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 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, 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 spectacular achievements in science and engineering.
It may sound promising, but since we are talking about an AI machine that had exceeded its creator and is now out of control, it would not necessarily respond to human values, neither the concept of preventing the suffering of those less powerful.
Whether a rogue-AI scenario is possible or not remains a topic for debate, but at this rapid evolutionary pace, it won’t take long before we’ll get to see the outcome ourselves.
At present, the rulers in AI and robotics seem to be mostly in academia, although some of them manage big corporations and startups. Some AI and robotic startups have been bought by Google. DARPA also has a history in AI improvements, and it supports various 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. Brain-emulation work could also evolve into something significant in the years to come.
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 is a robot designed to think independently and at the same time imitate human traits such as compassion and creativity. The first version of the android appeared in 2005, and the team that designed it has been working to improve 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, but one answer in particular sent chills down my spine. During the interview with its creators (seen in the vid), the android was asked if it thinks that robots will take over the world someday, and it replied in the most ‘unexpected’ way.
“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 too far into the future. If our end won’t be brought by self-expanding androids, then thing at the risk posed by our governments. The military is known for developing technology way ahead of our time and military robotics seems to be one of the most researched feature this year.
As human-level AI gets closer, there seems to be only a few entities capable to invest and sustain this technology. We are talking about academia or government, although Google is not to be neglected because it can take the leading role at any given time.
When people will start seeing AI development as a direct threat, only a matter of time will remain until funds received by academics for AI research will be shut down, leaving the government to seize the opportunity of being the only authorized AI developer on the market. The outcome we can only guess.