( A seven minute read)
When we think about the future our horizons are constrained by present day ideologies and social systems.
For instance Democracy encourages us to believe in a democratic future with globalised capitalism.
If we think in months we focus on immediate problems such as the present day wars, the refugee crisis, the Donald Trumps, the economy, if we think in decades, the climate, the growing inequality, the loss of jobs to automation.
But if we look at life in total, science is converging on data processing and AI that is developing itself with algorithms, (which we are losing control over.)
Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness and soon rather than later it will be consigned to Google, Facebook, Twitter, Smartphones and the like.
You might think that the above question is stupid but it won’t be long before we will be witnessing the most unequal societies in history.
We humans will soon be living with robots that process data without any subjective experiences or consciousness or moral opprobrium.
They will have no notion of self, existing only in the present unaware of the past or future and therefore will be unable to consciously plan for future eventualities. Unconscious algorithms in their brains rather than conscious images in a mind.
We are already living with large AI platforms that are monopolizing the fruits of globalisation with billions being left behind.
With us accepting this as if natural.
The promise of globalisation is a lie, when it comes to AI and prosperity for all. We are all becoming redundant with biotechnology becoming only available to the riches of us.
You might say so what that has always been the case. And you would be right up to now.
Take for instance, when someone says algorithmic trading, it covers a vast subject not just buying and selling large volumes of shares automatically at very high speeds by unsupervised learning algorithms.
They are fighting with each other for supremacy on the market, prey on other algorithms in order to blunder the world exchanges for profit to such an extent that they now effectively in control of capitalism.
There are four major types of trading algorithms. There are:
- Execution algorithms
- Behavior exploitative algorithms
- Scalping algorithms
- Predictive algorithms.
or look at Google an Algorithm’s company that now owns most of the largest data sets in the world stored in its cloud.
It will be too late when we are asking ourselves. What’s more valuable – intelligence or consciousness?
Then ask yourselves what happens to society, politics, and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?
Whatever view one takes on artificial Intelligence ethics. You can rest assured that we will see far more nut cases blowing themselves up, far more wars over finite resources, with vast movements of people.
We are only on the outskirts of mind science that presently knows little about how the mind works never mind consciousness. We have no idea how a collection of electric brain signals creates subjective experiences however we are conscious of our dreams.
99% of our bodily activities take place without any conscious feelings.
The first problem that arises when examining consciousness is that a conscious experience is truly accessible only to the person who is experiencing it. Despite the vast knowledge we have gained in the field of mathematics and computer science, none of the data processing systems we have created needs subjective experiences in order to function.
None feel pain, pleasure, anger or love.
These emotions are vanishing into algorithms that are having an effect on how we see the world but also how we live in it. If not address now all moral and political value will disappear, turning consciousness into a kind of mental pollution. After all computers have no minds.
When intelligence is approached in an incremental manner, with strict reliance on interfacing to the real world through perception and action, reliance on representation disappears. It won’t be long before we will not be unable to distinguish the real world from the virtual world.
Since there is only one real world and there can be infinite virtual worlds the probability that you will inhabit this sole world is zero. So it won’t matter whether computers will be conscious or not.
It will only matter what they think about you.
As neuroscientists acquired more and more data about the workings of the brain, cognitive sciences, and their stated purpose is to combine the data from numerous disciplines so as better to understand such diverse phenomena as perception, language, reasoning, and consciousness.
Even so, the subjective essence of “what it means” to be conscious remains an issue that is very difficult to address scientifically.
To really understand what is meant by the cognitive neurosciences, one must recall that until the late 1960s, the various fields of brain research were still tightly compartmentalized.
Brain scientists specialized in fields such as neuroanatomy, neurohistology, neuroembryology, or neurochemistry. Nobody was yet working with the full range of investigative methods available, but eventually, the very complexity of the subject at hand-made that a necessity.
Today, the neurosciences include disciplines such as neurophysiology (the functioning of the neurons), neuroanatomy (the anatomical structure of the nervous system), neurology (the clinical effects of pathologies of the nervous system), neuropsychology (the clinical effects of pathologies of the nervous system on cognition and emotions), and neuroendocrinology (the relations between the nervous system and the hormonal system), and research centres tend to house several such disciplines under the same roof in order to encourage ongoing exchanges and joint publications.
Cybernetics is tells us, life is both a system and information, whereas a machine is a system that feeds on information.
If you cut the power to a computer, it will no longer be able to use the information supplied to it, but it will still be a computer, ready to work again when the power comes back on. But if you cut off a plant’s sunlight or an animal’s food, it will quickly become an inert body and start to decompose. Its structure coincides with the energy that feeds it and that it transforms or, more precisely, informs.
Because cybernetics is so closely linked with the concepts of structures and levels of organization, this new science quickly turned into artificial intelligence which is turning creativity a fundamental feature of human intelligence into mundane like button clicking.
Creativity is not a special “faculty”, nor a psychological property confined to a tiny elite. Rather, it is a feature of human intelligence in general. It is grounded in everyday capacities such as the association of ideas, reminding, perception, analogical thinking, searching a structured problem-space, and reflective self-criticism. It involves not only a cognitive dimension (the generation of new ideas) but also motivation and emotion, and is closely linked to cultural context and personality factors.
Current AI models of creativity focus primarily on the cognitive dimension of intelligence called short term pleasure.
At the moment an algorithm is nothing else than an extremely formalised set of beliefs translated into routines.
The ultimate vindication of AI-creativity would be a program that generated novel ideas which initially perplexed or even repelled us, but which was able to persuade us that they were indeed valuable.
We are a very long way from that.
However my main concern is whether the AI techniques will develop into quantum algorithms totally out of control.
The difficulty of predicting the future is not just a cliche’, it’s a basic fact of our existence. Part of the hypothesis of the Singularity is that this difficulty is just going to get worse and worse.
Yes, creating AGI is a big and difficult goal, but according to known science it is almost surely an achievable one. There are sound though not absolutely confident arguments that it may well be achievable within our lifetimes.
If Artificial general intelligence is on the not too distant horizon, surely we should be insuring that it is not owned by any one corporation and that at its core it respects our core values.
To achieve this we cannot surely let wealth to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, or to be let to the market place, or any world organisation that is not totally transparent and self financing.
We therefore as a matter of grave urgency need a new world organization that vets all technology, algorithms. (See previous posts)
As long as the algos don’t go to war with each other and cause something even more difficult to diagnose than a crash on the stock markets they are safe is as naive as saying ” It’s going to be Great.”Algos are increasingly in charge of a world that is precious to us all. Basically we’re entering the era of the machines controlling everything.
If we want to create new different societies with human dignity for all we need to do something about it.
All comments appreciated, all like clicks chucked in the bin.