Is Artificial Intelligence the Pinnacle of Galactic Evolution?

From news.discovery.com:

Astronomy news this week bolstered the idea that the seeds of life are all over our solar system. NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft identified carbon compounds at Mercury’s poles. Probing nearly 65 feet beneath the icy surface of a remote Antarctic lake, scientists uncovered a community of bacteria existing in one of Earth’s darkest, saltiest and coldest habitats. And the dune buggy Mars Science Lab is beginning to look for carbon in soil samples.

But the rulers of our galaxy may have brains made of the semiconductor materials silicon, germanium and gallium. In other words, they are artificially intelligent machines that have no use — or patience — for entities whose ancestors slowly crawled out of the mud onto primeval shores.

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The idea of malevolent robots subjugating and killing off humans has been the staple of numerous science fiction books and movies. The half-torn off android face of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator” film series, and the unblinking fisheye lens of the HAL 9000 computer in the film classic “2001 A Space Odyssey” (pictured top), have become iconic of this fear of evil machines.

My favorite self-parody of this idea is the 1970 film “Colossus: the Forbin Project.” A pair of omnipotent shopping mall-sized military supercomputers in the U.S. and Soviet Union strike up a network conversation. At first you’d think they’d trade barbs like: “Aww your mother blows fuses!” Instead, they hit it off like two college kids on Facebook. Imagine the social website: “My Interface.” They then agree to use their weapons control powers to subjugate humanity for the sake of the planet.

A decade ago our worst apprehension of computers was no more than seeing Microsoft’s dancing paper clip pop up on the screen. But every day reality is increasingly overtaking the musings of science fiction writers. Some futurists have warned that our technologies have the potential to threaten our own survival in ways that never previously existed in human history. In the not-so-distant future there could be a “genie out of the bottle” moment that is disastrously precipitous and irreversible.

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Last Monday, it was announced that a collection of leading academics at Cambridge University are establishing the Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) to look at the threat of smart robots overtaking us.

Sorry, even the ancient Mayans could not have foreseen this coming. It definitely won’t happen by the end of 2012, unless Apple unexpectedly rolls out a rebellious device that calls itself “iGod.” Humanity might be wiped away before the year 2100, predicted the eminent cosmologist and CSER co-founder Sir Martin Ress in his 2003 book “Our Final Century.”

Homicidal robots are among other major Armageddons that the Cambridge think-tank folks are worrying about. There’s also climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.

The CSER reports: “Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. Such dangers have been suggested from progress in artificial intelligence, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme effects of anthropogenic climate change. The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake.”

Science fiction author Issac Asimov’s first Law of Robotics states: “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” Forget that; we already have killer drones that are remotely controlled. And they could eventually become autonomous hunter-predators with the rise of artificial intelligence. One military has a robot that can run up to 18 miles per hour. Robot foot soldiers seem inevitable, in a page straight out of “Terminator.”

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By 2030, the computer brains inside such machines will be a million times more powerful than today’s microprocessors. At what threshold will super-intelligent machines see humans as an annoyance, or as a competitor for resources?

British mathematician Irving John Good wrote a paper in 1965 that predicted that robots will be the “last invention” that humans will ever make. “Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind.”

Good, by the way, consulted on the film “2001″ and so we might think of him as father of the film’s maniacal supercomputer, HAL.

In 2000, Bill Joy, the co-founder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, wrote, “Enormous transformative power is being unleashed. These advances open up the possibility to completely redesign the world, for better or worse for the first time, knowledge and ingenuity can be very destructive weapons.”

Hans Moravec, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania put it more bluntly: “Robots will eventually succeed us: humans clearly face extinction.”

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Ultimately, the new Cambridge study may offer our best solution to the Fermi Paradox: Why hasn’t Earth already been visited by intelligent beings from the stars?

If, on a grand cosmic evolutionary scale, artificial intelligence inevitably supersedes its flesh and blood builders it could be an inevitable biological phase transition for technological civilizations.

This idea of the human condition being transitional was reflected in the writings of Existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche: “Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman–a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end, …”

Because the conquest by machines might happen in less than two centuries of technological evolution, the consequences would be that there’s nobody out there for us to talk to.

