The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence →

Tim Urban for Wait But Why:

I was poking through and cleaning out my Safari Reading List and came across an article that had been sitting in the backlog for a over a year. It turned out to be most of the most fascinating things I have ever read.

It is a two-part article that covers the road to achieving real (i.e. human level) artificial intelligence and what happens when (not if, if the article is to believed) we get there.

There are parts of the article that are worth quoting, but I will limit myself to one1:

What we do know is that humans’ utter dominance on this Earth suggests a clear rule: with intelligence comes power. Which means an ASI2, when we create it, will be the most powerful being in the history of life on Earth, and all living things, including humans, will be entirely at its whim—and this might happen in the next few decades.

If our meager brains were able to invent wifi, then something 100 or 1,000 or 1 billion times smarter than we are should have no problem controlling the positioning of each and every atom in the world in any way it likes, at any time—everything we consider magic, every power we imagine a supreme God to have will be as mundane an activity for the ASI as flipping on a light switch is for us. Creating the technology to reverse human aging, curing disease and hunger and even mortality, reprogramming the weather to protect the future of life on Earth—all suddenly possible. Also possible is the immediate end of all life on Earth. As far as we’re concerned, if an ASI comes to being, there is now an omnipotent God on Earth—and the all-important question for us is:

Will it be a nice God?

If you enjoy that article, Wait But Why has another one about the Fermi Paradox that is an interesting read as well. I think this is a site that I am going to keep a closer eye on.

  1. Calling it an “omnipotent God on Earth” is a bit over the top for my tastes, but the point is interesting nonetheless. 
  2. Artificial Super Intelligence.