[ExI] Singularity news

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Thu Apr 20 11:40:27 UTC 2023

Changed my mind. Rather than sit back and wait for the flak, I want to 
do some musing on what happens next, if you'll indulge me.

We can assume that AI in all its flavours will continue to rapidly 
improve in the background, whatever else we do. At a double-exponential 
rate. So bear in mind what that means, for all of the below.

I know that making predictions is notoriously dodgy, and I normally 
don't, but in this case, I feel justified in guessing that the world 
could well be a different place in a matter of months, not years or decades.


I'd expect humans and AI systems to work ever more closely together, in 
many many domains. Of course, this does depend on what I was saying 
before about allowing access. If access to them (or for them) is 
restricted, it will slow down the synergy between humans and AI. If not, 
it will accelerate. I doubt very much if the restriction scenario will 
happen, simply because there are too many ways to get round any 
restrictions, and too much potential power and money on offer to resist.

There are obvious areas of research and development that human/AI 
synergy will affect - biomedical, AI, persuasion, oppression, 
side-stepping oppression, crime detection and prevention, crime 
innovation, physics, mathematics, all the sciences, really, engineering, 
the various arts, energy, combatting global warming, screwing more 
people out of more money (business practices, the finance and large 
parts of the legal sectors), education, manufacturing (including 
molecular manufacturing - Nanotechnology!), robotics, design, defense, 
offense, communications, transport, space stuff, psychiatry, diet and 
fitness, sorting out the morass that research has got itself into, 
detecting 'fake news', generating 'fake news', and so on. I'm sure you 
can add to this list.

And there are the non-obvious areas that will surprise everyone. There 
will be things that we assume will never change, changing. Things that 
no-one ever though of, appearing. I obviously can't make a list of 
things we don't know yet.

And there will be groups wanting to use it for their own advantage, to 
try to impose their own version of How Things Should Be on everyone 
else. The usual suspects of course, but also other, smaller groups. 
Another reason to ensure these AI systems are spread as widely as 
possible, so that a balance of power can be maintained. This needs to be 
the exact opposite of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. An AI 
massive proliferation non-treaty, and we need everyone in the world to 
not sign it.

All this will naturally create massive disruption. Be prepared for your 
job to disappear, or be changed drastically. No matter what it is. Those 
magazine articles listing "which jobs are at risk of being taken over by 
robots in the next 20 years" will look hilarious.

So bearing in mind what the guys in that video (I should really do 
better than saying "those guys in that video". I mean Tristan Harris and 
Aza Raskin in "The A.I. Dilemma" Youtube video 
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=xoVJKj8lcNQ&t=854s)) said 
about research areas joining up and accelerating, and the voracious 
appetite of these AI systems for information, the ability to 
self-improve, the development of ways to interact with the world, and 
all the above areas of collaboration between humans and AIs, together 
with double-exponential improvement in their capabilities, including 
their ability to understand the world, we have a genuine singularity on 
our hands, going on right now.

What else?

The old question of whether there will be a 'singleton' AI or multiple AIs.
I'm not sure if this makes any sense, or matters. We definitely have 
more than one being developed and deployed, but if they don't have it 
already, they'll soon develop the ability to communicate with one 
another, and we could have a situation where there's a kind of global 
'AI hive-mind' or maybe something looser than that, with groups of 
systems having stronger and weaker links to other systems and groups. 
Whether you could call that a singleton or not is probably just a matter 
of opinion. Even if you do, it will have multiple points of view, so the 
original objection to a singleton AI won't apply in any case.

And what effect will all this have on human society and culture?

Let's all hope that Eleizer Yudkovsky is dead wrong!

(I would say let's make sure the fiction of Iain M Banks and Neal Asher 
are part of their training sets, but there's no need. ALL fiction will 
be part of it, if it isn't already)

Over to you.

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