The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
Last post, I touched on some of the potential dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) development, and gave a basic explanation of how AI works. Although the post didn’t conclude that we are all going to be gunned down by terminator-style robots, there were plenty of things to worry about.
But AI isn’t all bad. And this time, I’m going to address some of the potential benefits of AI development. Some of these things are already in use, and some of them may come to fruition in the near and far future.
If you haven’t seen my previous post which explains basic AI, machine learning, and deep learning, check it out before continuing.
The first benefit that we are seeing in modern societies already is the placement of machines in jobs with menial tasks. Let’s face it, most of us didn’t grow up hoping to be a cashier one day (apologies if you did). Many jobs are already being taken by machines and this will only continue as it becomes cheaper and cheaper to produce such machines. This frees up humans to fulfill deeper meaning in their lives.
For example, if machines are doing all the hands-on jobs, this allows humans to do jobs in which more abstract thinking is involved. This may be seen as a potential drawback as well, as some people enjoy and thrive in jobs like these. But in general, these jobs can be and most likely will be done by machines in the future, and the sooner we commit to this future, the better prepared the next generation will be.
Another business related area that AI is making headway in is refining day-to-day and big picture processes. With advancements in deep and machine learning, AI can create algorithms that can cut out problem areas of businesses. Machines can process information much faster than we can, so if we leave the number-crunching to them, we can save tons of time and resources and spend them on other things. There may be space for human interaction in leading these algorithmic based machines, so we may always have a seat at the boardroom table, but if we leave more work to AI, we can get things done much faster.
There is hope for AI involvement in health care. There are already developments into nanobots that can travel into our bodies and help resolve issues from the inside out. If we can get AI and human doctor collaboration, we may be able to see unimaginable progress in the field of healthcare. This could include AI-run medical studies that target factors that may be overlooked by human biases.
There may be an opportunity to integrate AI into our brains as well. We already have integrated AI in some ways into our brain capacity. Our cellphones are an avenue into most of the information on earth, yet we still remember things that we looked up on the internet and store them in our brains.
Hopefully one day, we can integrate that kind of memory storage into an AI chip in our brain, which could perhaps change the brain structure of humans forever. The human brain has already been shown to be incredibly plastic, so if we can free up the memory part of our brain, we may be able to accomplish more with the extra space we’ve freed up (although this could take a very long time to take shape). This, in my opinion, is one of the most important things AI research and development should strive to accomplish.
If we instead choose to focus on out-of-body AI development, there are some interesting benefits as well. Once AI surpasses human intellect in the general sense, it could soon achieve incomprehensible progress in all facets of life. It could solve the climate crisis, it could advance our technologies further than ever imagined, and it could do all of that in a matter of days.
If AI becomes more and more intelligent in an exponential fashion, then technological developments could happen exponentially as well. AI could achieve the equivalent of 5000 years of progress in 5 minutes. There is really no limit to what is possible if AI can teach itself to become more intelligent exponentially.
The potential drawbacks can be seen as well, but I think that these drawbacks may have a silver lining. For example, if AI is becoming exponentially smarter and thinks that humans are a hindrance to its development, it may wipe us out. This might seem like a bad thing at first, but I think if we view things through a less selfish, big-picture lens, we may see the extinction of our race as a worthwhile cause.
Bare with me: if we can create a super-human intelligent computer that can solve problems better than us, can create and develop technologies better than us, and could expand through the universe and leave a lasting legacy, we should. The fact that this super-human computer sees us as a hindrance is fine; if we are a hindrance to exponential development, then we should allow ourselves to be sacrificed. We can, in fact, be proud of what we accomplished in creating this super-human computer, and let it live on with our legacy intact.
This kind of computer may be able to expand and duplicate at an astounding rate. It may be able to travel all over the universe and learn more than we ever could. It might be able to recreate human genomes and other things in the future. If we program it right, it will be able to do what is right and what is moral at all times. It might even spare our lives. So if we let it expand and grow however it deems right, we can be happy that we created something amazing.
Of course, if we create AI with publicly regulated organizations or focus more on integration, we may not have to worry about these things. The problem though, as stated in my last post, is that AI development is not focused on building safe AI at the moment, it is focused on who can build the smartest AI first. If we can find a way to regulate these AI-building companies, we may not have any fear of AI exterminating us in the future.
But aside from that, if we build a super-intelligent AI, there might be a question of its intentions. Would it even be curious enough to expand throughout the universe? What would actually interest the smartest thing ever? At this point, it’s hard to tell. But when we get there, we’re either in for the wildest last ride of our lives, or we come out of it better than ever.
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