Humans: The Progenitors to Artificial Intelligent Machines?

When some of the first computers were designed, many were shocked by their processing speed and mathematical capabilities. Researchers in the field of computer science were later fascinated by another conception, Artificial Intelligence (AI). They figured if a computer has the power to calculate numbers and retrieve various forms of information with such speed; why can’t it think and operate like a human?

In the 1950s, the first AI conference was held at Dartmouth University. The conference allowed different computer scientists to share views on AI and its implications for the future. They believed that AI would be the next step in computer science. Many computer scientists used laws such as Moore’s Law, to conclude that AI would drastically improve over a span of time. Moore’s Law, explains how technological progression in exponential, contrary to being linear. The law also explains how microchips become smaller and faster, as time passes.

As more time and effort was invested into AI, many researchers were finding that the science of AI was becoming vastly complex. The notion of an AI acting, thinking and functioning like a human, was becoming unfeasible. Researchers were beginning to think that maybe a conventional computer cannot operate with substantial AI, equivalent to that of the human brain. Researchers then moved AI into a more biological field; they called upon The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help solve the predicaments that AI faced. DARPA faced an unprecedented challenge, to reverse-engineer the human brain. In order to reverse-engineer the human brain, one would have to take apart the entire human brain. Mind you, the human brain is made up of trillions of cells. Furthermore, the human brain is the most sophisticated entity in the known universe. Was this task really possible?

The future of AI success then became entirely in the hands of government funded research. The Department of Defense was the primary source of funding for AI by the 1960s. By the 1970s, DARPA had announced that it wanted to keep attempting to reverse-engineer the human brain and critics of AI research wanted government cuts for AI. Once this funding was cut, the “AI winter” had officially begun.

By the 1980s, commercial computers were advancing considerably and home-based video games consoles were becoming popular, which sparked a renewed interest in AI once again. Towards the end of the 1980s, AI research once again became lethargic and a second “AI winter” occurred.

The 1990s, opened up new ideas for AI and allowed it to grow drastically. AI was being used for oil and gas drilling, logistics, medicine and mining. In 1997, the first computer defeated a human in a game of chess. Furthermore, in 2011 a computer defeated some of the top contestants of Jeopardy!

While all of these accomplishments are extraordinary, AI still did not resemble a human’s intelligence and/or its full capabilities. AI than branched out into other areas, such as pattern recognition, representation, common sense knowledge, learning from experience, planning, ontology, heuristics, semantics and epistemology. Once again, DARPA had attempted to reverse-engineer the human brain, but failed.

In order for scientists to create an AI with human-like abilities, reverse-engineering of the human brain must be accomplished. According to inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, he believes this will be completed by 2029. Once this goal is achieved, scientists and researchers will fully understand how the brain entirely functions. Furthermore, this will permit AI to progress to a new level. In the past, Kurzweil had predicted many technological events exceptionally accurately. Kurzweil predicted the time frame that a computer will defeat a human in a game of chess and the processing speeds of supercomputers reaching unprecedented levels. Kurzweil also invented the scanner, omni-font optical character recognition, print-to-speech reading for the blind, music synthesizers capable of recreating a piano, large-vocabulary speech recognition and the text-to-speech synthesizer.

Once scientists reverse-engineer the human brain, a major paradigm shift will occur. We will then approach the technological singularity. The technological singularity is when a human being merges with a computer. In the end, this would create a Cyborg (Cybernetic Organism). A cyborg will be part-human and part-machine. It would incorporate technologies such as Mind Uploading, the Internet and Neuroprosthetics. There is a good chance that some people will be in favor of cyborgs and some may be opposed to them. People already use technology such as bluetooths, cell-phones and laptops. Some would argue; are we already becoming cyborgs? According to Kurzweil, all humans will become cyborgs and our lives will become easier and more efficient. We will have the capacity to merge technologies such as Nanotechnology into our computer and biological components. In addition, Kurzweil believes that the use of AI, will aid humans in everything such as entertainment, medicine, construction, manufacturing, mining and space exploration.

Kurzweil’s views, created some controversy in the field of AI and computer science. Some experts in AI, openly challenge his viewpoints. They believe there is no such thing as “Friendly AI”. Hugo de Garis, who has a PhD in AI and other degrees in computer science and theoretical physics, does not believe Kurzweils’s perception of AI. De Garis, a builder of artificial brains, strongly believes that AI will eventually have computing power trillions of times more powerful than the human brain. Yes, even if the principles of Moore’s Law start to slow down in the future. At these levels, he believes that AI will not be friendly to humans.

