Singularities have been explored in science fiction; authors such as William Gibson and Phillip K. Dick have speculated what life could be like in a world beyond them, and video games such as Cyberpunk 2077 have invited us to experience them firsthand.
Singularities may have once been a philosophical flight of fancy, but today they are an important topic for consideration by scientists, politicians, and other thought leaders.
In this episode of More Intelligent Tomorrow, artificial intelligence expert Daniel Hulme discusses singularities and their importance with host Ben Taylor.
I think we all have an innate desire to try to make the world better for the next generation.”
Hulme starts the episode sharing the realization that he may only have another 500 months to live. That is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things. It caused him to wonder what a person should do with the time they have left. He believes the meaning of life is to maximize good. Therefore, an ideal way to spend the time we each have left is to work towards an economic singularity, where humanity is free from the burden of having to meet our basic needs. This freedom would enable us to make the world a better place and enrich all of humanity.
But an important key to reaching such a singularity may lie in achieving yet another singularity; one based on artificial intelligence. Such a singularity would bring innovative ideas and new ways of thinking that we have never considered before or even thought possible.
Together, Hulme and Taylor speculate on what might come out of an AI singularity. What would happen if we created an AI that was able to iterate on itself? Could it solve humanity’s greatest puzzles or make Nobel Prize winning discoveries in a matter of moments? Or would it decide humanity’s existence stands in the way of the universe reaching a state of maximized good?
Once you birth a silicon god, it will be difficult to really understand how it operates.”
Both agree however, that the risks of creating a digital consciousness are outweighed by the possibility of an AI being able to solve our long-standing problems as a species. Fields like medicine, mathematics, and farming could all benefit from an AI singularity and help to bring about an economic singularity.
Taylor asks Hulme about the questions of ethics surrounding a sentient AI. How do we define what is right and wrong or good and evil and would an AI have the same views? Hulme shares his self-described controversial views on AI ethics, which leads to talking about how AI is used to track our digital existence and what that means for our privacy.
He proposes the idea of an open-source social network aimed at improving humanity as an alternative to the way social media users are currently bought and sold as products to advertisers. A decentralized social network would allow people to connect for humanity’s betterment instead of maximizing profits for shareholders.
They move on to discuss the topic of metaverses and the diverse ways we already interact with each other in virtual spaces. They consider the idea of using AI to create a digital amalgam of yourself so advanced it could act on your behalf, freeing you up for other pursuits.
Finally, they wrap up the episode by talking about the ways AI can be employed to personalize your educational experience. Imagine being taught lessons with methods that were individually tailored to your interests and presented in ways optimal to your modes of learning.
Prepare for a fascinating discussion of singularities which include:
- What is a singularity and how many of them are there?
- The ramifications from achieving singularities.
- Will an AI singularity be a glorious event or humanity’s biggest existential threat?
- Metaverses and how we might interact within them in the future.
- The ethics of creating an AI singularity.
- What it means to be human and how singularities might change this definition.
- Using social media to improve humanity’s experience.
- How AI can customize our educational experience.