What would you say if I told you that an armada of highly advanced alien craft was en-route to Earth from some mysterious distant world, with an estimated arrival time in the next century — perhaps in as little as 20 years. Would you start worrying?
Would you grow frustrated with the lack of answers to questions like: Could we hold the aliens off, or appeal to them to keep our best interests at heart?
The truth is, we know of no such armada, notwithstanding the current interest in UAPs (UFOs). Humanity faces a similar scenario, but the aliens will be created by us right here on Earth.
Many prominent thinkers — including top researchers in the field of A.I., or artificial intelligence — believe that we are in the early stages of building our own successors, silicon-based life forms that — from our limited human perspective — could achieve god-like intelligence and power. What could possibly go wrong, you might ask.
In recent years I’ve thought a lot about A.I., driven by the exciting prospect that it could help solve global challenges like pandemics and climate change, and cure diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. Many others see it as a way to accumulate wealth and power, but regardless of how we get there, such powerful machines could also ultimately render humans obsolete.
This may still be a long way off, but the development of hardware and software leading us in that direction is accelerating, and I find little comfort in the pronouncements of those who insist there is no reason to worry, including those who say any AGI should be isolated “in a box.”
I see a mystifying inability among some I admire to adequately consider the threat. The assurances they offer border on the comical, including Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s claim that if an AI starts misbehaving, all we have to do is unplug it. Or shoot it. He is deluded, and I’ll tell you why shortly.
Deniers tell us that we’ve been watching too many science-fiction movies, and that challenges to our superior intellects, and stuff like in the Terminator, are either impossible, or too far away. (My two favorite movies with nuanced AI perspectives are”Her” and “Ex Machina”.)
I am astonished by the muddled and confused non-treatments of AI from such authoritative sources as PBS Frontline, and many hastily assembled youtube videos, which fail to adequately distinguish narrow AI as it is applied today, from future AI in general, and AGI in particular. Maybe the writers just haven’t…
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