The world will be completely changed by Artificial Intelligence later this century. But in what way?
This transformation will either occur as a “soft takeoff”, where areas of society will cooperate and unify in response to accumulative AI developments, or as a “hard takeoff” in which a distinct AI project will teach humanity an unpleasant lesson.
Because of our current technological progress, it’s possible that a rogue AI could, at some point, take over Earth. It would start to fulfill its self-inducted goals by conquering the galaxy and engage in some very amazing achievements in science and engineering.
It might sound promising but, because we are talking about an AI machine who exceeded its creator and is now out of control, it would not necessarily honor human values, neither the concept of preventing the suffering of less powerful beings.
Whether a rogue-AI plot is possible or not is a question which will further intrigue us.
At present, the rulers in AI and robotics seem to be mostly in academia, even though some of them manage big corporations and startups. Some AI and robotic startups have been bought by Google, also DARPA has a history in AI innovations and improvements, finances academic AI work, and holds “DARPA challenge” contests.
Even the big players such as the CIA and NSA care for AI because of its data-mining potential.
The NSA has a track record of constructing huge computer clusters costing billions of dollars. Brain-emulation work could also evolve into something significant in the coming years.
If you aren’t concerned enough, here is a video showing the ongoing expanse of AI and what it might mean for us as a biological sub-species:
Android Dick, as handsome as he looks, is a robot designed to create thinking on his own and at the same time, imitate human features like compassion and creativity. The first version of the android dates from 2005 and the team who designed it has been working on it ever since.
The handsome android debuted on the PBS show Nova in 2011. They held an interview that tested Android Dick’s thinking as well as facial expressions and its sense of humor (if it really were humor).
The results were pretty typical for a robot however, one particular answer sent chills down my spine.
During the interview with its creators (present in the vid), the android was asked if it thinks that robots will take over the world. Android Dick said :
Don’t worry, even if I evolve into Terminator I will still be nice to you. I will keep you warm and safe in my people zoo where I can watch you for old time’s sake.”
When asked about its programming, and whether it can build its own thoughts and information, Android Dick replied:
A lot of humans ask me if I can make choices or if everything I do is programmed. The best way I can respond to that is to say that everything, humans, animals and robots do, is programmed to a degree.
As technology improves, it is anticipated that I will be able to integrate new words that I hear online and in real time. I may not get everything right, say the wrong thing, and sometimes may not know what to say, but everyday I make progress. Pretty remarkable, huh?”
The day when AI will conquer our world doesn’t seem far after all. If it’s not the rogue androids developing information and thinking on their own, think about the Government.
The military is known for developing technology ahead of our time and military robotics seems to be one of the most researched features of the present.
As human-level AI gets closer, there seems to be only a few suited entities who can invest and sustain this technology. We are talking about academia or government, even though Google is not your average player and might also play the leading role.
When the time comes and people will start to panic, it’s only a matter of time until academic work regarding AI will be shut down, leaving the government free lead over the entire deal.
A military-robot arms race is already underway, but this will be the topic of discussion for another article.