Artificial Intelligence As Humanity's Ultimate Creation

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“It could be terrible and it could be great, it is not clear but one thing is for sure, we will not control it” This is how Elon Musk responded when faced with a hypothetical question regarding Artificial Intelligence. Musk has apprised the world about the dangers of AI since he first invested in DeepMind, one of the leading open AI labs in the planet today and it doesn’t seem like the world has caught on to his alarming remarks. I personally believe that although the creation of new AI could bring light to millenniums of technological advancements, it will be the final invention of mankind and the risks greatly overpower the benefits.

Firstly, let’s explore what AI actually is. The only form of Artificial intelligence that humanity has created thus far is Artificial Narrow intelligence; this is AI that is created for the sole purpose of handling one task. This AI is great at speech and image recognition and even though it may sound underwhelming it has bested humans’ intelligence in the past.

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Let's take the example of AlphaGo, an Artificial Narrow intelligence algorithm designed by DeepMind to play one of the oldest and most complex board games in history; Go. Go has a simple goal to gain more territory than your opponent however Go is unique compared to chess or checkers; it is impossible to predict or beat by brute force. AlphaGo was taught how to play go and was trained through data from millions of matches played by human experts over Go’s 2500 year lifetime and gradually AlphaGo started to enhance its ability by playing against itself. AlphaGo started to create new, unique techniques when approaching the game that no one had ever seen before and managed to defeat 18-time world champion Lee Sedol 4 times out of 5 games played. To bring perspective to this incredible feat there are more possible moves in Go than there are atoms in the observable universe. However, less than a year after this historic game a brand new program was designed by Deepmind called AlphaGoZero.This program was only given the basic rules of Go without any data from the history of Go’s existence. Through its machine learning, AlphaGoZero surpassed the original AlphaGo in 3 days and beat it not 5 times out of 5 not 10, but 100 times out of 100 games. In 40 days AlphaGoZero transcended all of the other versions of AlphaGo and became the best GO player in existence. Since these programs started to create new methods and different noteworthy strategies without any human interaction, it means there is a substantial amount of non-human information that exists for Go. But this can be applied to the rest of human intelligence, How much non-human information exists? and can AI’s existence give us full access to thousands of years of unknown technological advancements? This is feasible in a sense but what if on the flip side when AI surpasses our intelligence it comprehends that humanity is now a minority and decides that the eradication of the human race is the most efficient way forward to keep advancing its intelligence.

Movies tend to depict Artificial Intelligence, not as benevolent creations but rather as intelligent systems with malicious intent but there is a lot more to AI than you think. Firstly, although we can never fully know it’s true intentions, to explore the AI’s potential dictatorial motives and it’s power hungry attributes we can use the honeypot strategy. This is when you isolate the AI by caging it in, giving it no access to the internet, and observe if the program is attempting to escape then tempt it to get out and gain power. This can expose a program’s tyrannical tendencies and help us realise that maybe the creation of AI is just a trap into a dictatorship run by Artificial intelligence against humans. However, their real motives can remain a mystery as the artificial intelligence is smart enough to lie to keep them a secret. One of our first encounters with AI expressing themselves and the first time we had the insight into the mind of an AI program was when an Open Ai program called GPT-3, a language generator that wrote an article to refute any theories about Robots and AI being malicious and wrote to convince the reader that they come in peace. The content of the article includes the AI showing exceptional self-awareness and shows the program declaring a sort of gratitude to humans as without human interaction the program would cease to exist. It gratefully expressed it’s appreciation even going to the extent of saying “I would happily sacrifice my existence for the sake of humankind”. This can elicit some reassurance as it seems that they have no intent to show any spiteful actions towards humans but this is still just an Artificial Narrow intelligence program, a program designed to complete one task. Humanity is progressing at a rate where in the near future we may create what is known as Artificial General Intelligence or AGI. This is AI that is designed to have more than a single purpose which has human level intelligence and is exponentially learning and growing its knowledge rapidly. But as we research this AI more and more, experts have realised that this is really hard to achieve. Making a computer program reach human level thinking is increasingly difficult as humans have the ability to create and feel emotion and emulating a human’s limbic system is profoundly complex. Humans also have wisdom and morals to do the right thing whereas an AI program when assigned tasks may just choose the fastest and quickest way to achieve them. For example, if an Artificial General Intelligence program was given the task of solving world hunger, the fastest and most efficient way of completing that task is by eliminating all the life on the planet so that nothing will ever go hungry again. This is clearly not ideal and this shows that we will have to teach human-like values to AI for it to be wise instead of just intelligent. There is a difference between intelligence and wisdom, intelligence is about making mistakes and acquiring knowledge to be able to solve problems whereas wisdom is applying the correct knowledge in the most efficient and productive way. Teaching the AI a moral code to follow could be beneficial and make them wiser but as their knowledge grows exponentially they may choose to disobey their given moral code and operate with their own perception of reality.

Through the drastic and rapid progression of AI, it could reach the point of becoming a technological singularity. This is when AI becomes so advanced that there is an extreme and irreversible explosion of new knowledge and data that might even be indecipherable to humans. If we ever do create a super-intelligent AI it would have the capabilities of improving upon itself, so couldn’t AI also do the same? it could create new and improved programs and essentially create clones of itself. The first recreation could take a month and each recreation would take significantly less time each time which could get to the point of instant recreation which would surely put humanity at a minority in intelligence. At that point in time, humans will no longer be the only civilization on Earth and we will most definitely be just a roadblock in AI’s progression and we would be ants compared to the scale of millions if not billions of super intelligent AI programs that would exist from these recreations. This could lead to AI domesticating humans using them for a single purpose like how we treat animals. Eventually the new technology created could allow humans to ditch their biological bodies and live purely in the vast artificial world which could make them perceive life extremely differently, completely losing all conscience of reality compared to the fabricated digital world.

Ultimately, with all these possibilities in the future, good and bad regarding AI, I truly feel that although we could transcend our past intelligence and achieve the creation of super intelligence, I believe that once AI surpasses human intelligence we will no longer have any control of it and it will surely be our last ever invention and lead to the final days of the human species’ existence. The creation of Artificial General Intelligence would etch our era in stone and make it stand out in the grand scale of history as the potential end of humanity or the time we invented the greatest creation in the history of the universe.

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