Experts believe they have discovered the ultimate use of artificial intelligence: the extinction of the human race
Some time ago, and I don’t remember where I heard that from, someone pointed out the changing pace of technology. And that point involved a thought experiment with perhaps the smartest person who ever walked the earth, Leonardo da Vinci. A polymath who excelled in fields as diverse as art, architecture, mathematics, natural sciences, anatomy and physiology, and philosophy, he died just over 500 years ago. So a blink of an eye on the grand scale of things. And questions have been raised about what he would think of the technology we take for granted.
Especially if you tried to explain to him how to order pizza with your phone. He couldn’t imagine the phone, the electricity that powers it, the signal that transmits it, the internal combustion engine of the car that delivers it, or even the pizza itself, given that tomatoes were only introduced to Italy about 50 years ago, according to his Death. (And don’t get Leonardo started on Dave’s Pizza Reviews.) The rate of increase in our technology over the past 20 years dwarfs that of the 100 years before. Which, in turn, dwarfed the advances of the previous four centuries, stretching back to Leonardo’s time.
The point was, da Vinci was an idiot compared to you and me. No, slam that. The point is that there is no longer any way of predicting what the future will bring. Not even in the very near future. Just as movies and television never saw just a few decades ago how addicted we would all be to having those pizza order rectangles in our hands, the next step in our evolution is a complete mystery. All we can do is make reasonably educated guesses about where we’re headed.
And the latest conjecture in this direction means doom:
Source – It seems only a matter of time before computers become smarter than humans. This is a prediction we can be pretty confident about – because we’re already seeing it. Many systems have gained superhuman abilities at certain tasks, like Scrabble, chess, and poker, where people now routinely lose to the bot across the board. …
Imagine a single algorithm that could beat a chess grandmaster, write a novel, compose a catchy tune, and drive a car through city traffic.
According to a 2014 survey of experts, there is a 50 percent chance of achieving “human-scale machine intelligence” by 2050 and a 90 percent chance by 2075. Another study by the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute found that at least 72 projects around the world with the expressed goal of creating an artificial general intelligence — the stepping stone to artificial superintelligence (ASI) that would not only perform as well as humans in every area of interest, but would far exceed our best abilities. …
In 2018, an algorithm played the Atari game Qbert won by exploiting a loophole that “no human player is said to have ever uncovered”. Another program became an expert in digital hide-and-seek thanks to a strategy that “researchers never saw… coming.” …
For any given set of constraints on ASI’s behavior, no matter how exhaustive, clever theorists, using their merely “human” intelligence, can often find ways for things to go very wrong; You can bet an ASI will come up with more.
And as for shutting down a destructive ASI, a sufficiently intelligent system should quickly realize that one possibility of never achieving its assigned goals is to cease to exist. Logic dictates that it tries everything to keep us from pulling the plug. …
ASI would light a match next to a fireworks factory. Research on artificial intelligence must slow down or even pause. And when researchers don’t make that decision, governments should make it for them.
OK. Cool. So we started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to do any math and just type numbers on a keyboard and let it calculate the tip on the tab?” Which led to, “I’d really like to have a chat with someone as I move, rather than being connected to them by wires hanging from large wooden poles.” Next up was a way to get dinner delivered without having to speak to anyone. And in about the time it took to paint The last supper, we created a cylinder that sits on our kitchen countertops, listening in to our conversations and letting us know when our packages have been delivered. Plus the means of our own destruction. super duper.
So as we speak, the best and brightest among us are working on machines that will be so much smarter than we are that we won’t be able to outperform them. Which in turn means they know our plan before we do if we try to stop them from taking over and destroying us all. We are essentially turning from the highest form of intelligence in our world into the dog that gets fooled every time our computer overlords pretend to throw the tennis ball.
And that’s a good idea, why? Haven’t we learned anything from every sci-fi horror story, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein good to both of them terminator Movies (of about 12)? It starts with beating us at chess and qbert. They end up beating us with our own nukes and making the irradiated survivors work in the mines to extract ore so they can build more machines to kill us faster and better. And we don’t have anyone speaking up and trying to stop this before it’s too late. In the words of a sane film scholar, Dr. Ian Malcolm, our scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could perfect artificial superintelligence that they didn’t stop to consider if they could should.
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