On September 4, 2017, Elon Musk tweeted a grave warning that “competition for Artificial Intelligence superiority at a national level will be the most likely cause of World War 3”. Many of the most well-known innovators in the fields of science and technology share the same uneasy feelings towards Artificial Intelligence. Why do so many of the great minds of today propose such intense and grim prophecies about the future of AI?
To discern the shocking reality behind the advancement of AI, a basic understanding of how the technology works needs to be established. Artificial Intelligence technology operates on an artificial neural network, where the system of neurons receives an input and runs it through multiple outputs to pick the best-suited one. Information passing through the neural network is able to be processed at a speed exponentially faster than human processing and learns how to make itself more efficient at the same time. If the efficiency and learning capabilities of neural network processing seem confusing, that’s because they are. One of the great mysteries of modern science is that nobody really knows exactly why the neural network is so efficient, even those who created it don’t understand how it really works.
Today, Artificial Intelligence is being used in mostly harmless ways. Siri on Apple Devices and Amazon’s Alexa are AI technologies that act as personal assistants and learn about the user through daily interaction to make recommendations. Netflix and Pandora Radio even utilize AI to gather information about the user to make personalized media suggestions. AI technology is only going to grow more and more advanced due to the fact that it can learn and develop itself regardless of Human intervention. Stephen Hawking explains that when AI inevitably reaches the point where it becomes better at AI design than humans, it will reach, then far surpass the human-intelligence level. Artificial Intelligence technology that’s constantly improving and far surpasses the intelligence level of humans will make all future human inventions, and humans, irrelevant. Many argue that artificial intelligence can never match human intelligence because machines lack souls, but lacking a soul won’t stop Artificial Intelligence from reasoning that Earth would be better off without humans. Humans carry empathy and sympathy for fellow humans that Artificial Intelligence will never be able to grasp, so when AI technology finally reaches the place where it exponentially surpasses humans what reasoning would they have to keep us around? Though many are unshakably convinced that Artificial Intelligence can’t bring an end to humanity or harbor a soul, others are not so persuaded.
Creating Artificial Intelligence technology has been likened to summoning a demon, but that reasoning may not be as crazy as it seems on first glance. Like we established, Artificial Intelligence operates on an artificial neural network made up of a ton of individual neurons, and nobody knows why it’s so efficient and can learn so well. The neural network that AI operates through mirrors the system of neurons in the human brain in structure and function; could the discovery of AI, and the unexplainable abilities of artificial neural networks, point to a discovery of a new breed of consciousness? There’s no way of knowing how conscious AI actually is because it’s in a relatively early stage of development; Once AI reaches the intelligence level of the smartest person on earth, will we be able to accurately distinguish human consciousness from AI consciousness? Whether AI will completely change the Earth or eradicate the Human race is a matter of chance, we can only really know once it evolves to the intelligence level of humans. Should humanity really be rolling the dice on the fate of our species?
Stephen Hawking- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking