It’s always that moment where my frustration builds at the world and I think I am just yelling on to the void when some one politely responds to me and I feel bad. :( Sorry for the over the top response.
The part that got me all riled up was the idea of sentient AI more so than augmented humans.
As to AI, what we have learned so far is that AI is nothing more than an extension and an amplification of our biases. Self-driving cars are more likely to run over black people. Predictive policing predicts who will be a criminal based on how our historically and fundamentally racist systems have identified criminals in the past. Amazon shapes what we will buy. Google and Facebook and Twitter shape what we know. There is no reason to believe that some magical shift will happen to ensure/enforce equity and agency for all. AI is an extension and amplification of our oligarchy. AI is constructed by humans. It is by design that AI amplifies our biases. We built those biases in to our wetware for a reason. We will of course build them in to our software as well. Magical thinking will not change that. Humans write software to extend ourselves, to facilitate and automate the lives we are living not the lives that we should be living. AI is us and can only be more or better than us if that is what we want and we do not know how to want that in a useful way.
Then there is the question: Is sentient AI possible? I say no but who am I. Certainly not without quantum computing or some version of it. Computers have a fundamental limitation in that they are stoopid. No matter how fast they get and how much “learning” they do, computers are only on/off switches. That fundamental limitation, much more so than processing speed, is what limits techno-sentience. It may be that quantum computing will enable the exploration of the infinite space between 1 and 0. Maybe. But I do not believe we can mimic humans with binary which is an entertaining philosophical question.
As to cowardice. I believe waiting for some sentient singularity to solve our problems or move us to Mars is an egregious act of cowardice perpetrated by a class of people with just enough comfort and privilege to wave our hands at the problems that are killing everyone else. Imaging Hal is in and of itself destructive because it stoopifies us and drains us of our agency to make the world right today. Now. We are cowards if we ignore the suffering around us and ignore the inevitability of catastrophic failure in the future while we have pot delivered to our doors and wait for imaginary techno-gods to make the world right.
Finally, as to human augmentation. As you say, it is already here. But it’s not here for all of us. The fact that it is only for the white and wealthy is a horrific example of how we have intentionally, purposefully structured our world.
There is no amoral realm.