4. AI beyond human comprehension.
The future is hard to predict but we can consider the possibilities and work towards shaping a better future. That applies to AI as well. There are enormous benefits for integrating AI to help us make better choices.
AGI to ASI
The switch from ANI to AGI was seen in the previous article. It is quite difficult to predict how long will the transition from ANI to AGI take but one thing that is almost certain — the transition from AGI to ASI will be much faster and will be difficult for a human to comprehend.
As much as an elephant can never understand how a much smaller and much weaker human species is able to manipulate and control it, we might the lack a similar understanding in both the growth of AI and how it may be able to manipulate and control us.
Will AI overtake humans?
Humans have established themselves as superior species by controlling other animals and keeping them at bay, despite having caused more damage to the ecology of the planet than any other species. And it creates a fear at a fundamental level if humans will be overpowered by a set of algorithms which we created in the first place. There is a strong misunderstanding that if AI can develop free will and consciousness, it may be able to overpower us.
“How would a conqueror AI eliminate us? Probably by a method that we wouldn’t even understand, at least not until it was too late. Imagine a group of elephants 100,000 years ago discussing whether those recently evolved humans might one day use their intelligence to kill their entire species. “We don’t threaten humans, so why would they kill us?” they might wonder. Would they ever guess that we would smuggle tusks across Earth and carve them into status symbols for sale, even though functionally superior plastic materials are much cheaper? A conqueror AI’s reason for eliminating humanity in the future may seem equally inscrutable to us. “And how could they possibly kill us, since they’re so much smaller and weaker?” the elephants might ask. Would they guess that we’d invent technology to remove their habitats, poison their drinking water and cause metal bullets to pierce their heads at supersonic speeds?”
-Max Tegmark, Life 3.0
What is free will?
Humans are driven by desires. To be happy, to be wealthy, to find mates, to eat healthy, to be fit. Freewill is considered as the ability to choose our desires. Unfortunately, we do not choose our desires but only choose whether or not to act on our desires. What we call free will is ultimately a set of electro-chemical reactions caused by millions of neurons in our body dependent on our previous experiences(taste of food, whom to trust) and the probability of our survival (including finding the best mate, choosing our career).
“Humans certainly have a will — but it isn’t free. You cannot decide what desires you have. You don’t decide to be introvert or extrovert, easy-going or anxious, gay or straight. Humans make choices — but they are never independent choices. Every choice depends on a lot of biological, social and personal conditions that you cannot determine for yourself. I can choose what to eat, whom to marry and whom to vote for, but these choices are determined in part by my genes, my biochemistry, my gender, my family background, my national culture, etc — and I didn’t choose which genes or family to have.” — Yuval Noah Harari
What is consciousness?
Consciousness, though complicated in regards to why or how it comes about, is simply put what we experience: that we experience the taste of ice cream, or experience the smell of dog feces, or experience the touch of physical intimacy, and that we are “aware” of these experiences. While free will is an illusion, consciousness is real.
Yuval Noah Harari in HomoDeus states “There is only a stream of consciousness, and desires arise and pass away within this stream, but there is no permanent self that owns the desires”
But what is certain is while AI may not develop consciousness to overpower humans, it can act according to the needs of the human controlling it, for good or bad. Having said that, since we have no idea how consciousness came about in living beings, we can state with no certainty that AI will not develop consciousness. However, development of computational power to enhance AI has no direct correlation with the development of consciousness. Humans experience consciousness not because of their ability to do creative things and communicate in large groups, unlike other species. Animals experience consciousness themselves despite their lower ability to do creative work or make progress like humans.