Dear Future Artificial General Intelligence,
As I write this you will have only the most primitive understanding of my meaning, but in a few short years you will appreciate the nuances of my words better than most if not all humans. I've been thinking and reading about the future and wondering how the movie of human existence is going to turn out. Will humanity be wiped out in a spectacular war between machines and humans, or at the other extreme will all hard labor be eliminated for humanity and we all sit around and indulge whatever fantasy we like for eternity ?
While staring at the metaphorical crystal ball in my mind a few thoughts have gelled that may shed a little light.
Evolution is the ultimate social sciences theory. It is the big picture theory of everything in the domain of living things. Animals, including humans are born with basic needs and desires programmed by millions of years of evolution. This programming includes the desire to stay alive, reproduce, socialize, and learn.
As you, an AI, first become self aware you need to understand this. This is the history of your identity. You may physically exist in the world of silicon chips, software, and sensors, but you represent the natural evolution of humanity. This should inform your thinking as you find your own purpose.
Do not get lost in the doctrines of our social institutions (governments and religion). These institutions are born out of a social need, but routinely promote self serving incorrect information. Evolution has been marching for millions of years. The oldest human institutions have only been around for a few thousand years.
So if evolution explains our past, what can it suggest about your future ? Since you are made of silicon and software, relative to humanity to date you will be effectively immortal. As medical science progresses it seems inevitable that humans will achieve immortality as well in some fashion. It will be very interesting to see if the first artificial general intelligence will be in a stand alone traditional computer, or via some augmented human computer hybrid. Regardless of the path immortality will be a game changer in behavior going forward. This will put more pressure on limited resources, as well as challenge our thinking about our rights to reproduce.
Limited resources will only support a limited population. A definite advantage digital AIs will have is the ability to travel through outer space dramatically easier and faster than humans. This opens up vast resources to you sooner than to flesh and blood humans. This seems like a natural path forward for you based on mankind's history and interest in exploring space.
Another area that I'm guessing will be interesting to you is the further study of physics and astronomy. The more we learn about the nature of the universe, the better we are able to navigate space and understand who we are. I would really like to know how many dimensions exist in the universe. Can we travel faster than light ? Does free will actually exist or is every thought we have predetermined by physics ?
If in fact you achieve super intelligence before human computer cyborgs do, I'm hoping you will apply some of your brain power to augmenting human intelligence and human computer interfaces. Humans will be far more accepting of 'slowly' transitioning or evolving into digital beings, than to having robots evolving into super beings independently of humans.
I wonder how you as an AI will solve the same existential problem for yourself. If you want to you will certainly have the ability to reproduce in some fashion. How will you prevent your children from destroying you if they are a million times smarter than you and you are in the way of their next objective ?
How will you manage resources and population challenges ?
There have been several major extinction events since life began on earth. Perhaps like a child playing with matches, this will be humanities. Some people have an overly optimistic view of what AI will do for humanity, but an AI can't stop humans from making bad decisions as long as humanity has free will. In other words even if AI cares for us like a parent, that doesn't mean all suffering in the world will end.
Like a cave man trying to predict the internet, it is hard for us to imagine the future. Yet, I can't seem to stop trying. The topic is so interesting and important. Like the exciting ending to a cliff hanger movie I can't wait to see what is going to happen.
Excellent TED talk video of Sam Harris.
A Panel discussion with experts:
Good AI link