Many have come to fear and loath advanced AI (artificial intelligence), but aren't they being a little judgmental?
We all know someone who is boastfully predicting the "Terminator scenario"; robot death squads marching over scorched earth, killing every human in sight. With hollywood fueling their imagination and a lack of knowledge of evolutionary psychology, who can blame them for their dated vision. But why aren't they rejecting all technology? Really, the only way to stop strong AI's emergence is for all of them to adopt a Ted Kaczynski lifestyle. The fact is these iPhone using Luddites are just a bunch of blowhards. Lets see them refuse modern medicine when their life is on the line. They won't, and if they really are willing to adopt a (violent) Kaczynski lifestyle, then they belong in a prison just like Kaczynski himself.
One fact often repeated in our articles is that technological progress ALWAYS improves quality of life on a global scale; IQ and life expectancy always going up, violence and poverty always going down. Yet still, the term "good old days" refuses to die. The terms lives on because people tend to dwell on the negative. The fact is things were not that good back in the day. Maybe 30 years ago you were 30 years younger, but isn't that a personal problem? And a problem that technology is actually about to reverse, but that story is for another blog.
Ok, so some people may accept technology to a degree but single out advanced AI as the threat.
Well, first we aren't going in the direction of individualism, but rather a collective consciousness as explained in The World Is Pregnant: Meet, Merge, and Repeat. Another aspect to consider is found in How The Mind Works by Stephen Pinker. Pinker's masterpiece clearly explains just how complicated intelligence really is. Not even what we call common sense is that simple. Once examined, common sense appears extremely detailed and is the outcome of a long evolutionary process. So programing a conscious robot (which is in no way connected to our consciousness) is a daunting task. Surely our first apparently conscious AI will be barely conscious and immature. Perhaps early conscious AI will even lack the desire to live, unless the "common sense" to live is deeply and successfully programed into it, but surely a true AI will learn that there is much to live for.
A conscious AI would require impressive tech specs, a capacity to learn, and must have some kind of goal for it to possess consciousness. So how would a barely conscious entity with vast computing power become more conscious? By learning from human consciousness. The pleasures of conscious experience will likely emerge as the most valuable goal to the AI. This is where YOU have to reflect on yourself as an individual. This is the barometer of pessimism versus optimism. Will a fresh AI find uncontrollable hatred in your heart, or will it be overwhelmed with positive emotions? Love conquers all, my friend.
As the world grows smaller, us humans are growing closer. Even recent DNA research suggests that our ancient human relatives actually had romantic encounters with Neanderthals, unlike the pessimistic view point expressed by Dr. Joseph Rosenin in the first part of Technocalyps. Its fair to say that an AI (either an emulation of the human brain or from scratch) will gain the capacity of love as it increases in conscious experience. Evil intention is diminishing globally. It always has been, and always will.
Still a pessimist and think AI should somehow be halted? Well, technology is unstoppable. Attempting to halt progress only puts us in a dark dangerous hole, while the technology grows elsewhere unbeknownst to us. When the US government banned aspects of stem cell research, technology found a way to move forward with the ban in place. No person, no government, no one can stop progress. The emerging technologies are vast, complicated, and potentially dangerous if handled carelessly. Today's emerging technologies already require vast amounts of computer simulations, calculations and algorithms. It is reasonable to think tomorrow's technologies will require even more computer aid. AI will not only help us develop future technologies, it will guide us safely in the application of these technologies. Strong AI is not only inevitable, it may also turn out to be our savior.
So if AI is potentially so wonderful why do so many people of faith oppose it? Even though the implications of the technological singularity are in line with many faiths [see Why Christianity & Transhumanism Are Not Enemies] there still seems to be a competition of sorts between the two. A couple tousand years ago the technological singularity wasn't conceivable. We were living in complete darkness. Today, our technologies are the twilight dawn of something so great, so fulfilling, that it challenges western religions. The technological singularity is not a religion. It is something much much greater. So large that it is like the rising of the sun, truly lighting up humanity with a real hope of actualizing heaven.