Thursday, August 6, 2015

"This is the end, my only friend the end."

If the truth were told (and it hardly ever is) I am not happy without something to be obsessed with. A pimple on the forehead is not normally enough, though it will work for a quick fix. No, it should be something big, something existential, something that threatens to consume mankind. Fortunately, there are plenty of those. And this blog is a public service to all those who feel safe, or comfortable.

It will be an examination of the hopeless nature of our frail existence, and will cover anything that seems important. We are going to start with the threats from artificial intelligence. It may take several posts, and you may find it to be rubbish, and I hope you are right.

But, according to Doctor Stuart Armstrong, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, "Humans steer the future not because we are the strongest or the fastest, but, because we are the smartest. When machines become smarter than humans, we'll be handing them the steering wheel."

Since the 1950's scientists have been struggling to make a machine that would approach human intelligence, without much success. It was assumed that throwing more resources, increased processing power, and larger, faster, more flexible memory, would solve the problem. But, that has led to diminished returns. 

Every generation comes closer though. And let's just assume for the moment that someone, somewhere is able to produce the kind of breakthrough that would allow for some vast improvement, not necessarily the kind that would lead to robots running around intent on the destruction of the human race, just the kind that would make informed decisions on variable data. Much like the driverless car, which is becoming a reality. Is it really safe turning over so many things to machines that have no sense of proportion.

Over the next few posts there will be an examination of many of the problems that could be associated with the rise of the machines, even if they don't climb very high, and some talk of the problems if they do shoot past us.

Join me on the trip to paranoid, phobic rambling, and jump in whenever you feel the urge.