The father of artificial intelligence has sounded the alarm, and the clock is ticking down to the singularity. For those who haven’t been following the advancements in AI, maybe now’s the time, because we are approaching the point of no return.
Singularity is the point in time when humans can create an artificial intelligence machine that is smarter. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief of engineering, says that the singularity will happen in 2045. Louis Rosenberg claims that we are actually closer than that and that the day will be arriving sometime in 2030. MIT’s Patrick Winston would have you believe that it will likely be a little closer to Kurzweil’s prediction, though he puts the date at 2040, specifically.
Jürgen Schmidhuber, who is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at AI company NNAISENSE, the Director of the Swiss AI lab IDSIA, and heralded by some as the “father of artificial intelligence” is confident that the singularity “is just 30 years away. If the trend doesn’t break, and there will be rather cheap computational devices that have as many connections as your brain but are much faster,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind that AIs are going to become super smart,” Schmidhuber says.
When biological life emerged from chemical evolution, 3.5 billion years ago, a random combination of simple, lifeless elements kickstarted the explosion of species populating the planet today. Something of comparable magnitude may be about to happen. “Now the universe is making a similar step forward from lower complexity to higher complexity,” Schmidhuber beams. “And it’s going to be awesome.” But will it really be awesome when human beings are made obsolete by their very creations?
Artifical intelligence has already had an impact on humanity. A recent warning from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) declared that thousands of jobs are being lost to robots and those with those on lowest wages are likely to be hardest hit. As it becomes more expensive to hire people for work because of government intervention like minimum wage hikes and overbearing regulations, more companies are shifting to robotics to save money on labor.
Kurzweil has said that the work happening right now “will change the nature of humanity itself.” He said robots “will reach human intelligence by 2029 and life as we know it will end in 2045.” There is a risk that technology will overtake humanity and make human society irrelevant at best and extinct at worst.