• Braxton Hoare

The Technological Singularity

The technological singularity is a radical idea that someday in the not-so-distant future we could be living in a very different world. Most experts in the field of AI research believe that this event will cause an extraordinary shift in the way we live our lives, and it could happen easily before the end of the century. 

A technological singularity is what could happen if Artificial Intelligence Software becomes sufficient enough to accelerate the rate at which new technologies are discovered. This will happen once the same AI (Artificial Intelligence) that has been previously used to beat the top chess players, GO players, and generate photos, can demonstrate that same level of superiority in virtually anything it does. Due to the fact that computers can simulate millions of years of learning in just a few hours, they will (with our supervision) begin to rapidly create life-changing technologies.

Once this general purpose AI has been completed it will take less than a decade for life to go from our current status quo to suddenly being transformed into something out of a science fiction novel. And it will not be a linear progression, this will happen so fast that no one will have time to adjust to this new world until it’s already here. At first, it will feel like progress is moving slowly, and then it will happen all at once. 

In this new world, AI will be superior to us in every way, in science, in art, and in philosophy. This new Super AI will act like an omnipotent parent teaching us about what it has discovered. However, it is likely that it will see things on a scale that we could not even begin to understand, so many of its decisions won’t make any sense to us; we will just have to trust that it has our interests at heart. 

To some, this may sound like a beautiful idea and to others, it could sound like a prison. No matter how you think of it one thing is certain. In this brave new world everyone will have to answer the same question, what is my purpose? Considering jobs will be completely irrelevant in this robot / AI-dominated world even scientists will need to find a new sense of fulfillment. Maybe creating art and spending more time with family will be the only way people spend their time. 

Of course, this whole scenario only works if the people creating this super AI embed it with a strong set of moral principles upon which to base its actions upon. This is one of the most crucial steps in the whole process of building a general-purpose AI. If this step is missed it can quite easily result in a terminator-type scenario.

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