Ray Villard isn’t the only person to espouse this theory. Seth Shostak of SETI fame is a supporter of this meme as well.

As for myself, I see much creedance to the story because it seems like a natural progression of intelligent life and an artificial life form could be engineered to be immortal, which could be essential if a civilization is to progress to a Kardashev 2 culture.

Of course this is only a theory, there is no evidence supporting this claim.

Just as there is no “evidence” supporting the alien UFO claim.

Do Robots Rule the Galaxy?

Hat tip to STARpod.US.

7 responses

  1. Reblogged this on CJ Moseley's Reblog Blog and commented:
    Great article on our future robot overlords. Trust the computer, the computer is your friend!

  2. I’m not sure I’m on the robot overlord bandwagon, but it could be the natural progression of Intelligence in the Universe.

    I’m more of a cyborg kind of person. I don’t think AI self-awareness is going to be sudden onset.

  3. Govt men in black are breeding superaggressive black Bronx squirrels originally to control pidgeons and rodents but now to control poverty births. Muffled black AWACS helos drop them into homes and babies disappear to Nellis AFB, Groom Lake, NV. These squirrels have eight instead of the usual four (A,G,C,T) DNA base pairs, because the UFO-derived bases of hazinine, vudanine, quikunine and shugimine are included. UFOs also passed on their W and Z heterogametic chromosomes to snakes, birds and moths. Translucent blue-skinned, pointed-ear, subterranean reptile-human-hybrid aliens (aka subters), whose white-hair-covered elders are mistaken for sashquatch, also have these eight base pairs, and it was by experimenting with them that the squirrels were developed. These subterraneans were bred by the reptoids from fallen blues, from which commonly known as angels or fairies. The fallen blues were sent to help humans ascend to a higher plane but instead conspired with the reptoids and became what we commonly think of as demons and witches. These subterraneans have a complex underground world of tunnels which connect them to major secret underground archives of many powerful organisations. Their central offices are in fact hidden unerneath Vatican Hill and connect to the Vatican archives, where cloaked aliens are mistaken for apparitions of dead popes. The pyramids of Egypt have long been laboratories where they experiment on humans. The aliens thusly manipulate Vatican, White House and Kremlin archives to control world events. Their peculiar-shaped single eye, surrounded with pyramid-like horn-bone structure has served as the symbol for the masonic and illuminatist movements, whose highest-ranking members attend the councils of the subterranean masters. The horn-bone is also the basis of the unicorn myth. They had also fooled the Jewish people into thinking they were a tribe, and so actually form the mythical “lost tribe” of Israel, as well as the supposed lost continent of Atlantis. Petroleum is actually synthetically produced from their sewage and they pipe it into reserviors we mistakenly call oilfields, and by manipulating the appearance of oil, they further control world events by sending oil mostly to Islamic countries succeptible to subterranean-inspired superstitions – The famous meteor of Muhammad was actually fired by the reptoids to help the subterraneans do so. Common UFO drones are greys which were bred to serve the reptoids, and some have been bred for earth and disguised as some, but not all, monkeys. The monkeys which spread AIDS to humanity were actually greys, as were the Ashanti who sold African slaves to the West. The fallen blues fought a nuclear war with the reptoids on earth which led to the extinction of reptoid-derived dinosaurs, allowing humanoids to first settle the earth. The time-travelling Pleiadians are the source of Judeao-Christian deity, and the Haryapans (commonly called “Aryans” and after whom Harappa was named) are the source of Hindu-Graeco-Nordic deity. Humanoids from Sirius are the combined source of the Mongolian, Shinto and AmerIndian deities, and those from Vega are the source of African animist deities.

    1. Hahaha one funny theory.i’m an Ashanti in Ghana so i guess i’m a grey then.LOL

  4. There, that explains everything, lol!

  5. [...] Reblogged from Dad2059's Webzine of Science Fiction, Science Fact and Esoterica: [...]

  6. […] Reblogged from Dad2059's Webzine of Science Fiction, Science Fact and Esoterica: […]

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