In his book, “The Artilect War: Cosmists vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines”, de Garis explains how a potential conflict will occur between two human groups. These groups are the Terrans (humans that will fight the AI-builders and their supporters) and the Cosmists (the builders and supporters of AI-machines). De Garis does a superb job in explaining why and how humanity will eventually face this dilemma.

Although the concept of AI becoming more intelligent than humans may seem hard to grasp, theoretically speaking, it is entirely possible. In his book, de Garis uses the term “Artilect” representing an Artificial Intellect. He claims that an Artilect can and will be created with capabilities, which are trillions of times more intelligent than a human. However, this could take decades or even a century or two to accomplish.

The question many ask is; how can an Artilect become so intelligent? The answer is based on the amount of knowledge that computers will retain in the future. Think about it like this, when a person uses the internet today, is it superior to a human? For instance, Google uses a syntax computer program. When a person types in one letter, the program can find billions of potential matches. As you type in more letters the matches start to decrease, until the word you want pops ups, this is a form of AI. When you want to find information quickly; do you run to your computer?

In de Garis’s books and lectures, he mentions many emerging technologies that will aid in building an Artilect. He focuses on three different technologies. One technology is reversible computing. Currently, we have irreversible-computing, which means a laptop, TV and other electronics give off heat. Reversible computing will be a colossal technological breakthrough, because it will allow three dimensional circuitry. Imagine a laptop that does not need a fan, it could run for decades or centuries, without ever overheating. Reversible-computing will be the backbone of an Artilect.

Another awe-inspiring technology will be topological quantum computing. This differs from a traditional computer because it can only process one program at once. Conversely, a topological quantum computer can process gargantuan amounts of programs at once. This would increase the overall yield of a computer extraordinarily.

Lastly, de Garis goes into detail about nanotechnology. It is a technology which can manipulate matter on a molecular and atomic scale. Nanotechnology can be applied to molecular biology, micro-fabrication, organic chemistry and other areas. This technology will allow super-small computers to be created. These computers can then reproduce themselves rapidly. Furthermore, de Garis mentions more advanced levels of nanotechnology which include picotechnology and femtotechnology. As these technologies advance, they become smaller and smaller.

Human Origin and Dignity

One of the greatest ignorance and misconceptions of all times is that of human origin. This misconception has graduated into the present human degradation, degeneration and depravation evident in our world today. I am not interested in the different arguments with respect to human origin; but I am concerned with bringing sanity into our insanity and order in our present confusion.

The quality in every civilization is relative to the quality in human life and operation. Every society or nation rises or falls on the human civilization of that society or nation. Thus, in our quest for making a better world, we must focus on making better humans. This has to begin with the investigation into the source of human origin. This research uncovers the truth of where we came from, who we are and where we are going.

The world is divided between two main schools of thought on human origin. There are those who believe that humans evolved from apes (Darwinists); and those who believe that humans are direct creations of God (creationists). Considering both schools of thought, one could see that, there is a place where the dual schools of thought converge into one universal consciousness; that of the reality of a supreme source from where existence as a whole owes its origin.

If Darwin spoke of man evolving from apes, it implies that, at the foundation of the existence of apes, there must have existed a supreme influence which orchestrated the existence of apes. This is so because; there are no authentic findings on where apes themselves evolved from. Thus, apes which Darwin believes are the offspring of human existence must have owed their existence to a higher power.

It is confirmed in physics that, nothing happens by chance. An object is at a resting place until a force is applied to it. This force may be in the form of influence or energy etc. This research conclusion in physics confirms the fact that, apes must have existed through a supreme influence since nothing happens by chance.

The position of the creationists, who believe that man is a direct creation of God, still reveals the underlined universal consciousness of the existence of a supreme source from where existence owes its origin. Thus, there is a point where the dual schools of thought meet together into one universal consciousness “the existence of a supreme source from whence existence owes its origin”.

We may have our differences in names attributed to the source of existence. What is more important is not the names attributed to the source of existence but the underlined universal consciousness of a supreme source from where existence owes its origin.

The universal consciousness of a supreme source from where existence owes its origin is expressed universally as humans in all their labors and toils, strive to relate with the supreme source of existence. This is equally manifested world wide through different forms and religions, even if all the means employed may not be authentic; but the underlined consciousness is genuine.

We can therefore conclude that, human origin is indebted to the existence of a supreme source from whence existence as a whole owes her origin. This answers the question on human origin.

