A word about AGI

Jul 31, 2017

There is a sizzling hot debate going on, on the subject of AGI. Here are my thoughts - Questions to be answered - 1 - Why we have not yet met a superintelligent lifeform?

While our ancestors have been around for about six million years, the modern form of humans only evolved about 200,000 years ago. Civilization as we know it is only about 6,000 years old, and industrialization started in the earnest only in the 1800s. source

Let’s talk about these three lines in detail. Our ancestors have been around for 6,000,000 years and we have evolved to (almost) our modern form just 200,000 years ago. It took us 5,800,000 years to evolve from primates to our present form. We started using stone-projectile weapons 1,800,000 years ago, We discovered fire 1,000,000 - 2,000,000 years ago. Agriculture started 10,000BC, writing - 3000BC, 18th century Industrial revolution.

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The point being - future is becoming more and more unpredictible, now more than ever. It took us 4,000,000 years just to discover fire - the first ever know invention to man kind. AlphaGo beats legendary Go player in 2016. Facebook shuts down AI when the two AIs started to communicate with each other in a totally different language developed by them. source. If you time travel a person from 1800s to 1970s he would be startled by the progress mankind has made but if you time travel a person from 1960 to 2017 he would be so bewildered that he might pass out. Fast forward five decades we have touched moon. We have a publicly accesible inexpensive technology to not only communicate but video call with anyone across the globe. We are crossing new frontiers each day. Now consider a civilization which came into being just a 100 years ahead of us. Where would that civilization be? Considering that they’ve intelligence at par with humans. If we talk about ourselves, there is a good chance that fast forward 100 years we might evacuate this planet after all the resources required for sustaining us are exhausted, in search for a better home with more resources. This prediction might sound absurd but so did the concept of communicating with someone on the other edge of the planet instantaneously sounded like - absurd. We should not rule out the possibility that future is unpredictable. At the current rate with which human civilization is advancing you ?If we build a machine with the intellectual capability of one human, within five years, its successor will be more intelligent than all of humanity combined. After one generation or two generations, they?d just ignore us. Just the way you ignore the ants in your backyard. You don?t wipe them out, you don?t make them your pets, they don?t have much influence over your daily life, but they?re still there.? The trouble is, I do wipe out ants in my backyard, particularly when a trail of them leads into the kitchen.never know how unpredictable and different our world might be just in a small span of 10-15 years. The idea of self-driving autonomous cars is not far-fetched but is very true. The roads as we know of today - chaotic, prone to accidents are about to completely change. In the near future there is going to be a huge loss in the employment of jobs involving the use of a human’s driving skills. In such a world where nothing can be predicted and the technological advancement is four folding each day. There is a good chance that in the process of creating a better world we might give rise to the final Armageddon. It is not going to be some president with access to nuke codes, might not be an astroid, might not be a sudden heat wave either. It is going to be some mad scientist bent to develop an AGI seed. Once the AGI seed comes into existence, there is no stopping it. The reason why this should concern us is- Development of that AGI seed will be explosive and more importantly it will be self-sustaining, the AGI seed won’t need any external intervention to reach its apex. The development will be so rapid that it will be too late for us to intervene. To understand it - consider a modern day toddler,even if he turned out to be a prodigy it will take him years to master the game of chess. In contrast, the modern day computer can master the game in a matter of hours(in the worst case scenario). If an AGI seed came into existence it will be capable of learning all the technologies humans combined have ever invented along in the span of millions of years, in a matter of day, hours or even seconds. Keep the fact that human body is physically vulnerable to a wide range of diseases, physical injuries etc. aside we are still bounded by our limited “memory” and “processing” power. For an AGI all these parameters will be modular. The only ingredient needed to push those parameters beyond there limits is present in abundance on our planet, the element being - silica. Silica forms the base of the electronics industry, forms the base of transistors. Transistors are the building blocks of memory and processors. If the AGI learns to manipulate silica to enhance its cognitive abilities there is no stopping to it. The day is not far when we will all be enslaved, treated like cattle,domesticated, being experimented upon, being exploited just to serve a common purpose - serving the AGI. Some argue that it might be a possibility that AGI can be neither benign nor malignant. AGI can be neutral towards us. As mentioned in one of the reputed book on the subject Our Last Invention

?If we build a machine with the intellectual capability of one human, within five years, its successor will be more intelligent than all of humanity combined. After one generation or two generations, they?d just ignore us. Just the way you ignore the ants in your backyard. You don?t wipe them out, you don?t make them your pets, they don?t have much influence over your daily life, but they?re still there.? The trouble is, I do wipe out ants in my backyard, particularly when a trail of them leads into the kitchen.

The trouble begins when our interests collide with that of AGI’s.