Will AI be the Reason for Human Extinction?

1891 words (8 pages) Essay in Technology

08/02/20 Technology Reference this

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Centuries ago humans invented tools to make their work more efficient and doable. With advancement in technology people kept inventing things that would make their lives easy and make their work less. The self learning nature and ability of Artificially intelligent technology has given rise to concerns in the minds of those who understand and work with it. Greatest minds in the recent world of science had some strong words to share when it came to AI overtaking the world. With scientists and philosophers debating day and night around the world about what Artificial Intelligence is capable of and what it can do to the human lives, common people are complaining that they are losing some low skillset jobs to freaking Robots who tend to be smarter than them. With some ethical issues surrounding the case and with everything around us becoming more and more smart, people often wonder if “Can Artificial Intelligence ever take over the world?” “Will AI ever be smarter than humans?” “Will Artificial Intelligence ever enslave humans?”.  These thoughts run wild especially when we see the current advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

The best example of such astonishing cases is AlphaZero, the Google Artificial Intelligence bot was invented and learnt to play chess with 4 hours of time with not initial training models or datasets or code and ended up beating the best players in the world in a 100 game matchup. “Starting from random play, and given no domain knowledge except the game rules, AlphaZero achieved within 24 hours a superhuman level of play in the games of chess”(Guardian). This, although impressive, still sounds very achievable because there are only so many moves that can be made in a game of chess (which amount up to millions but that is still nothing for the computers.).

As mentioned before AlphaZero seemed very achievable since people have been playing chess against computers for years and there is only a certain set of rules that governs the game. What really gave people the taste of  “LawGeex put a three-year-old algorithm trained to evaluate a contract up against twenty experienced attorneys with the robot being the clear winner”(Interesting Engineering). The bots and humans were tasked with identifying and highlighting 30 proposed legal issues in five standard non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in just four hours. When a normal person like me hears about advancements like these, I certainly feel an inferiority complex

Due all this chaos and polarizing events, scientific society sharply divided on this issue. There is a group of people that still believe that while Artificial Intelligence gets smarter by the day, it will never surpass humans; there will never come a day when Artificial intelligence will replace humans and render them useful nor will they ever be self conscience. Some groups of people believe that while “Artificial Intelligence is getting smarter by the day in recognizing images and processing videos but some scientists say that it will never be able to define new categories like humans and this is as close as they will get”(Diginomica). This fact that they will never be able to make their own categories is what fundamentally separates them from humans and I believe that this will prevent them from ever replacing human’s sense of judgment and sense of conscience. 

It will never be able to recognize its own existence and have the nature of making decisions when put into some complex real life situations because it trains on data sets which are just number and facts from the past which may be good to recognize some patters and make predictions based on them but it is certainly not good enough to make decision based on complex real life issues.

These arguments are being discredited by the fact that more and more Artificially intelligent aids are being developed for therapy and the mentally disabled to talk more and more like humans. While appreciating the science and the efforts of the researchers, people have expressed grave concerns about the future filled with Advanced Artificial Intelligence holds.

Many authors, novelists and philosophers have played around with the idea of a world run by robots without any feelings and a fantasy world where robots declare a war on human race. Many movies have also depicted such pseudo-reality and futuristic ideas. One book, that in my knowledge, best describes the dehumanizing possibilities of artificially enhanced robots dominating the world was Mockingbird by Walter Tevis. 

What is most impressive about the book is how real it makes the future seem in this utterly Android dominated world devoid of humanity. The narrative description in the first chapter paints an utterly believable image of 25th century Manhattan: buildings still stand, buses still run (sort of). The city remains recognizably New York, but humanity has faded and turned inward. Skyscrapers line the streets like Mastodon bones bleached in the sun, and it is through the clinical, analytical description seen over the shoulder of Bob Spofforth that we get the sense of mankind receded, silent, and sad. Bob Spofforth is a Make Nine Android that is the protagonist of the novel.

This book captures the emotional impact and has a lot of scientific backing of what the future can hold. It makes some predictions about the future and  “With the Artificially intelligent Robots taking over the world, humanity has been pushed inside leading to a mass extinction and complete change in authority of Earth”(Tevis 12). This sounds like some daunting truth that your elders tell you about the future of this planet from their experience. This book, although fictional, felt very real and possible.

