Although Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) currently remains the stuff of fiction, many experts believe this field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – defined by Oxford professor and AI specialist Nick Bostrom as “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills” – could become a reality within our lifetimes. In fact, there’s no longer a debate on whether artificial intelligence, which as a branch of computer science is divided into three categories: narrow intelligence, general intelligence, and superintelligence, will become smarter than humans, only when.
But where exactly is ASI headed? Some of the most exciting predictions include the field’s capability to harness technology to overcome diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, rewrite our bug-ridden genetic code, eradicate suffering, improve climate science, and perhaps make our species immortal by the middle of the 21-st century. Futurist and singularity enthusiast Ray Kurzweil has pegged 2029 as the date when computer intelligence would reach human levels. After this, Google’s Director of Engineering thinks Singularity – the moment when AI will reach a level that’s “a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today” – will take place in 2045.
It would be an understatement to say we’re in uncharted territory. Especially, when considering the fact that the spectrum of AI extends much further than we currently imagine. That’s why people like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk think AI could be humanity’s downfall. In fact in 2016 Hawking was quoted as saying that AI could either be the best or worst invention humanity has ever made.
What will happen or what the consequences of the inevitable AI Revolution will be is anyone’s guess, but as Wait, But Why‘s Tim Urban writes: “While most scientists I’ve come across acknowledge that ASI would have the ability to send humans to extinction, many also believe that used beneficially, ASI’s abilities could be used to bring individual humans, and the species as a whole, to…species immortality”.
In other words, success in creating ASI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization.