The prospect of artificial intelligence excites and repulsive people in equal measure…
The team at The School of Life have a great introductory video on the subject. Check out the full video below.
The video first divides artificial intelligence into three categories, artificial narrow intelligence, or weak AI; artificial general intelligence (AGI), or strong AI; and finally, artificial superintelligence.
Narrow AI might not be able to pass the Turing test, but our lives already depend on it to a great extent. This form of AI is used for discrete tasks from flying an airplane, to managing the photos on your smartphone.
Strong AI can think as well as humans can. The School of Life suggests we are probably about thirty years away from this, and we would tend to agree. Although many disagree that we will ever achieve the development of machines as smart as us, most researchers and scientists involved predict we are only a few decades away.
There remains a substantial amount of work for this to occur. AGI is associated with traits such as consciousness, sentience, sapience and self-awareness observed in living beings. Nevertheless, there is a strong possibility most of the people alive today will live to witness the advent of the Strong AI Age.
So, if we are only a few decades at most away from AGI, the likelihood is that superintelligence will follow in a very short amount of time after that. According to the video, this excites and appalls society almost equally. “We’re approaching two alternative’ futures with a speed and uncertainty of a skydiver who can’t quite remember if’ he’s wearing a parachute rucksack.”
Many observers point to the perils of superintelligent AI, but there is a massive potential benefit for us too, in terms of solving energy needs, and therefore essentially the cost of everything; eliminating disease and more.
According to the video, we should also consider a rather different and far more exciting scenario, one in which computational power isn’t merely directed at the scientific and logistical dimensions of existence, but also at its emotional and psychological ones. It is time to imagine not merely AI but also, and even more significantly, what we here call AEI: Artificial Emotional Intelligence.
The Book of Life shares six areas where AEI could revolutionize the world including the development of our self-knowledge; improving our education; providing truly objective news; developing new forms of art; helping us shop; and improving our relationships. With AEI, we should all soon be able to connect with machines that help us correct the range of our emotional failings.
Science fiction is sometimes dismissed in elite circles but we can see now that thinking twenty to fifty years ahead and’ imagining how life will be is a central task for all of us all. We should all be science fiction writers of a kind in our minds. We are poised just before a tipping point in human history. We need to build up the wisdom to control which way we will tip, and part of that means thinking very realistically about things that today’ still seem rather phantasmagorical. Humans are toolmaking animals were on the brink of creating tools like no others so the trick is going to be to stay close to the underlying ancient purpose of every tool, which is to help us to do something we actually want to do more effectively. There is no reason why our computers shouldn’t just be much better versions of our earlier flint axes.