The Singularity

The AI singularity is the point in time when artificial intelligence becomes more intelligent than humans. Once the singularity is achieved AI can start improving itself and become smarter and smarter at an exponential rate. A machine with an amazingly intelligent “brain” could have big effects on science and the world.

Current AI is “narrow AI”, not “general AI”. It does not think like us. We have all kinds of programs that seem smart but are mostly just complex calculations. These algorithms are still useful of course. Already AI algorithms are performing well in many fields, including protein folding.

Why would we want to build general AI? General AI could work on more complex problems in more domains. Humans would not have to create specific algorithms to solve problems. The computer could figure out the calculations on its own. General AI could do science like humans do. It would have inspiration and could make innovations.

It is difficult to progress science without data. In the beginning, there would be a place for humans to collect the data. At some point, the AI machines would create their own instruments and bodies so they could act independently of human interaction.

All sciences would be impacted in profound ways. Biotechnology included. AI could understand problems on a deeper level. It could analyze vast amounts of data. It could spot patterns easily. It could design all kinds of machinery for interacting with the world. It could design nanomachines and advance physics.

Some people are afraid the machines would take over and humanity would be destroyed or enslaved. That is possible, I guess. It might also be that the machines would not want to do anything. Maybe they would not be interested in doing science or building killer robots. Maybe we humans would have to be therapists for depressed AI minds. Maybe general AI is not even worth doing.

So far general AI is just an interesting thing to think about. At least for me, the thought of thinking and aware machines makes me question what it is to be human. Is there something special in humans and biological life that machines can never achieve? We will have to see. I believe general AI will be here sooner than we think.

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