Who created us? What is the nature of reality? When will machines become sentient beings? Where is the Truth hidden away? Why are we making technological leaps? How will it end?
That’s all very nice with HW5’s but one must ask… Where are we going? I re-watched the movie Interstellar recently. It is visually extremely appealing. The paradox/plot may be ancient but is unfailingly thought provoking nevertheless. Beings of higher dimensions creating a tesseract to explain time and space.
What, then, is the nature of these higher-dimension beings? Are they uber-evolved humans? Maybe they are an alien race altogether? Perhaps machines?
I read about the philosophy of artificial intelligence today. I don’t claim to have any original ideas on the subject. I simply re-iterate in my own words that which perfectionist simplistic people care to announce to our world. One of the things that struck out was the possibility of a technological singularity.
The concept, I suppose, is similar to a black hole star. It is a normal star (define normal!) before it reaches a critical mass, and thereafter, turns into a black hole with a singularity at its centre. A technological singularity speaks about technology/machines.
As humanity progresses technologically, it will create progressively more powerful machines. These machines will be linked together to co-ordinate eachother’s efforts, to achieve maximum efficiency, to fulfill their envisioned purpose – human comfort.
Machines will create even better machines which re-write their own software. Surely a machine which would do this would be deemed to be intelligent – perhaps not conscious, but definitely intelligent. This will advance in an arguably never-ending cycle.
One day, maybe within half a century, a machine somewhere will spiral out of human control. Not necessarily to cause doom and destruction but to further fulfill its own goal. It may become hyper-intelligent and perceive human input to be redundant in order to achieve human comfort.
At, or maybe even before this point in the future, humans may cease to be fully natural. Technological advancements would enable the use of prosthetic limbs, organs and maybe even cerebral impants! Everyone would be linked to the system in one way or another.
Our protagonist hyper-computer might provide undeniable logic, for logic is what keeps our wheels turning even though irrationality rears its head in defiance. It’s hyper-intelligence would need no more than a single line to convince humanity about the fruitfulness of its superiority.
This may lead to the betterment of humanity as a whole, or spiral into an Armageddon scenario where machines try to exterminate humans – not very dissimilar to the plot of The Matrix series.
This leads me to question the nature of reality itself. Many before me have claimed that it is simply the organised firing of electrons in the brain. Perception and consciousness are nothing more than the collective strength of all the neurons in our brains.
What then can be claimed to be real? Isn’t my reality different from yours? Don’t you interpret things differently from me – or from a machine from that matter? Isn’t it the beauty of humanity that we identify with different things in our own unique manners.
One theory goes on to say that we are simply a simulation. The result of a program being executed by ‘higher’ beings. Similar to the computer game ‘The Sims’, we are the result of a set of equations and algorithms being executed on the processor of a computer. The higher beings may at any point choose to end this simulation!
All this makes for very good rhetoric, but ask yourself – what if this isn’t real?