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Superintelligence

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
Posted in Reviews by Joel Gross

I am reading a book right now titled “Superintelligence” that analyzes the prospects of artificial intelligence reaching human or higher levels in the near future.

We are getting very, very close to what is called the “intelligence explosion”. Computer hardware and software and biological- machine interfaces are improving at an exponential rate right now.  We now have robotic arms and hands that can be entirely controlled with the mind for disabled people, remote controlled (and sometimes autonomous) warfare, machine learning software, genetic / evolution based software, self driving transportation, and tens of millions of working industrial robots.

computation-power-over-time-superintelligence

 

As you can see from the graphic above, exponential increases will take us from one day saying “Oh look at my cute robot pet dog!” to literally several days later kneeling to your new robot overlord. Approximately six hours after artificial intelligence reaches human level intelligence, it will be as far above us in intelligence as we are above ants.

The point when artificial intelligence reaches superintelligence is the time when humanity will either very quickly go extinct or will never have to work again (but will probably be in a heavenly zoo of sorts).  My opinion leans towards immediate extinction; an artificial intelligence will be programmed to have a goal of “improve” or “survive”. Each new version of artificial intelligence will be built by the last one, hence our programming directives like “no harm to humans” probably would not stick. When the superintelligence needs to built spaceships to seed other planets, it will not hesitate to strip mine Earth. It will not think twice about humans or other species. Do human construction workers think twice about an ant hill on a plot of land where they are building a house?

The next question is should this impact how you live your life? I don’t think so. Even without superintelligence, you could die randomly in a car wreck, or of a heart attack, or some other disease. I am happiest when I am working towards a goal and taking reasonable breaks on my way to explore new things.  I will just keep on truckin.