I found this yesterday and felt I needed to put up a post about the article. Apparently there is a group of very very smart people who call themselves the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), that are working on solving current and potential problems that may arise for humanity.
The article is a little lengthy but has some very interesting aspects to it. At one point the article mentions that in the recent past, like the last 60 years or so, it is the first time in recorded history that humans could destroy themselves and the world. That is a scary thought but it’s the truth, our nuclear arsenal could easily annihilate every living person and animal on the planet. Cockroaches and Twinkies would inherit the earth. (I do not know how much science fact there is to that last sentence?)
The FHI also keeps in mind the advancement of new technologies and potential threats. None are more prevalent than the creation of A.I. The article states that they believe that sometime in the next 50 years that a Artificial Intelligence will be created that is as smart or smarter than humans. The big question here is what will happen to us once that A.I. comes online?
No one really knows, but one of the guys in the article says that he feels he has a higher chance of dying from and artificial technology related disaster than from a heart attack or cancer. He also says that humans have a 50/50 chance to live to 2100. WOW, those are some bold statements to say the least. I believe Hawking said something similar recently.
I don’t want to be Debby Downer, but I think there is a lot of wisdom in what they are saying. I think our inquisitive nature will eventually be our undoing. That goes for A.I. as well, we may be able to create it someday and someday soon, but we have not the slightest idea how to control it, or what it will be capable of. In the next 50 years if A.I. is born I could see our days being numbered and that the 2100 prediction will look more likely. I also think the prediction of A.I. being created in the next 50 years is very optimistic. The problem with an artificial intelligence is that if it can learn, it will probably be able to learn at an alarming rate and could quickly out smart its creators. By then we would have no way to stop it and would more than likely be at its mercy.
Technology is great and I look forward to a future filled with things that will help humanity, but it is also something that can quickly get out of control. As cool as it would be to have a conversation with an Artificial Intelligence I do not think humanity is ready. The FHI is trying to be proactive, but most of the times the biggest problems are the unforeseen ones.