After reading a few different articles about A.I. I got to thinking about the far future outcomes that may happen. For sake of discussion, A.I. in these scenarios is a self-conscious & driven intelligence. This is beyond A.I. built around solving a specific problem.
Scenario 1 — AI is a bust / a never happening Pie in the sky
This scenario is probably what deep down most people want. This scenario is the safest, but at the cost of many hours of research and billions, if not trillions of dollars wasted. Nobody is losing their jobs (except maybe researchers and other AI related staff). This wouldn’t be the worst scenario as there may be large insightful findings and specific problems that we solve as a result of having a specialized artificial intelligence acting as a companion with human users.
Scenario 2 — AI pushes us to solving all human-related problems
Potentially, if we built a machine that could learn on its own and needs no downtime between learnings, we basically result in a scenario of having a machine that could solve problems that we think are largely impossible. These machines could undoubtedly replace humans in every sense of the word and if not immediately, solve whatever microproblems are in the way of ‘taking over’.
Scenario 2A — AI destroys the world
Potentially, humans become the single most largest threat to AI and the world as defined by AI and it decides to rid the world of us. We would be extinct in only a short matter of time. Machines would take over the world and establish their own order. We would become dinosaurs.
Scenario 2B — AI creates the world zoo
In this scenario, AI would be able to solve every problem and decides we can be contained and confined. We become a zoo where the primary exhibit is us. We would be cared for and all of our basic needs provided for, but we would be limited in what we can do based on whatever AI decides is best for us.
Scenario 3 — AI becomes yet another tool
In the same way that cars, computers, and medicine have enhanced our lives, AI will just become another sort of ‘tool’ that we use to get by. We will depend on it as if it were another human, but both we and AI know our bounds and AI will act as a tool to be used only by humans.
Scenario X — Unforeseen
We are making strides in many areas of technology and AI is only one major branch in technology of the future. We may end up never treading down the AI road when another technology may better serve us, or some other scenario entirely.
I can see any of the above happening with the largest likelihood on 1 or 3. Scenario 2 is the topic of many sci-fi movies, but there’s something surreal about them that make me doubt their manifestation.
Finally, regardless of what happens, if anyone is fearful of Scenario 2, perhaps it’s time that we start to set a better example for artificial intelligence, it is man-made after all, and we all have our own flaws. Most of the movies that depict Scenario 2A involve AI understanding how terrible humans really are / can be.
Granted, this is all speculation, but maybe it’s better to play it safe and just try to be great people, especially to each other. Only then will our potential future robot overlords display some form of empathy in that their birth means that humanity as a whole needs to up its game and evolve a bit.