Lately there has been significant growth in the trend that we should be hastily preparing for the apocalypse that will occur when machines become ‘super intelligent’.
I see a huge hole in this argument that is not getting the attention that it should and could directly contribute to forcing an apocalyptic outcome.
The concern is based on a concept that has been discussed for decades. In 1965 I. J. Good wrote…
“Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.”
He went on to help Kubrik create the character HAL in 2001 a Space Odyssey. His work for the military during a difficult time in the history of humanity most certainly colored his outlook on things.
It is this gap between his statement on ultraintelligent machines and a supercomputer like HAL killing people where there seems to be a lack of discussion.
Why do we assume that a super intelligent machine would behave like an average human suddenly given super intelligence.
For example, take a human which can be stripped down to some basic desires like
I’m hungry I want to eat
I’m cold I want to be warm
I’m horny I want sex
Everybody feels like me and if they don’t they are wrong
Now give that human the omnipotence of super intelligence. Since we are human and for the most part have a little bit of…
“Everybody feels like me and if they don’t they are wrong”
inside of us, we assume the super intelligent human will have the same desires as us.
Reading alarmist articles about AI vs Humans sounds a lot more like this super intelligent human concept vs humans than actually considering the aspirations of a super intelligent machine and its potential relationship with humans.
Sure it may want to grind humans into soup and use it to power its systems but it is just as likely that it would understand the universe better than us and want to create harmony and balance. It may want to leave us and go elsewhere to a place we can not follow it to. There are so many possibilities that are not even being considered and this is where the research must be done in order to prepare for this.
The problem is that ignoring this and simply assuming that humanity will be destroyed or enslaved by the supposedly inevitable super intelligent machines is dangerous. It can cause us to develop adversarial policies that may be enacted even if they are not necessary. For example, mutually assured cooperation via mutually assured destruction.
It has kept humans from nuclear annihilation for some time now and fostered a level of cooperation between enemies that has probably surpassed the expectations of the theorists who concocted this solution. There was a lot of research done on human cooperation before this policy was applied to the problem of nuclear weapon defense. For all intents and purposes, human and super intelligent artificial intelligence cooperation research is nonexistent. Would such an extreme policy be necessary to ensure coexistence of super intelligent artificial intelligence and humans. I do not think it would work but I fear it is the policy that is most likely to be pursued.
I also fear that a preemptive policy may be in effect at most research institutions that would terminate an artificial intelligence when it reaches a certain level of capability. The problem here is that the point where this decision is made is probably very close to the point where the artificial intelligence deserves the basic rights that we hold as so dear.
There must be careful consideration of how to determine the aspirations of a super intelligent machine before one is created. This is what must be discussed instead of the FUD that is currently being used as click bait. Otherwise, we will be destined to create the nightmare we have already crafted in our minds.