Why I Don’t Worry About a Super AI
3 years ago
Hi Kevin,One thing I've noticed about Kevin's articles is that he nicely keeps the discussion focused on the technical and cultural questions without somehow getting into the realm of politics. I'm nowhere near as diplomatic in these areas as Kevin is and I tend to drift easily into politics. Certainly if we are talking about the Singularity then the question of politics is eventually unavoidable. It will largely be up to the governments of the world to decide how that Singularity will emerge. For instance, the US military is already actively involved in AI research through DARPA.
I’m sure you are aware, but perhaps you have forgotten, that Bill Joy in his classic warning of the dangers of a Singularity, “Why the future doesn’t need us” also mentions the Unabomber. I believe the reaction to his article was quite harsh and he was viewed as a sort of neo-Luddite.
Personally I’m open to criticisms of the “death march” of Progress. There are certainly benefits to mankind from technological progress, but the dangers should not be overlooked as they often are.
You mention the Amish in this article. I never quite got around to commenting on the full article you wrote about the Amish, but I think there is an analogy to the way that the Catholic Church maintained control over society in the Middle Ages. Just imagine if a young Galileo was born among the Amish. How would they handle the situation? Anyway, I think the last chance western society had to stop the unrelenting march of progress was Galileo. From there the combination of science and capitalism launched the revolution which has shaped the world we live in today. Like scientific progress, capitalism is built on an exponential model. These are dynamic systems that collapse under static restraints.
Are we willing to give up progress for a stable world system? I don’t think we need to return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but it would require limits on technological advancement.
BTW, I’m so inspired by your writing in Technium that I’ve started a blog to record some of my reactions and responses to your articles.
[I was]... immediately struck by the shape of the image surrounding God and the angels. It was the same thing I had been working with all day! It was the unmistakable outline of the mid-sagittal cross-section of a human brain.
Until I looked through the transparency I didn't realise that one of the angel's backs was the pons, that the legs and hips were the spinal cord... The knee of the flexed right leg of the angel with the bifid foot represents the transected optic chiasm, the thigh the optic nerve and the leg itself the optic tract...