Public insight of artificial intelligence technology, in 2017, seems to lie wherever at the connection of existential fear and vigilant optimism. Yet there’s a growing faction of people who believe AI is crucial to the evolution of our genus. These people aren’t outsiders or outliers — they’re actually directing do research on the cutting edge at companies like Google.
Ray Kurzweil, Google’s AI guru and futurism, strut last week at the Council for Foreign Relations, in an intimate Q&A session. His views on the future of humanity might seem essential to a public that’s been cutting its teeth on doomsayer headlines featuring Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking advice about World War III.
He’s immediate to point out that today, right now, is the best our genus has ever had it. According to him, most people don’t know that the globe we live in at present has less hunger and poverty than ever before. “Three billion people have Smartphone, I thought it was two but I just found out it was three. In a few years that’ll be reaching to six billion.” he says.
The deadliest war in recorded human history, World War II, ended just 72 years ago. In the time since, kindness has engaged in what feels like limitless skirmishes, police actions, and outright wars. And while the US remains engaged in the largest war in its history – with no end in vision– the human species is currently enjoying the most peaceful era in the history of our civilization.
The existential fear is that AI will somehow settlement this progress and sends us careening into the next disappearance-level event. If technology like the atom bomb made World War II so much worse than everything before it, doesn’t it follow that WWIII will be even more disturbing?
It’s more composite than that, according to Kurzweil. He believes part of the explanation we’re able to coexist so magnificently (in the grand historical scheme) for so long is because democratic system has begun to take hold globally. He also believes the increase of democracy is the direct result of advances through in communication technology. According to him:
You can count the number of democracies a century ago on the fingers of one hand, you can count the number of democracies two centuries ago on one finger. The world has become more peaceful. That doesn’t appear to be the case, because our information about what’s wrong with the world is getting exponentially better.
So what’s next? He believes we’ll all be less genetic, because humans are always evolving, and the next step of our evolution will be the internal operation of technology. The human-robot hybrid won’t be atrocity of metal. It’ll just be a chip in your brain as a substitute of an iPhone in your hand.
In the future it’ll be no more outrageous to think about the weather in Hong Kong and get an answer than it is to say “Hey Google, what’s the weather conditions in China?” and receive precise information from a glowing rectangle with a speaker inside of it.
Kursweil believes that, “medical robots will go within our brain and connect our neo-cortex to the smart cloud” by the year 2029.
That’s a jaw-dropper, even for a tech journalist who writes about AI on a regular basis. It’s pretty hard to visualize people walking around with their brains connected to the cloud sooner than Justin Bieber turns 35.
But dismiss Ray Kurzweil’s predictions at your own threat: he’s seldom wrong. When it comes to technology he’s gone on the proof with hundreds of predictions, which is what futurists do, and he’s correct over 90 percent of the time.
According to Kurzweil the future is absurd, but it’s also value mentioning that his view of the present is incredible as well. He reminds us that “just a few years ago we had these devices that looked like smartphones but they didn’t work very well,” and he’s right.
Now smartphones know how to react to multifaceted voice commands like “find all the pictures from my trip to San Francisco” and “play Star Trek The Next Generation season three, episode 16.” Today’s phones can identify who is talking, pick out your voice even when music is playing, and execute the command without a hindrance.
But just a few years reverse, most of us rapidly gave up on using voice control regularly, because we were sick of repeating ourselves. We figured we’d wait until the technology getting better. Tada! It’s better now.
The truth about AI, according to experts such as Ray Kurzweil, is that there’s no piece of our lives that won’t be directly affected by it. As individuals we probably won’t notice the changes in real-time, but our confidence on machine learning will boost at exponential rates.
The law of accelerating returns is last the artificial intelligence revolt — and Ray Kurzweil’s predictions. The extremely limits of what is “possible” regarding machine learning are going to require reevaluation on a daily basis going forward.