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Superintelligence as the End of History July 4, 2011

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Technocracy, Technology, The Singularity.

Michael Anissimov writes that only violent power matters and argues for self-improving AI as the final weapon. Ey takes pains to dismiss literally everything except the Friendly AI project and presents the advent of superintelligence as rendering further human activity obsolete. Once you let that genie out of the bottle, the past ceases to count for anything. While theoretically plausible, this vision of transcendence rests a whole Jenga stack of assumptions and holds perilous political implications.

Needless to say, AI genies don’t yet exist and may never appear in this reality. If they do, there’s no guarantee of a hard take-off scenario where they leave other intelligences in the dust. Interaction between augmented humans and various potent AIs might well prevent the tidy supremacy Anissimov yearns for. What happened the United States built nukes? That’s right, the USSR and other countries quickly built them too. I’m skeptical that AGI will be so explosive as to grant unassailable dominance to a single actor. Anissimov’s arms-race model suggests the all-to-familiar future of nation-states and corporations vying for position by engineering genies and making selfish wishes. As I’ve written elsewhere, I find Anissimov’s notion of independent scientific collaboration producing the first superintelligence and thus establishing an unassailable new order extremely far-fetched.

To the contrary, I suggest that the most reasonable path to a friendly AI singleton would require popular political struggle. Anissimov’s dream of an impartial machine god emerging from our viciously hierarchical contemporary society strikes me as no more probable than an equivalent entity stumbling across our little planet in its march through the stars. The laws of physics don’t prevent benevolent deities from existing, but that’s minimal comfort and no serious plan for the future.

PariahDrake’s comment resonates:

The solution to all the world’s problems is anarchy, openness, transparency, and the global village.

Open source the world.

The suffering we cause is directly proportional to how long it takes us to achieve this.

Authority has an awfully dubious record of  effecting equality. Anissimov eirself shows an awareness of the patriarchal aspects of fixating on violence and looking to a hypothetical sky daddy to solve our problems:

It might be overly masculine of me, but I see the Singularity as the final chapter in this ongoing and stressful arms race called human history.

It might indeed, Michael. The human experience extends beyond who can kill whom, as important as that factor remains. Those of us who value freedom look with skepticism and fear at the prospect of erecting an invincible [enlightened?] monarch.



1. Hank Pellissier - July 4, 2011

great article, Summerspeaker. I am glad you are resisting that vision of a Singularity and presenting your optional view

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