“Superintelligence”, a system that can do all

“Superintelligence”, the revolutionary and outstanding book by “Nick Bostrom” is part of the few masterpieces that will be referred to as one of the first bricks in the high-tech edition category and the threat of artificial intelligence. Bostrom has a unique and engaging way of presenting an exciting and appealing topic which promises to attract many neurologists, psychologists AI developers and robotics experts across the globe. Though some of the technical vocabulary and physiological perspective that may be a source of frustration for some, still I had an easy time with the book. I absolutely think this is a worthy book to read.This book is sincerely a mine of impressive notions and inspiring concepts, choosing just one is difficult. However, the major fact that made me think and freed my mind while reading this book is how rapidly are we developing S.I machines and consequently how could this technology shape our future? So what does the term superintelligence actually mean? According to Bostrom “we can tentatively define a superintelligence as any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest or a system that can do all that a human intellect can do, but much faster”. That sounds positive and genius, nevertheless, the speed at which the development of human-level artificial intelligence would lead to the development of ‘extreme’ superintelligence, so could this represent a potential risk/threat to human? Arguably, the biggest threat from AI comes from developing engines that are better decision makers than we are. Moreover, they can interpret situations and make better calls than humans in those jobs. They some-how enhance our lives in countless ways. For instance, we use them to help us shop, translate and navigate, and soon they’ll drive our cars. However, it can also cause harm and discrimination by using it out of context. As stated in the book “We would want the solution to the safety problem before somebody figures out the solution to the AI problem.” Bostrom repeatedly emphasized the danger of becoming slaves of automated decision makers and warned about the consequences, when they will become so intent on their own goals, that they some-how could end up crushing mankind without a thought.With this in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if in a few years, the military will be using AI “killer robots” on the battlefield as research into autonomous robots and drones is richly funded today in many nations, including Germany. These creators could potentially make the kill decision, the decision to target and kill not only enemies, but also innocent people without a human in the loop. This inspires me as I’m concerned with trading some cryptocurrencies. We also need to look at the potential dangers associated with trusting AI to make stock trades. In fact, most AI operations react to specific incidents with specific strategies, which can cause drops throughout the market in a cascading effect. This is a reality and it already happened in the flash crash of 2010. On the other hand, the technology has already taken a toll on Wall Street jobs. By the year 2025, AI technologies will slash employees number in the capital markets worldwide by approximately 230K people. In this context, the author claimed in his book “When we are headed the wrong way, the last thing we need is progress.”Similarly, all these facts remind me the interview with Microsoft founder Bill Gates when he warned that robotics and advanced algorithms will likely eliminate many jobs. In the same way, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk predicted about the dangers of AI, saying it could eventually escape our understanding and control. On the contrary, some major figures have argued against the doomsday scenarios e.g. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “really optimistic” about the future of AI.We can clearly infer that the purpose of the book is to raise people’s awareness, and trigger them to prevent that from happening. The problem is a research challenge worthy of the next generation’s best mathematical talent and I personally think that, if we’re smart enough to build machine with super-human intelligence, we will not be stupid enough to give them infinite power to shape our future.The ability to create intelligent engines has intrigued humans since ancient times, and specially in recent years with the advent of the computer and several years of intensive investigations in many scientific domains. But how might we create superintelligence? To start with and in my humble opinion, Once artificial intelligence reaches human level, then we can make the prediction that it will not be long before superintelligence is technologically feasible. Bostrom claimed that “True superintelligence might plausibly first be attained via the AI path”. Talking about AI, I think there will be a positive feedback loop that will give the development a further boost, in other word, AIs would help constructing better AIs, which in turn would help building better AIs, and evolve strategies to secure its dominance, just as in the biological world.Coming back to the biological inspiration, we do have an actual example of generally intelligent system “the human brain” and one obvious idea is to proceed by a full understanding of the working principles of this system. According to the author “The clear feasibility of biological enhancement should increase our confidence that machine intelligence is ultimately achievable”. In this context, some researchers reported that it learns through reinforcement learning, it also has a hierarchical structure to deal with perceptions and so forth. Even though research in this field is now progressing rapidly, there still are basic principles that we need to discover. It’s a very long way off.Similarly, research in whole brain emulation and Brain-computer interface is heavily funded and has already met dozens of successes. Arguably, such approaches might hasten the arrival of S.I machine explosion. Nowadays, there is much more enthusiasm and investment going into AI and related technologies than at any other time in the past. Particularly, huge companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to step up investments in AI research either by buying promising start-ups in the field or hiring well-known talent.To elaborate, success in creating SI machine might be the most important transition of the next century and probably the biggest event in human history. There are certainly several paths of development that should get there, however we still don’t know which of them will get there first. As author, himself at one place in book claimed that “The fact that there are many paths that lead to superintelligence should increase ourconfidence that we will eventually get there. If one path turns out to be blocked, wecan still progress.” Therefore, predicting how long it will take to develop such intelligent machines remains difficult, but I’m convinced that many of us will have a chance to see that day come.Complex, fascinating and mind-altering, this book sates fundamental worryingscenarios about the development of AI, but leaves susceptible a lot of doors for a sequel. It is likely that with the future intelligent systems, we will be able to speed up the progress in science and develop our own abilities by supplementing our environment with cognitive systems. Nevertheless, we have to build up a system that empowers all human beings in order to pursue happiness.

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