Artificial Intelligence and Götterdämerung: The Evolutionary Paradigm of the Future

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The impractical metaphor that boldly proclaims information technology is the “information highway” is unsustainable, since information technology is evolving faster than intraplanetary transportation technology. While many of our generation embrace this metaphor and believe that the future is embedded in a network paradigm (web, neural, or other), many of us yearn for the paradigm just beyond it This paper attempts to predict and define what future paradigms are in store for artificial intelligence (Al). Although we mortals have very few discernible (and replicable) methodologies for predicting the future, we tend to develop our hopes for the future around an identifiable hero. Stories surrounding this hero make up a mythology, so consequently I chose mythology as my methodology. In particular I depend on Wagner's opera tetralogy referred to Der Ring Des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), which tells the past and prologue of a world full of gods, mortals, giants, dwarves, and (finally) introduces a genetically- evolved hero called Siegfried. In this paper, I make the case that Siegfried is the autonomous agent we refer to in the world of artificial intelligence. Arguably, by observing Siegfried's actions and understanding the symbolism and metaphors in the third opera in The Ring, we can comprehend the future characteristics of autonomous agents. The final opera, Götterdäm- merung, reveals how the autonomous agent will undergo change, develop, and act The “evolutionary agents,” (which I hope to demonstrate is a more appropriate name than “autonomous agents”) will: 1) be allowed (and encouraged) to act without representations; 2) be capable of building theories and creating a world of their own; 3) be able to assume any virtual identity they wish; 4) possess free will; and 5) be capable of developing a moral code and a value system of their own. However, the future prospects for evolutionary agents are not very bright, because emotion and love cannot be programmed for it The final opera of The Ring is called Götterdämmerung which translates to The Twilight of the Gods or, in our world of digital computers. The Twilight of the Computer Gurus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalData Base for Advances in Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Götterdämerung
  • artificial intelligence
  • autonomous agent
  • cognition
  • evolution
  • evolutionary agent
  • free will
  • guru
  • information systems
  • information technology
  • mythology
  • neural nets
  • opera
  • virtual reality


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