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Don’t think of the brilliant Steven Spielberg movie with all of its predictions and pathos. Scientists and engineers in the field are widely claiming that already the learning capacity of machines is equivalent to that of an insect brain. Furthermore, they are claiming that in accordance with Moore’s law (technological advance roughly doubles every 18 months or so) by 2030 the intelligence and learning capacity of A.I. will exceed humans. While the use of algorithms is already quite advanced within narrow ranges, it is the capacity of artificial “brains” to learn by themselves and acquire values and opinions that is both tremendously exciting and frightening.
A superintelligent machine would be useful for its ability to find plans that its programmers never imagined to identify shortcuts that they never noticed or considered. That capability is a double-edged sword:
a machine that is extraordinarily effective at achieving its goals might have unexpected negative side effects, as in the case of robotic laboratories damaging the biosphere. There is no simple fix: a superintelligent system would need to learn detailed information about what is and isn’t considered valuable, and be motivated by this knowledge, in order to safely solve even simple tasks.
[The Value Learning Problem Nate Soares Machine Intelligence Research Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org]
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Soares’ concern doesn’t even mention the possibility that such machines may acquire the value of satisfying their own issues of well-being before considering those of humanity or anything else. After all that is precisely what our species has done and why the planet’s ecosystem is on the verge of collapse. Would such super intelligent examples of artificial intelligence be likely to challenge the human race as in the Terminator movies? Given the advantages and risks to ourselves of continued development in this sphere should we continue with it? That is somewhat of a hypothetical question since, throughout history, humanity has never erred on the side of caution. If something can be done, it surely will. The development of artificial intelligence will continue regardless of cost or risk. This habit of our species is unstoppable regardless of whether new discoveries will prove positive or catastrophically negative.
Adam Conner-Simons describes how results of tests that were run showed that assembly line workers actually preferred a robot boss to a human one. In all likelihood this preference is a result of the machine boss not possessing the emotions, including favouritism and prejudice, so often exhibited by the human variety.
[Adam Conner-Simons | CSAIL August 21, 2014]
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Yet the unstoppable increase in machine intelligence presumably will result in A.I. that experiences something akin to human emotions and value judgements. Will workers be happy to take orders from these more advanced bosses? In short, when the rise of machines reaches a certain but unknown point will they possess the same weaknesses and shortcomings (in terms of emotions – including selfishness and greed) as humans but with a huge technical superiority?
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John Richard Spencer, Australia
John has had much multicultural experience due to marriage, teaching, travel and years of living in the Philippines and other parts of Asia, has taught English in Australian high schools and overseas, has driven taxis in Sydney and on the Gold Coast, and has also personally visited and researched the U.S. and U.K. locations featured in the novel. His published work has included article-length pieces of fiction and non-fiction. Much of the non-fiction has been travel and business related (including a considerable amount in David Koch financial publications). His work has been published in Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Zimbabwe and the U.S. John has published a novel, Brownout – 666, as an eBook that is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. Brownout is a romantic/political/social and crime suspense novel of 131,443 words with strong love/sex themes as well as legal action. It deals with life in the Philippines as well as the dark side of the political and social elite who rule the planet from their bases in the USA and other nations. – See more at: http://www.creativityandpower.com/