July 6, 2022

The battle for the future

While some maintain that artificial intelligence is just as much an oxymoron as Army Intelligence, others regard it as a grave threat to the future of the human race.

While some maintain that artificial intelligence is just as much an oxymoron as Army Intelligence, others regard it as a grave threat to the future of the human race.

A recent book, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, by documenter James Barrat, presents the case for the negative. After a comprehensive survey of contemporary AI research, Barrat suggests that machines could soon research their own development, leading to an exponential increase in their intelligence. These super-intelligent machines may not be benevolent – they could quite easily dominate the human race, or at least dissent from commands their human masters. Barrat is pessimistic about our ability to hardwire benevolence into the robots.

Barrat’s book is a counterweight to Ray Kurtzweil’s The Singularity is Near, a utopian portrait of a future with AI machines.

Public intellectual Francis Fukuyama famously criticized Kurtzweil’s vision, claiming that transhumanism was “the world’s most dangerous idea”, and that AI could greatly exacerbate inequality between developed and developing nations. 

Xavier Symons
Creative commons
artificial intelligence
transhumanism