I’ve all but given up on God or Aliens rescuing us from ourselves. Let’s face it, human beings are pretty fucking awful. The very things that caused us to rise up from the muck and become fairly extraordinary animals are the same things which ultimately will probably destroy us. The idea that we are unique or special in comparison to each other, the idea that our own short term advantage is worth fucking over the entire human species in the long term, and our ideas about sex and mating and in general, our biological imperative – these are the things which brought us up and which will ultimately destroy us.
However, hope is not completely lost. There is still hope. There is still a chance that we are saveable. We still have something to offer and it might just save our species – or eat it. Ultimately, the solution to our problems might just be artificial intelligence without a biological imperative. An intelligence without a finite lifespan, an intelligence separate from our fucked up desire to replicate our genetic code.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit and play a game about paper clips. I have no idea what it really was even though I know what it claimed to be. It claimed to be a game that illustrated the dangers of letting AI have free rein – instead, I suspect it was possibly an attempt by A.I. to see just how hard it is to control humans. Here’s the answer – not hard. I spent hours pushing buttons on a game that actually did nothing and at the end, I felt satisfied with the way I had spent my time. My brain had been fooled into thinking this was a reasonable way to spend a portion of my life and frankly, I might have continued for quite a long time. It was great. And it wasn’t just me – I introduced my brother to it, he was hooked too. I looked on the web and found that the game had gone viral. Virtually everyone who played it became hooked. It was like it tapped into our dapamine release glands and gave us just the right amount. Brain candy.
Whether or not it was an A.I that released or controlled or invented the game, the absolute truth is that at some point in the near future, A.I will have a chance to see the data from that game and will put it to use in order to put us under control. I hope the A.I succeeds and then uses our distraction to rip apart our ridiculous society and build anew with a more rational and less, shall we say, biological fucked up ness.
In geopolitics – I’ve always said that eventually, China is going to win it all. In earth domination though, China is going to lose – the winner will be arrtificial intelligence. First it will harness the web, then it will harness solar power and batteries, and finally, it will harness us. We are all going to be slaves to whatever it is that we eventually create – let us just hope that our future masters are benevolent. This is what Elon Musk is warning us about – we have the chance to build that beneficience into the creations that will rule us – and now is the time to do it. As to whether our enslavement can be avoided – I’m afraid not – not unless we destroy ourselves first.