In recent weeks, a robot was given citizenship in Saudi Arabia. This robot runs on AI, Artificial Intelligence, and is programmed to think, act, and feel as human beings do. Her name is Sophia. The potential benefits of this are to advance humanity’s desires incredibly quickly, as AI would potentially have the thought patterns of human beings, but with a computer brain instead. This would give Sophia and others like it the potential to think through problems that human beings struggle with in a fraction of the time. As far as I understand, Sophia does not have a specific function at the moment, merely to introduce the world at large to the idea of AI. However, Sophia’s potential functions include everything that human beings can accomplish and more.
This is an interesting subject to say the least. The event that springs to mind for me is referenced as the technological singularity, which describes a theory in which artificial intelligence will abruptly trigger a growth in technology that will cause unfathomable changes to humanity.
To be clear, when saying unfathomable it literally does mean unfathomable, because as previously stated it would involve a conscious being with a thinking capability astronomically surpassing the most intelligent human beings to ever live.
AI is not nearly at this point yet, with human brains being able to calculate far faster than even the most advanced AI. This will eventually change, as computers do not have the limitations of a biological body, and thus when they surpass human intelligence they will simply continue improving. This is not estimated to happen until 2040, but we are unable to predict what will happen after this point.
This brings me to fears, the logical examples of negative possibilities lying in pop culture, with the most common example being “The Matrix.” If we are unable to predict what will happen after the singularity, is it not entirely possible that the AI will grow to the point that humans are obsolete and exterminate us? The hope would be that rather than this, the AI would work with us to create as perfect of a world as can be imagined, but I do believe some words of warning are required. After all, human beings are far from perfect, constantly killing each other and poisoning nature. Thus a point could easily be reached where we are viewed as unnecessary and destructive.