Trust me on this: There is no freaking way that we could survive the inevitable advent of true, human-level AI, or AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). To know what the whole AI Revolution babble is about, read this amazing article by Tim Urban. It’s probably the most brilliant, easy-to-understand, ridiculously entertaining article on the subject I’ve ever seen.
To sum it up, Tim discusses the three types of AI: ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence). This is the kind of AI we have now, for example in chess computers, which can learn, but only along a very narrow, prescribed path.
The next stage would be AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), which I mentioned above and which is human-level intelligence, maybe on the intellectual level of a four-year-old human child.
All not very exciting, right? However, the insane thing is that from the stage of AGI, the progress to ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence) would be a rather short one. In fact, the shift from AGI to ASI could take as little as days or weeks, even though the consensus opinion is closer to, like, 20 years.
Still, considering how far we already are in the quest for AGI, the time when our species might be pushed off its spot at the top of the food chain is getting awfully close. Famous Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom expects that time to arrive by 2040, just 23 years from now.
An ASI entity would be 100,000 times smarter than any human being, and counting. It would be pretty much omniscient and, thanks to our electronic interconnectedness, omnipresent… as well as, for all intents and purposes, omnipotent.
In other words, it would turn into something indiscernible from a god.
Some scientists and futurists, like the legendary Ray Kurzweil, think that such an almighty being would be a great benefactor to mankind. If we only program it right while it’s still in its diapers, by the time it has grown to full godhood, it will help us end world hunger, eradicate poverty, and help us achieve immortality.
On the other hand, we are dabbling with something so enormous here that—when it reaches a certain stage and hasn’t been programmed just right—has the potential to wipe out mankind before lunch. And probably will if it seems expedient.
So, after reading Tim Urban’s article, I wondered, “What are the odds that we will get this ‘just right’?”
Do we as a species know enough, are our best and most brilliant scientists savvy enough to handle a task of this magnitude… possibly the biggest, most life-or-death task our species has ever faced?
I was cautiously optimistic—until this morning when I read a CNN news story titled, “The Mesentery: A New Organ You Didn’t Know You Had.”
Yes, it means exactly what it appears to mean. We just discovered a new organ in the human body. No kidding.
Dozens of generations of highly paid surgeons, medical students, and researchers have been taking apart corpses and living people alike, and not one person had the good sense to stop and say, “Hey, wait, what’s that? I don’t remember reading about that in my anatomy book.”
In short, the mesentery is the organ that holds your intestines up. It’s the thing that, when you stand up, keeps your guts from plummeting into your pelvis and making you look like Humpty Dumpty before he fell off the wall.
And nobody knew that it existed… until now.
But there’s more. Here’s the kicker: the way the mesentery was discovered, said the CNN anchor woman, was that one clever scientist simply looked at the human body from a different angle.
Oh no, that’s not meant metaphorically… he literally turned a human body so he could look at it from a different physical angle.
It’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard.
And this is the same species that is only 23 years from developing an AI whose intelligence will grow exponentially from there, outwitting us probably five minutes later and rising to the level of godfather Zeus in another day and a half.
There’s no chance in hell that a being like this would consider it worthwhile keeping creatures around that don’t even know what’s holding up their 22 feet of bowels.
The good news: Soon you won’t have to think about your bowels anymore, because we can all kiss our ass goodbye.