Yes, I believe that it is, although it definitely has risks. Yet despite those risks, I believe that the potential benefits of AI in our future justifies embracing it now - as I will explain later in this post.
I'm very close to the cutting edge in AI and it scares the hell out of me. It's capable of vastly more than almost anyone knows and the rate of improvement is exponential.
Whether you're a fan of Elon Musk or not, there is no doubt that the man knows a great deal about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to AI.
For me, his message is encouraging because I think our future as a species could ultimately depend on how quickly, and how successfully we can get AGI (artificial general intelligence) actively involved in helping all of humanity maximize
our chances of surviving longterm as a species?
New James Cameron Film premieres 9-16
Click image above to get tickets to this powerful film premiering Monday. No matter what we do, we'll NEVER live sustainably on this planet unless we stop eating animals.
Dr. James Lovelock seems to agree about the importance of the role that AI could play in our future as a species.
If I am right about the Gaia hypothesis and the Earth is indeed a self-regulating system, then the continued survival of our species will depend on the acceptance of Gaia by the cyborgs. In their own interests, they will be obliged to join us in the project to keep the planet cool. They will also realize that the available mechanism for achieving this is organic life. This is why I believe the idea of a war between humans and machines or simply the extermination of us by them is highly unlikely. Not because of our imposed rules, but because of their own self-interest, they will be eager to maintain our species as collaborators.
|Dr. James Lovelock, Scientist, Engineer, & Inventor
In my opinion, the most critical problem that continues to plague us is our refusal to take urgent action on what the scientists have been telling us about climate change for decades - a desperate situation in which a fully-informed, unbiased AI component on the team could be a game changer.
How terrifying is climage change?
A leading climate economist, Martin Weitizman, who passed away on August 27, put it this way in his 2015 book,
in the New York Times:
Most everything we know tells us climate change is bad. Most everything we don't know tells us it's probably much worse.
Speaking of things probably being much worse, the IPCC (climage change) group of the UN, has been far too conservative in their reporting for much too long. In this ten-year old, four-minute video, Dr. Lovelock describes how they have consistently failed to properly advise the public of the eminent dangers we are facing.
With the sea-level rise chart shown below, he illustrates how the IPCC has not been sufficiently alerting the public to the grave dangers we are all facing from what some are beginning to call "abrupt climate change."
4-Minute Video from Dr. Lovelock (2009)
|James lovelock; Climate change and mass human die-off
With things getting worse at a record pace, m
aybe the miracle of artificial general intelligence (AGI) is coming of age at just the moment in time to help us avoid the extinction of our relatively young species.
So, instead of worrying about AI getting too smart, too powerful and too autonomous too quickly, perhaps the world's leading AI organizations (whether academic, business, government or
) should place their primary emphasis on figuring out how best to use it safely.
They should work together to leverage the ever-expanding analytical and cognitive power of AI to tell us what we must do in order to mitigate the worst effects of climate change AND exactly how we must totally reinvent our civilization (adaptation) in order to survive.
What are our chances? As I have stated before, without the amazing power of AI to help us adapt to the worst effects of climate change, I believe that the odds are fairly high that we will fail - for two primary reasons: 195 countries and thousands of religions - most of whom seem to disagree with all the others on just about everything.
Given unprecedented animosity along with vast differences in values, how could a global contingent of humans possibly collaborate enough to even have a ghost of a chance of adapting to the enormous climate change disruptions that are heading our way? I don't think that we will and that is why we need the help of all that the AI community can deliver. And we need it NOW.
As for AI coming of age, I would like to share the latest AI documentary - a thirty minute
video that was launched on YouTube on August 24, 2019. It is entitled Rise of the Machines and was produced in partnership with gaia.com. An introduction:
In this Documentary, we explore the race to perfect AI machinery. Researchers believe that very soon a "singularity" will be created - a machine that rises beyond human control. Something uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in catastrophic changes to human civilization.
The question everyone is thinking/worrying about is when that "singularity" will be reached and how we can harness its incredible power for the good of humankind and for the future of the biosystem that supports us? Also, how can we make sure that those cyborgs who might be helpful in saving us - don't end up destroying all humans?
This documentary probes those questions and more.
|(A.I) 2020 Rise of the Machines | Artificial "Super" Intelligence Documentary
If you don't have time to watch this video now, perhaps you can come back to it later. In the meantime, I will share a few of the early lines, beginning at the two-minute mark:
- In the race to perfect AI machinery, researchers believe that very soon a singularity will be created - that is, a machine that rises beyond human control, something uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in catastrophic changes to human civilization.
- The technological "singularity" is a hypothetical date at which the machines that we're building become smarter than we are and begin to accelerate and take on their own evolution - going into an exponential rate.
- Scientists used to believe that we were decades away from achieving the singularity; however, recent advancements in AI that they thought were decades away, have actually come to fruition - suggesting that the singularity could in fact be closer than we believe.
The Bottom Line.
Given the scientific certainty of the climate change crisis ahead of us, I have concluded that we must be willing to take some calculated risks associated with AI in order to maximize our chances for survival. Let's talk about those chances.
Two weeks ago, near the end of
SOS Memo #20
, I made this statement:
My preliminary conclusion is that we will have a much better chance of surviving indefinitely if we can figure out a way to peacefully harness the incredible power of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). If that means that some good-natured cyborgs will ultimately "manage" the planet, then so be it.
After more research during the past two weeks, I offer the following, revised conclusion:
I won't say that we have zero chance of survival without a major AI component as we develop and execute mitigation and adaptation plans, but I will throw out a hypothetical scenario to consider:
If it were established that we have less than a 5% chance of survival without major AI participation in the process - and if our survival chances would increase to 40% or more with AI's incomparable power, speed, objectivity and precision - what would we do?
If the above numbers were deemed reaonably accurate, it would seem that we would really have no other choice but to go for it. We also must consider the fact that no matter what we do, with our without AI, we may have waited far too long to get started.
Today is Nine-Eleven. Unless we urgently address climate change now, the disaster we suffered 18 years ago on this date will pale in comparison to what the entire world will endure during the next 18 years.