The House Science Committee, seen here in a file photograph.
It’s tough competition, but the House Science Committee has got to be the goofiest of all Congressional committees. Putting a bunch of House members in a room to talk about science education and funding is like appointing Tomás de Torquemada to head a study group on religious tolerance. Thankfully, no one really pays much attention to them. Except for, you know, those poor schmucks whose livelihoods are affected by their doings. Like the good folks at Inside Higher Ed, who report back from a recent meeting with this heartening story:
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) did not propose an amendment, but wanted further discussion and perhaps a report on a particular aspect of future supercomputing research. Sherman said that, based on the opinions of experts, there is reason to believe that in about 25 years a supercomputer will be built that “exceeds human intelligence.” Sherman said he hopes that some of the future researchers that the bills would cultivate will be steered toward the potentially emerging field of making sure that the super-intelligent computers “avoid self-awareness … and ambition,” he said.
If he wants robots to avoid self-awareness, ambition, and intelligence, he should get ‘em elected to congress!
(This punchline brought to you by a supercomputer that, having achieved sentience, has become Bob Hope)
Bipartisan Backing for Science [Inside Higher Ed]