviation. The amount of mundane but important tasks being done by machines today is enormous. When you layer in intelligence and the low margin for human error in training intelligence, there are significant risks.

To be clear, what I'm arguing is that it's not machine intelligence, an ai brain, or ai we should truly be concerned about. It's that training the machine even to the smallest degree incorrectly could go faulty. A faulty task, albeit accidentally evil one would never lose momentum. That's scary.

Ultimately, there's a way to prevent this. Enforce diminishing motivation over time as a core component of the machine's operations and programming. A failsafe that the same virus currently affecting the human race is built in, ensuring it doesn't become a superior being.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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