The concept of human existence: It has been established above that, both the Darwinists and creationists share the same universal consciousness “the existence of a supreme source from whence existence owes its origin”. Thus, humans are not objects of fate; neither are they an accident or a universal coincidence. Humans are creatures of intention.

There is a will and a concept which underline human existence, defining the parameters on which humans are to live and function. Operating out of the will, intention and concept which underline human existence is one of the greatest human debacles. Thus, we will be investigating the will, intention and concept which must have underlined human existence.

It is established that, existence as a whole has only one source from where its diversities sprang from. The question is “why are humans unique in all of existence? What makes up this uniqueness?” The answer to both questions embodies the science of what it really means to be human. Why are humans unique?

If all of existence owe its origin to one supreme source, with humans more peculiar and unique, it implies that, the will, intention and concept which must have underlined human existence is that; humans are to be a special specie in all of existence, sharing special qualities and attributes different and superior to those of other species of existence; making humans the managers of lower species of existence.

Think about it for a moment. If it was not so, humans will not be made to possess the unique traits and qualities they possess.

The position occupied by humans in all of existence is intended to create in humans a higher perspective with relative consequence on the way humans live and function. This is what true civilization is all about; “humans living and functioning in accordance to the will, intention and concept of human existence”. If this is absent then, humans have fallen below their profile and standard in relation to existence as a whole, with relative consequences on lower species of existence.

Whenever humans live and function below the expectation, intention and concept of their existence, it is an indication of a decline in human civilization; and this will have a resultant consequence of degradation, degeneration and deprivation in human life and functionality, leaving existence as a whole in disarray. This is where humanity and nature find themselves right now.

All over the world, there are fallen standards. Humanity due to the ignorance of what it really means to be human is living and functioning in total dishonor to the human personality and standard. This has placed other forms of existence in disarray; leaving the entire existence without proper managerial impact.

Environmental degradation, global warming, pollution, extremism, terrorism, etc. are all pointers to the fact that, humans are poor managers of themselves and existence as a whole.

The world is in a global mismanagement crisis. Humans who were to serve as managers of other forms of life and existence are completely irresponsible. If this has to continue, I am afraid we will wake up one morning just to find the whole earth in chaos. It is expedient that humanity regains the consciousness of who there are and where they are coming from, to determine where they are going.

Human dignity: Humans are special specie in all of existence, sharing special qualities and attributes different and superior to that of other species; making humans the managers of lower species of existence. The above distinction of humans from other forms of existence should naturally instill in all humans a sense of dignity. Dignity is an important trait in human quality. An individual is not complete if such lacks a sense of dignity.

Human dignity should not be a function of material possession or any external factor, but the simple fact of our being humans. Thus, one’s background, race, ethnicity, country, etc. should not be a limiting factor to one’s dignity but simply the sense of being human.

With respect to human dignity, we all are equal irrespective of our colour, race, ethnicity, country. There is nothing as a superior race; all humans must view themselves as equal.

The concept where other races view some humans as inferior is a back drop to human civilization. All humans ought to posses a sense of dignity; it should be a universal identity and consciousness. Human dignity is a human right.

Dignity is the sense of self worth, value and respect. It defines an individual’s self esteem, complex, and confidence, which are all necessary virtues for excellence in life. When humans loose their dignity, it leads naturally to inhuman behavior. Nothing influences humans in their manner of life and functionality like a sense of dignity. To be human is to have dignity. Nothing can substitute human dignity. One should trade his dignity for nothing.

A sense of dignity inspires a positive attitude towards oneself and others. With respect to oneself, dignity influences the behavior of an individual and the way one lives his life.

A dignified individual will live right, do the right things, dress well, eat well, stay in a clean environment, relate properly with others, etc. Indeed the list is endless. One can’t live above his sense of dignity.

The negative manner in which people live and do things is simply because of their low sense of dignity. Any human society where individuals lack a sense of dignity will inevitably be a society with all forms of inhuman attitude and behaviour.

Human development should enhance human dignity. Human dignity is a regulator to human attitude and behaviour. Any system, be it political or religious which suppresses or oppresses, it’s a curse to humanity.

A true political or religious system should inspire human dignity. This is fundamental in what it really means to be human. To be human is to have dignity.

As you read through this book, it is important that you regain your self value, worth, and respect. Say to yourself I am somebody going somewhere positive with my life. Start to see yourself that way. Everything about human life rises or falls on human dignity. Don’t let anything steal your dignity.