The Dread Artificial Intelligence

A friend pointed me to an pessimistic view of technological superhuman intelligence.

The main thrust of the article is that in the very near future humankind will develop technology that will create computers that are superhumanly intelligent, resulting in the demise of the human race. Written in 1993, this article was six years ahead of The Matrix.

While the more cynical of us may believe that if and when computers can think they will naturally conclude humankind is worthy only of extermination, there are of course, other possibilities.

Will great networks of computers suddenly “wake up” once a certain critical mass of programming and information has been input? Unlikely.

However, as more human beings interconnect with technology to each other, via mobile devices and even blogs like this one, I see communication becoming more like an ocean, with tides and swells and currents. Information–ideas–will flow in predictable and liquid (or perhaps viral) fashions.

I see computers and humankind becoming inherently dependent on each other. Someday philosophers may ask, “Where does the computer end, and the mind begin?”

Until then, let’s not fear the unfortunately named “Singularity” (for which physicists must be slapping their foreheads!). Let us embrace the possibility that the sum of the knowledge collected by the human race may one day be available at our fingertips, resulting not in a super intelligence, but in an efficient repository of collected memories that enhance–not replace–our individual genetic ancestral memories.

And never forget that no amount of intelligence is a replacement for wisdom. The ability to creatively and thoughtfully apply knowledge is as important as the knowledge itself.

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