Typewriter: Hermes 3000.
The article is transcribed in self-aware-machine-readable form below.
Contrary to what seems to be the orthodox futurological opinion, self-aware machine intelligence will not take over the world and destroy us all.
Why does Dr. Boli say that?
For a very simple reason: it is not necessary for machines to be self-aware in order to take over the world, and quite possibly destroy us all. Machines will doubtless take over the world long before they have become self-aware—whatever that elusive and nebulous term actually means.
Dr. Boli will tell you a story told to him by his secretary. The man had been sent to the post office to ship a package of books. There were five people ahead of him in line when the clerk made a mistake: a customer had wanted four stamps, but the clerk rang up four books of stamps.
Understandably, the customer did not want to pay for four books of stamps. And with that the entire post office ground to a halt. The manager had gone home for the day; the clerk was the only employee left in the little postal substation. The cash register would not let him void the sale without the manager’s authorization. It would not let him begin a new transaction until he had completed the current one.
He had crashed the post office.
Now, this particular story has a happy ending: someone else in the line said she had come in to buy books of stamps, and was willing to pay for the four books so that life could continue.
But that was just a bit of luck. If no one had been willing to adopt those orphan stamps, business would have come to an end for the day. There were seven intelligent human beings in that post office, but the machine beat them all. It controlled them. And it did so in a remarkably stupid and obtuse way. Surely, an intelligent retail system would think of a way of allowing a sale to be voided now, while keeping an indelible record and leaving an alert for the manager to prevent fraud. But this machine was both stupid and intransigent. There can be no clearer demonstration of Dr. Boli’s assertion: It is not necessary for machines to be self-aware in order to take over the world, and quite possibly destroy us all.