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Originally posted by Gorman91
reply to post by eLPresidente
Wouldn't happen. Because if they were designed to be human, they would just genetically engineer us differently and go on.
Or they'd just be like the Geth.
[edit on 26-8-2010 by Gorman91]
Originally posted by VonDoomen
A. Should we pursue AI?
Yes! Aside from its many positive benefits, AI could also pose a threat to humanity. As with any technology with military applications, it is important for government funded public research to stay ahead of what rogues entities are capable of. It is a commonly held belief that in terms of security, the side that can protect is computational ability will be the dominant force.
Now, once you have read the next chapter which introduces to you all these fabulous 21st century technologies that will permit the building of godlike massively intelligent machines, a host of ethical, philosophical, and political questions will probably occur to you. The prospect of humanity building these godlike machines raises vast and hugely important questions. The majority of this book is devoted to the discussion of such questions. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I will do my best.
For how much longer can Moore's law remain valid? If it does so until 2020, then the size of the electronic components in mass memory chips for example, will be such that it will be possible to store a single bit of information (a "bit" is a "binary digit", a 0 or a 1, that computers use to represent numbers and symbols to perform their calculations) on a single atom. So how many atoms (and hence how many stored bits) are there in a human sized object, such as an apple? The answer is astonishing - a trillion trillion atoms (bits), i.e. a 1 followed by 24 zeros, or a million million million million.
Not only is it likely that 21st century technology will be storing a bit of information on a single atom, it will be using a new kind of computing called "quantum computing", which is radically different from the garden variety or "classical computing" that humanity used in the 20th century. The following chapter will attempt to give a brief outline of the principles of quantum computing since it is likely that that technology will form the basis of the computers of the near and longer term future. The essential feature of quantum computing can however be mentioned here. It is as follows. If one uses a string of N bits (called a "register" in computer science, e.g. 001011101111010) in some form of computing operation (it doesn't matter for the moment what the operation is) it will take a certain amount of time using "classical computing". However in the same amount of time, using "quantum computing" techniques, one can often perform 2N such operations. (2N means 2 multiplied by 2 multiplied by 2 ... (N times)). As N becomes large, 2N becomes astronomically large. The potential of quantum computing is thus hugely superior to classical computing. Since Moore's law is likely to take us to the atomic scale where the laws of physics called "quantum mechanics" need to be applied, humanity will be forced to compute quantum mechanically, hence the enormous theoretical and experimental effort in the past few years to understand and build "quantum computers". Quantum computing still has many conceptual and practical problems which need to be solved before quantum computers are sold to the public. But progress is being made every month, so personally I believe that it is only a question of time before we have functional quantum computers. Now, start putting one bit per atom memory storage capacities together with quantum computing and the combination is truly explosive. 21st century computers could have potential computing capacities truly trillions of trillions of trillions ... of times above those of current classical computing capacities.
Originally posted by VonDoomen
reply to post by highlyoriginal
And what exactly would we be a simulation of, in a non-religious sense? Im having trouble coming up with even an unreasonable explanation?
At this point in the argument, you may be racing ahead of me a little and object that I seem to be assuming implicitly that massive memory capacities and astronomical computational capacities are sufficient to generate massively intelligent machines, and that nothing else is needed. I have been accused by some of my colleagues of this, so let me state my personal opinion on this question. There are people (for example, Sir Roger Penrose, of black hole theory fame, and arch rival of the wheel-chaired British cosmologist Stephen Hawking) who claim that there is more to producing an intelligent conscious machine than just massive computational abilities. I am open to this objection. Perhaps such critics are right. If so, then their objections do not change my basic thesis much, since I feel that it is only a question of time before science understands how nature builds us, i.e. before science understands the "embryogenic" process, used in building an embryo and then a baby, consisting of trillions of cells, from a single fertilized egg cell.
Science's knowledge of how the biological brain works is inadequate because the tools we have at our disposal today are inadequate, but with molecular scale tools (called "nanotech" or "nanotechnology") neuroscientists will have a powerful new set of techniques with which to explore the brain. Progress in our understanding of how the brain functions should then be rapid.
How do I see humanity facing up to the challenge of the rise of smart machines? My personal scenario that I find the most plausible I will now present to you. However, before doing so, I would like to introduce a new term that I will use from now on throughout this book, as it is a useful shorthand for the term "godlike massively intelligent machine".
The new term is "artilect", which is a shortened version of "artificial intellect". The term "artilect" features in the very title of this book "The Artilect War", so it is probably the most important concept and term in this book.
I believe that the 21st century will be dominated by the question as to whether humanity should or should not build artilects, i.e. machines of godlike intelligence, trillions of trillions of times above the human level. I see humanity splitting into two major political groups, which in time will become increasingly bitterly opposed, as the artilect issue becomes more real and less science fiction like.
The human group in favor of building artilects, I label the "Cosmists", based on the word "cosmos" (the universe), which reflects their perspective on the question. To the Cosmists, building artilects will be like a religion; the destiny of the human species; something truly magnificent and worthy of worship; something to dedicate one's life and energy to help achieve. To the Cosmists, not building the artilects, not creating the next higher form of evolution, thus freezing the state of evolution at the puny human level, would be a "cosmic tragedy". The Cosmists will be bitterly opposed to any attempt to stop the rise of the 21st century artilect.
The second human group, opposed to the building of artilects, I label the "Terrans", based on the word "terra" (the earth) which reflects their inward looking, non cosmic, perspective. The Terrans, I strongly suspect, will argue that allowing the Cosmists to build their artilects (in a highly advanced form) implies accepting the risk, that one day, the artilects might decide, for whatever reason, that the human species is a pest. Since the artilects would be so vastly superior to human beings in intelligence, it would be easy for the artilects to exterminate the human species if they so decided.