The Two Faces of Tomorrow – James P. Hogan
I ran across another great excerpt in one of Hogan’s earlier works I am reading about a group of scientists fearful of their intelligent network becoming ‘self aware’ and doing harm to man, so the set out to test it on a mini-earth aboard a space station, intentionally designing the station’s AI to have a survival instinct!
There was a great little ‘both sides of the card’ type exchange between the very rational scientist and the idealist hollywood consultant:
“Oh come on. Ray!” At once her manner became openly challenging. “The whole thing is practically an admission that we’re on the verge of the biggest screw-up in the history of the human race, if it hasn’t happened already. Why else is everything being hushed up like this? They told us all about Maskelyne. Admit it! Nobody knows if the world’s being taken over by a half-wit or not, and Janus is a last-ditch attempt to try and find some way of unscrambling the mess.”
She was doing it again. Dyer felt his emotional pressure gauge nudging into the red.
“That’s garbage!” he told her. “The purpose of Janus is to gather data—factual data. Sure, there are answers that we don’t have right now. No one’s trying to pretend that there aren’t. There will always be questions that can’t be answered right now. When it comes to the point where we need to know, we do the only thing that makes sense—we find a way to find the facts. The way to stop being scared of ghosts is to go out and look for ’em. That’s when you find out they only exist in your own head.”
“Uh uh. You’re selling science again,” Laura warned him.
“I’m selling common sense. Anyhow, they’re the same thing. The end-product of science is reliable information, in other words knowledge. The opposite of that is ignorance, which can’t solve anything.”
“Okay, okay.” Laura raised a hand as if to ward him off. “Our beautiful friendship only began again five minutes ago and I’m not arguing, at least not for the rest of today. It looks as if we’re going to have plenty of time for all that fun later. Let’s call it a tie.”
Dyer’s mood evaporated abmptly. He grinned.
“Okay. You’re obviously intelligent enough to know deep down that I’m right anyway, so I’ll go along with a tie so you won’t lose face.” His body swayed back and easily evaded the short jab that she aimed at his ribs.
“The problem with all you scientists is that you’re always too proud to admit when you’ve goofed,” she retorted, “That’s bad. Pride always comes before a fall. Didn’t anybody ever tell you that?”
“And so does walking around with your eyes shut,” he answered.