Artificial Intelligence is a difficult concept for anyone to grasp because of all the speculation behind it. We cannot fully predict where AI will take us, since part of the theory establishes that once computers gain artificial super-intelligence, their understanding of all concepts through their ability of self-learning and self-improvement will take them further than any human brain will ever be able to comprehend.
AI responds to the development of computer systems that can execute different tasks that normally would require intelligence only human brains can process. AI is divided into three steps: Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) where computers focus on one task or field of specialization such as: chess playing (here is where we stand at the moment); Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) where a computer reaches human-brain broadness of intelligence and has the ability and general capacity to work in different fields and more importantly, self-improve from its experience; and Artificial Superintelligence (ASI), the point where computers surpass human intellect. This last step is where Singularity happens, and according to scientists and people in the AI field, as soon as we hit the AGI step, ASI could be a matter of a few years straight after (or less).
We have reached ANI and we see it every day through machine learning in ads on Facebook and Instagram, financial tools predicting how markets are reacting around the globe, or on our phones with the name of Siri. This first step seems harmless and under control. But what about the next two steps? Where teams of AI experts are putting all their efforts to arrive.
On the one side, we are trying to create super-intelligent computers, but on the other side we haven’t yet fully understood the depths of the human brain, we haven’t discovered most of what lies in the depths of the ocean, and we barely know about the universe and all its galactic bodies and forces. And although some of these questions seem to be part of WHY humans are so keen on achieving artificial super-intelligence on computers, it also seems like we are trying to reach something that would be extremely difficult to handle. By reaching ASI, we are hoping to answer all the world’s unanswered questions, and even defy nature by altering the pace of evolution and playing with humanity’s biggest truth: everyone and everything dies.
At a first glance, ASI seems great: answering every question, resolving any problem. But what about human purpose in life? All of our beliefs would be ripped apart in a few years, how could humans possibly adapt to such changes where concepts like: religion and mortality, no longer exist. Where would our purpose lie? If religion is overthrown by a computer and death doesn’t exist- why would humans want to keep living? What about being good? And what about working for a better world? If all of this is no longer relevant, then why exist at all? If every problem is solved, then there would no longer be inequality, racism, poverty, disease. Any job done today, could be done by a computer. What would humans strive for? Don’t we need some sort of order to keep us motivated into living every day?