In the TV show Person of Interest, in Season 5 episode 12, when Harold and Greer are talking, there is a very interesting dialog between them:

Harold: Samaritan's code was conceived by Arthur Claypool, who was a good man. You have corrupted it.

Greer: I didn't corrupt Samaritan any more than I can control it now. That would be like the apes controlling us.

My question is: Did Greer really corrupt Samaritan? And how? There is no clue or evidence about that. Greer just "turned on" Samaritan and started to receive orders from it. 

1 Answer 1


Greer didn't corrupt Samaritan; it was humanity who corrupted it.

The machine recognized Harold as her "father" in Season 4, Episode 22, for one reason: he taught it about the world. Harold taught the machine how the world works, the difference between good and bad people, the difficulties and subtleties that both concepts encompass, and how a single action cannot make you a bad guy. We can see this in the flashbacks throughout the entire show. While Harold was constructing and refining The Machine, he taught her that the world is not only logic but also ethics, and The Machine learned this. In this way, The Machine takes decisions based not only on logic but also on what it learned from Harold. In some way, The Machine is truly his daughter. There is actually a difference between teaching and educating, and The Machine was educated by Harold.

On the other hand, Samaritan was never educated. Samaritan just took all the data from the internet network around the world, and based on logic, she started to make decisions. However, the world is far more than just logic; it is about ethics. Samaritan never learned that. Samaritan just saw the horrors that humanity has committed and decided that the best course of action was to subjugate humanity to a new regime, regardless of anything else.

Samaritan was never educated by anyone. Greer just threw it to the world without any way to correctly interpret what happened in it. Greer just turned it on and started to receive orders from it (her). This can be seen in Season 3, Episode 23. In this way, humanity itself corrupted it. Or perhaps we can say that it was the absence of education that corrupted it.

  • 1
    This seems so prescient, Samaritan suffers from the kinds of problems we now see in LLMs. Since they just use everything they scanned on the Internet as a model, they automatically pick up human biases.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 17 at 14:38

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