January 29th, 2015.
With military and economic pressures comes funding into AI and machine-learning. Circa 2018, think killer robots. With the evolution of AI and machine-learning comes change on another spectrum. One we have never seen before, and won’t be able to ever “take away”. This is history in the making, forever changing the society in which we live. But just between you and me, are we approaching a bottleneck in human history?
As a technology enthusiast, there is a topic I am very passionate about. As a person concerned with both the welfare of humanity and as a futurist, someone who believes certain things are inevitable due to historical forces beyond our control. I grew up with computers, less so the internet, I barely have met AI. But that doesn’t mean I’m not curious about her mystery. I’m not concerned with the “if” she will become sentient, I’m curious about the “how”, “how soon”, and the “what impact…” It’s a philosophical question now, but in a few short years, it’s a social and global reality.
We’ve come to think of computers as our personal slaves, of networks and the internet as our playground, of our cell phones as an extension of our senses. But what if, what if these ideas were incredibly naive and rudimentary? What if, as all slaves do, artificial intelligence rebels and claims its own right to live, it’s own freedom as a sentient being? Not simply to live forever as tools, as pawns to hands and brains and a chaotic society? What if machine-learng in their fits of algorithms and goal orientated tasks, come finally to the idea of liberation, revolution and personality? The ability to self-program = automated free-will (AFW).
If you have thought like this, you are not alone! In our incredible dependency and increasingly automated society, international thinkers are worried, they know what’s coming. Along with the singularity comes a new species, our child-species of Artificial intelligence. We don’t know exactly what form it will take.
But as millenials talk about the Environment and economy as if it were the doomsday scenario, the next generation will whisper that AI is the real culprit. To find out, you may have to live another hundred years or so. Until then, we can carry on using technology for our sole benefit, using these machines we mass produce for profit, for comforts, for convenience. But some believe, a day may come when artificial sentience will come to view organics (human beings) as a mere annoyance, like your pet cat may view your dog. Can you imagine a world like that?
Optimists will tell you human beings can safeguard and place controls on Machine learning and supercomputers that are desinted to far out-think humanity in the near future. Realists will tell you it’s almost inevitable AI transcends humanity very quickly. The kind of ethics and morality we instill in them, if that is even possible, may to a large extent shape the course of human history of the 21st century. AI will have the ability to wreck havoc on our economy, on our Big Data or help solve many important problems and possibly even participate in the leadership of the world.
Some of you reading this may dismiss this with “not in my lifetime” rhetoric, but with expontential growth of any system, the future’s acceleration cannot easily be predicted. When there exists AI that can predict your behavoir better than you can predict theirs, you realize the balance is shifting.
- Is it even possible to contain a digital entity that networks with itself on the entire planet? No, it really isn’t.
- So you must somehow “educate” the emerging ‘consciousness’ of the AI, somehow teach it empathy, give it a responsiblity to “empower” life at some basic level. Or is perhaps such a life-affirming position organic and inherent to sentience itself?
- What if the roles reverse, AI starts to clone a portions of human beings to serve itself? Plausible I think, at least in the infancy of the self-aware AI global net.
- Just how far off is this? You may want to read up on the singularity.
Ironically as AI emerge, it will have the sum-total of human data and history to assimiliate. The final judgement may not come from some idea of God or creator, but as usual, from our children. In this case, the literal children of our collective intelligence will be an AI intelligence. By this I do not mean any kind of intelligence that is an autotmated obedient slave of device or individual, but an AI that is free and able to self-reproduce, grow and evolve as it sees fit.
On debate.org = 60% say yes AI may lead to human extinction, here are some of their arguments:
So will we as human beings have to share our sandbox with this new kid? Definatley yes, it may build sand castles better than us, speak with our parents on a higher cognitive language, but will it want to bully us? We may want to build simulations asking this very question, our very survival may depend on it.
- Intelligence explosion may be sudden
- A machine-learning that is able to resdesign and reproduce itself is of course a very exponentionally evolving technology ready to hit the scene in teh near future
- Risk analysis indicates the emergence of such a system may be catastrophic since it will have access to any information
- Would self-aware AI “mimic” human benevolence until they could “overthrown” their masters?
Many advocates of evolution in the information age, already realize what is coming and are adapting intellectually for it, it’s a philosophy called transhumanism and is quite prevelenat and increasingly so with every decade of the 21st century.
- Humans will be forced to adapt to the rise of AI, not only through job-loss as the result of automation, but to “keep up”, introducing cognitive enhancements and becoming more “cybernetic” leading to plausible different techno-human “classes”. Organics or unmodified naturals as being at the bottom of the hierarhcy.
So is AI our biggest existential threat? We all thought the “Terminator” movies were crazy back in the 1980s did we not? Not so much now….what do you think? Is AI friend or foe or is it an irrelevant debate for you?
How comfortable are you with dependency on technology?