Many people have thought of taking a more careful way and considering how to make sure that AI does not get too smart and actually useful to humans.

Foundational Research Institute partnered with Effective Altruism Foundation did research titled “Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Risks” where the weigh the pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence and printed out an extensive report as a research paper in 2015. They carefully surveyed many experts in the field and wrote down the possible outcomes and tried to predict whether AI will ever be smart enough to take over the world. The biggest issue that came up from the research was the potential complete automation of the industry and every process such that there will be complete unemployment. “Following the automation of the production and service industries, one might expect only the entertainment industry to remain.” (Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Risks, 6). Such an effect can be the triggering point for a complete domination of human race and lead to a disastrous future. After talking to a lot of experts they concluded that there is a plausible threat to humanity but it can be well avoided.

Moving on from carefully considering the consequences to another extreme view on the topic, Stephen Hawking paints one of the most terrifying pictures of future, as mentioned before. Humanity’s days are NUMBERED and AI will cause mass extinction, warns Stephen Hawking. “The theoretical physicist says that developments in AI have been so great that the machines will one day be more dominant than human beings. He told Wired Magazine: ‘I fear that AI may replace humans altogether’ ”(Express UK). If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. When a man of Stephen Hawking’s stature has this to say, everyone is naturally scared of what is going to happen.

With this debate driving on and on, no one is able to come up with a plausible argument as to what Artificial Intelligence holds for us in the future. But one thing is very clear: the rate at which the technology is advancing, human species is certainly at threat. There need to be laws to control how smart Artificial intelligence is allowed to get and hence a control on everyone who is researching on AI. It certainly has its perks and applications in every single field of life but it is just as dangerous as useful. 

Bibliography

1) Gibbs, Samuel- “AlphaZero AI beats champion chess program after teaching itself in four hours” The Guardian, 7 Dec 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/07/alphazero-google-deepmind-ai-beats-champion-program-teaching-itself-to-play-four-hours 

This article clarifies how fast AI can learn and how fast it can become better than humans that have been practicing the art for years. It also shows how Computer is better at doing something that has a fixed number of moves (regardless of the largeness of the fixed value). This can be seen in example of chess where there are only a few million possible moves which can all be analyzed by the algorithm and that can not be done by humans.

2) Miley, Jessica “11 Times AI Beat Humans at Games, Art, Law and Everything in Between” Interesting Engineering, 12 March 2018. https://interestingengineering.com/11-times-ai-beat-humans-at-games-art-law-and-everything-in-between

 

This is a list of interesting scenarios where the AI created by humans has proved to be smarter than humans themselves and threatened human’s position in the world as dominant species. It has also showed possibilities and hints of self replication and identifying its own existence. People working with these technologies themselves say that it can go out of control.

 

3) Martin, Sean – “Humanity’s days are NUMBERED and AI will cause mass extinction, warns Stephen Hawking” Express, 3 November 2017. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/875084/Stephen-Hawking-AI-destroy-humanity-end-of-the-world-artificial-intelligence

This article shares notes from an interview with Stephen Hawking who uses some strong and stern words where he warns the world about total domination by Ai in the future. He also says that humans will have to leave Earth and settle somewhere else because Earth will become inhabitable for humans due to extreme dominance of Robots.

4) Revel, Timothy – “AI will be able to beat us at everything by 2060, say experts” New Scientists, 31 May 2017.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2133188-ai-will-be-able-to-beat-us-at-everything-by-2060-say-experts/

In this article acclaimed scientists talk about how AI might become smarter than us in everything by 2060. They also say that some AI are already so much more advanced than their initial point that it is beyond the comprehension of humans.

 

5) Wainewright, Phil ” Why humans will always be smarter than artificial intelligence” Diginomica  15 Feb 2018, https://diginomica.com/2018/02/15/why-humans-will-always-be-smarter-than-artificial-intelligence/

6) Book Source – Tevis Walter – Mockingbird – DoubleDay, 1980.

This book captures the emotion and fear of have a Robot/ android dominated future. It is a highly recognized and relatable book that helps us draw a more clear picture of what might possibly happen in the future.

7) “Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Risks”, Foundational Research Institute, 12 December 2015.

https://ea-foundation.org/files/ai-opportunities-and-risks.pdf

 

 

 

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