A little while ago, I read an article about the singularity and the rise of Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) and it pretty much freaked me out. Not enough for me to start stockpiling canned goods and weapons in an underground bunker – but I did have to spend a good couple of hours afterwards decompressing by looking at cat memes.
I won’t go into great detail about what the arrival of ASI could mean, because firstly, I’m not smart enough to explain this complex idea in a meaningful way; and secondly, Wait, but why has done a pretty good job already. But at a very basic level, the arrival of ASI could mean the entire human race will either be enslaved or wiped out by super intelligent machines.
Sounds like science fiction? Possibly why it’s been hard to draw people’s attention to the issue. But Elon Musk is worried about it. Bill Gates and Stephen Hawkins are very worried about it. And they seem like pretty smart guys. So that makes me worried about it. But why isn’t everyone on the planet panicking?
Maybe it’s because the other scenario is that if ASI is harnessed for good, we can have it do anything we want. Anything. That means wiping out world hunger, disease, and basically any problem we have. Then we live forever in peace and harmony in some kind of beer-filled utopia.
But to the pessimist in me, it seems much more likely that we’ll end up in a Matrix/Terminator style showdown with super intelligent computers trying to completely destroy us.
And how far way is this singularity? Well, some estimates put it as soon as 2045. Scary stuff.
I have to go look at some cat memes now.
Shaun McMahon is a Copywriter at BCM