Technological development will inevitably shift humanity’s future in a highly radical way. It is especially true in the case of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential to lack any limitations for further development. The point where AI will surpass the human level of cognition will be a hallmark of technological development. No sophisticated expert or analytical framework is capable of predicting AI’s behavior at this point. Therefore, the future of human civilization will live side by side with AI, either in conflict or peace. There is an alternative to the given scenario, where humanity merges with its advanced technology leading to singularity. In the latter case, there is no fear of AI because it will be a mere template of advancement for every person. However, in the future, there is an increased chance of AI reaching the human level of intelligence faster than having a singularity point.
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Singularity is one of the possibilities of the future, where humanity and advanced technology merge into a single entity. This will eliminate the fear and danger of technologies surpassing and posing a danger to humanity because people will be able to advance along with these improvements. The moment of the onset of a technological singularity should radically change the surrounding reality. The objective is the fact that already in modern conditions, humanity is experiencing the first effects of the coming technological wave of change. In other words, all existing advanced technologies are developing at such a pace that, after a short period of time, the old technologies become obsolete. Growth exponentially occurs rapidly upward at the bifurcation point, namely at the time of the development of technological singularity.
The onset of technological singularity will indicate progress in the sciences aimed at improving human existence. Today, developments are underway to design more advanced prostheses, organs are printed on specialized printers, and exoskeletons are created. All of these areas are quite expensive procedures and are carried out in specialized laboratories and under the appropriate scientific programs. However, the future is not far away when technologies will become available to a wide segment of the population, and a consumer will be able to buy certain devices in a simple supermarket that can adjust the parameters of the body’s existence.
However, in order for humanity to fully merge with the most advanced technology, it needs to integrate AI into the human brain. Without fully understanding the nature of consciousness and its duplicability, no attempt to reach singularity will result in success. The concept of consciousness is a deeply philosophical and neurobiological issue, which may not be ever answered due to its subjective nature. For example, one may never be able to study an individual’s qualia (Seager 221). Therefore, there is a little chance that the full level of singularity can be achieved besides mechanical perks.
Artificial Intelligence and Dangers
Nonetheless, the current initiatives on AI development show a major promise, which raises concerns regarding the risks associated with the technology. Firstly, in this case, there is a great risk of a software threat of intentional use for mercenary purposes. AI can become dangerous if it is consciously programmed for hostility. For example, this technology can be used by the military or terrorists to achieve criminal goals. The hostility of artificial intelligence can also manifest itself when the global goals of the AI itself and humanity do not coincide. Secondly, there is also a passive risk due to the lack of a human moral compass in AI. For example, an AI that has no friendliness goals may be responsible for processing the fields with pesticides. This technology will process crops, even when people are on the field. Thirdly, there is a fact of random risk that is inherent in any system. An AI that works with incomplete data can make a mistake just like a person. Such errors cannot be avoided, just as it is impossible to know everything in the world. However, since AI is able to learn from its own experience, and therefore this risk is the least dangerous. The possibility of repeating the error will be constantly reduced through the improvement of AI.
Fourth, there is a risk of incomprehensibility, which is the most real and potentially dangerous risk. The great danger of AI lies in the ability of endless self-improvement. Ultimately, such artificial intelligence can surpass the capabilities of human intelligence. With the advent of AI, which will be smarter than any person on Earth, it will become impossible for people to fully understand it. It will continue to improve itself at tremendous speed, and the possibilities of AI will become practically endless.
In conclusion, the technological singularity is a highly unlikely event, whereas AI at the human intelligence level is inevitable. There are a number of theories about the dangers of artificial intelligence, but people should be aware that these are only hypotheses, not facts. Humanity has always doubted new technologies, and there was a time when people feared even mobile phones. It is impossible to stop the technical process, and it is not necessary, but at the same time, the risks associated with the development of artificial intelligence cannot be underestimated. In any case, the success of using AI depends on how humanity creates it and how it will control it.
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Seager, William. Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction and Assessment. Routledge, 2016.