An Overview Of The Coming AI Revolution

February 6th, 2015

By most estimates, intelligent, autonomous machines will appear within 30 years. Will they deliver or destroy us? Experts like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are issuing strong warnings, while others are dismissive. A new review of issues in AI offers a clear view of why it’s the most important topic for our future. 

Tim Dunn, educator and co-founder of the Wait But Why blog, took it upon himself to review the thinking of hundreds of top scientists, technologists and others connected to the field of Artificial Intelligence. He’s written a very accessible, methodical and clear 2-part overview of the realities presented by our currently reckless aim to develop machines smarter than us. He begins with:

The reason this post took three weeks to finish is that as I dug into research on Artificial Intelligence, I could not believe what I was reading. It hit me pretty quickly that what’s happening in the world of AI is not just an important topic, but by far THE most important topic for our future. So I wanted to learn as much as I could about it, and once I did that, I wanted to make sure I wrote a post that really explained this whole situation and why it matters so much. Not shockingly, that became outrageously long, so I broke it into two parts. 

The first part, AI Revolution: Road To Superintelligence, reviews the current state of development of so-called “Artificial General Intelligence” (AGI), and frames the outlook of where it’s heading. The biggest issue he points out is the tremendous acceleration in AGI development that will realize its potential for Artificial Super-Intelligence at an unexpectedly sudden rate.

The second part, AI Revolution: Our Immortally or Extinction, discusses the issues around humans living (perhaps forever or perhaps never) in a world with machines that are not only quantitatively more intelligent than humans (e.g., faster, more memory), but qualitatively so (e.g., as a human’s intelligence differs from an ant’s).

Some still argue that truly autonomous, human-grade AI is not possible – or at least not in any near future. However, the possibility of developing machines more intellectually capable than ourselves is nevertheless vital for all of humanity to respect, lest our technology become a runaway train to extinction.