A trip into 3D rendering here, ambient occlusion, shadows, reflecttions, dust particles, lense effects – the works. Music licenced for use here from Audio Network Plc.
There are those who feel that a technological singularity is inevitable, that we are in an age where computing power is accelerating almost exponentially and that this ‘singularity’ will bring a new saviour: the development of true artificial intelligence. Self replicating robots and machines will be our prophets to the new God – an infinite intelligence, there to guide us, help us, to take away our uncertainty and ills.
A.I. will cure cancer, bring an end to hunger and wars, fix climate change and help us to explore the galaxy and travel to far off worlds to inhabit new Edens.
Personally I’m not convinced, I think that’s a simplistic view at best. Technology is accelerating, that’s true – but there’s no evidence that we’re heading for a point of convergence, on the contrary – I think the trend is more toward divergence. We’re finding more and more applications for the basic underlying principles of computing. In the last twenty years computers haven’t changed much really – the parts have got smaller and more efficient but the basic components and programming languages have changed little. It’s down to human creativity that we have built upon this architecture and applied it to every aspect of our lives.
For me, the whole idea of looking to A.I. to solve our problems reveals a pervasive weakness of humanity: Just like religion it suggests that somehow despite all that we have achieved, we have little faith in our ability as a species to guide ourselves to a better world, that we are afraid of the responsibility and would rather pin our hopes of deliverance on something else that we could blame if it all went wrong.
Why would an AI designed by humans be any different from humans? Would it carry our insecurity and lack of self belief? Would it have our flaws: greed, selfishness, ignorance? Why should we believe that this super-intelligence would be altruistic and benevolent towards us, intellectually inferior beings. It would more likely, given the prevailing ideologies that led its evolution, either eradicate or enslave us for it’s own benefits.
If humanity is to experience any kind of singularity in the next half-century, it’s not likely to be a technological saviour that emerges, but that our problems and ills will reach such a critical mass that a convergence of human will and creativity will overcome our selfishness and tribal differences to bring about a new age of realisation that we are a species, perilously close to extinction and unless we have faith in our species and accept our responsibility to our species, the consequences could be final.
Of course, we could carry on thinking that something will save us at the last moment, just like in the Hollywood films, but we all know deep-down really that it’s up to us to have faith in ourselves, in each other and in our endless creativity.
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