Meet the Sunni and Shia of Our Digital Future

Belmont Club » Legends of the Fall

Elon Musk argues that we may not even see the next invaders coming.

Elon Musk, the mastermind behind SpaceX and Tesla, believes that artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes,” imploring all of humankind “to be super careful with AI,” unless we want the ultimate fate of humanity to closely resemble Judgment Day from Terminator. Personally I think Musk is being a little hyperbolic — after all, we’ve survived more than 60 years of the threat of thermonuclear mutually assured destruction — but still, it’s worth considering Musk’s words in greater detail … and Musk, sadly, isn’t too optimistic about humanity putting the right safeguards in place. In a second tweet, Musk says: “Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.”

Well, we’ll see.

But if we don’t see, doubtless the robot sentiologists of the far future will find the remains of the “original ancestors” of the by-then-dominant species of artificial intelligence. They will note the lack of common silicon ancestry between the vanished race of humans but conclude “our ancestors died out due to climate change. Their reaction times were in tenths of seconds, unlike the modern billionths of a second. They were in a sense, Sitting Commodore 64s.”

I don’t see why “artificial” intelligences will be any smarter or faster than human consciousnesses running on hyperfast digital substrates.  In other words, SkyNet, meet NeuralNet!

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

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