Yesterday, Stephen Hawking warned that artificial intelligence could end mankind. As one of the world’s greatest thinkers, Hawking knows perhaps better than others because his biological life depends on artificial intelligence. In fact, he uses a state of the art speaking system which anticipates words he might speak.
Robots, the Internet, smart phones and this IPad which anticipates the words I am typing are commonplace examples of Ai already in use. One can anticipate even more at the upcoming exhibition of consumer electronics in January. Apps like the Smartphone INSTEON adds remote control and automation to lighting, appliance and home control applications of all types. Your programable thermostat is now an antique in comparison.
What about the “end of mankind” scenario? Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer, reports:
“In the end humans may become like mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of the cells. Though mitochondria were once independent organisms, primitive bacteria engulfed mitochondria long ago, and they gradually outsourced all their functions but making energy. Humans may similarly lose all their abilities, regressing to the point that they only provide energy for the machines.”
In fact, there is speculation that we humans are mere biological creations of some superhuman Ai elsewhere in the multiverse. Maybe even Soilent Green!
In another recent article, How Should We Live If Humanity Is the “Biological Boot Loader for Digital Superintelligence”? author Paul Metzger writes, “Humankind may well be, as Elon Musk puts it, the “biological boot loader for digital superintelligence.” In the future, extinct humanity will be regarded the Christ sacrificed, and living as The Spirit within religious machines. Can we have a binary amen? (“Isaac Edward Leibowitz”)”
He goes on, “…while science may someday have the capacity to generate a digital super-intelligence that replaces humanity, we should not bring to pass such scientific advances based on ethical considerations. The question still is “Why?” Is humanity an end in itself? Why is it such an end? Because of a certain level of rational freedom or autonomy? But if in the end what we take to be the basis for rational freedom is simply a form of matter, what is the fundamental difference between humanity and machine?”
Ah, these questions now become the property of the philosopher and the theologian. Or NOT the theologian. Especially not! After all, theology assumes that we humans were created by a Deity so that, after the failure of the biological body, i.e. death, we can join “him” in Heaven. I’m not sure that the place drummed-up as ‘Heaven’ has anything to do with engulfed mitochondria.
With all of this scientific speculation, the absurdity of religious wars becomes even more barbaric than usual. ISIS piques it to absurdity perhaps even more than the Crusades or the Inquisition because they utilize Ai.
So, humans are the most intelligent creatures on earth. Really?