Artificial Intelligence: Why An Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) Could Destroy Mankind
It might well be through accident, says Émile P. Torres, a philosopher and historian of global catastrophic risk.
We’ve been pretty wrong about some historic events that eventually did come to pass. Example: The great physicist Ernest Rutherford had famously proclaimed in 1933 that anyone who propounded atomic power was “talking moonshine.” As recently as 1977, a computer industry pioneer supposedly said computers would not reach our homes.
Yet those computers are here and in fact everywhere in various forms and power configurations. In fact, Torres is now worried about the “ever-growing computing power” that is touted as a boon for humanity.
Could these rapidly evolving computers and advances in AI technology create an Artficial Superintelligence (ASI) that could then turn upon us – it’s creator?
According to Torres, the day is not far away when computers could develop a “general intelligence,” not just capabilities restricted to defined tasks. (Washington Post)
“Imagine a single algorithm that could beat a chess grandmaster but also write a novel, compose a catchy melody and drive a car through city traffic,” warns Torres.
In fact, general intelligence is the bridge to superintelligence, and there are, at last count by the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, 72 projects at this moment working on creating an artificial general intelligence.
According to Torres, an ASI could far exceed the best abilities of human beings. On a positive note, an ASI could make huge strides for our benefit, such as find a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s.
But an ASI might well work against us, says Torres. However, if an ASI wipes us out, that would be through an accident – because no research organization would willingly create such a malevolent intelligence.
Torres warns that ASI’s are “perhaps the most unpredictable thing in our future,” because their “cognitive architectures may be fundamentally different than ours.”
Torres argues that their risks are unacceptably great.
“With all our global instability and still-nascent grasp on tech, adding in ASI would be lighting a match next to a fireworks factory,” he comments.
Torres suggests that AI research should be slowed, even paused, if necessary by governmental action.
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