The Singularity: A possible human existential threat
Updated on October 15,2022
What is the singularity?
Is it not the throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps within a twinkle of an eye, an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control? Or should we say it is a point in time when the ‘old’ models must be forced to retire from duty for the new ‘generation’ to take over? Either way, can a machine really outstand the living soul? Will it ever come to a point when one cannot distinguish a ‘machine’ from a human? And would the machine be intelligent enough to recognize this new niche’ it occupies in society and possibly threaten to insubordinate its creators? Read with me, for I liken it to the HIV virus; as it attacks more people, it looms vaster and vaster over our daily affairs till the notion becomes commonplace, yet when it finally ‘happens’ to you, it will still be a great surprise, a greater unknown to be embattled as a fierce nemesis.
The enigma within
Simply put, the technological singularity is just a point in time when it will be very difficult to differentiate a human being from a robot. Forget about the looks; the intelligent agent doesn’t have to be a humanoid. Simply an ugly weldment of parts fused with intelligent hardware and spirited with clean code emulating human action, behaviour and feelings is worth being a singularity subject.
The question that troubles many like me is, will it ever happen? Will this point ever reach? And when it does, will the machines we have created ever threaten and succeed in becoming our superiors? Will they drive our world for us? Many scientists have predicted that this point in time may be from 2030 to 2050, notably 2045. But what do you think? Will we ever be able to decode and recode the matter of things?
Were I a ‘scientist’ enough to hail evolution as the creator of things, which I’m not, or (which is) were I to be created by God, I would look up to Him for His ingenuity. For what is his creation if not a clear witness of clean thought from another dimension? Albeit humans will try dissecting the whole of their own body to understand the state of things, the body is up to the task. Open this door of understanding, and it opens another hole of ignorance. On their own scale, humans are geniuses and patient enough to uncover everything that has never been uncovered before. So the race progresses.
Progress, the mother of inventions
Every new invention is a witness to the possibility of a new creation from its core. This we call usefulness, for if the former is not manifested, then the latter is of no use being ‘mentioned’. A clear formula of our nemesis, failure.
When a new disease, say Ebola, hits patient zero (0), given time, how heavy is the resultant death toll? The probability of you dying of this strange strain is a point nine (0.9). Yet others may still survive in the same locality. When so happens, we say it is natural selection at work; the survival of the fittest (which is a nude truth in this society of rational organisms).
Animals can adapt to problems and make inventions, but often no faster than natural selection can do its work. When faced with a problem, humanity feels a need to overcome it; once it succeeds, it still needs a better-than-before status. This insatiable need we call progress. But with progress comes the creation of new things. For how should we call he, if not a disorganized sluggard that uses the same resource over and over (take beef for food as an example) to satisfy a recurring need of hunger?
IBM’s Blue Gene/P supercomputer
In a need to help those who had lost a limb to a vengeful accident, or those sired without one, came Prosthetics. In a need to understand the human genes, in 2003, the Human Genome Project was completed, determining the whole sequence of the base pairs that make up our human DNA. They also identified and mapped all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and a functional standpoint. Then there is this synthetic biology. This is real progress. But done by the humans for a whole decade and a third (13 years). But what happens when this progress is driven by a greater-than-human intelligence? An iPhone 6 computes 25 billion instructions per second, the IBM’s Blue Gene/P supercomputer executes so many instruction per second that their speed aren’t measured in instructions per second. Yet the human brain computes 0.5 (Delta) to 25 (Beta) cycles per second. Who will fathom this kind of progress? Within a second there is a new thought generated, a new possibility of an invention that must change your view of the world. That change is extra-exponential for the brain to contain, and so we might simply stare in awe for every creation in every second of every minute of every hour of everyday. Unless we decide to live an extra-ignorance life. Count me out.
Code: the spirit of the machine, is it formidable?
As the union of nails and pieces of board creates a box as we know it, a marriage of two creates a third element. And now coexists these three as one. The union of body and spirit (breath of life) creates the soul (the living being, Adam). Were you to pluck out one from the other, nails out of the boards, spirit out of the body, the entity (box or soul) ceases to exist. Of what use is a mechanism without the driving power? The drive of any computer-like object is what gives usefulness to its logic. The computer hardware is but a bed of unused logic, and were I to bring life to its logic, through code, it would outthink you in a calculus problem within a twinkle of your own eye.
Code is our only chance of redemption
An instruction brings to life a purpose of being. Write that instruction to a computer hardware, and there goes the birth of a computer code. Crafting the logic behind the box of logic and emotions, human as we know it, into some piece of code and instructing a computer hardware to execute it, creates an intelligent agent a soon to be Artificial Intelligent Machine. Cast the machine into a humanoid shape and you have a humanoid robot. Take Sophia and Han (sen) as examples.
Computer code in whatever language it is written maybe our own very chance to save ourselves. Albeit hosted by the AI machine, it is from the higher power, humans. We, humans, write the code ourselves. How foolish would it be for us to be that intelligent to emulate ourselves fully into the machine? How foolish would it be for us to code backdoors into the same machines and code the machines intelligent enough to detect and bring to a shutdown, the backdoors? Our existing computer languages thread-based or event based have so far proven to be capable of handling the unknown and unheard of. Internetworking these powerful dummy machines spirited by our formidable codes have created the ultimate sea of resources or Internet. And now the Internet is in charge; if not then very soon. Read more about the cool OpenAI project funded by the likes of the fearful Elon Musk.
How will we cope with it?
How a child comes to know a mug as ‘the blue mug’
When you stare at something long enough does it stare back? Or does it peer into you? Do you master it? Yea, it becomes a commoner. But how is this possible? This commoved me once. The enigmatic human brain holds a database for everything the eye sees. A learning mind is a thrilling subject of study. When a child first sets her ever-foolish eyes at mug, she discerns nothing. She come close to no understanding of what it is. What a glamorous moment to study the child at this point in time. Even though the day ends with no knowledge to the child, the brain faults not. It stores the image of the mug in its database.
She still can’t know what this mysterious object is for the brain has not associated any relevant word with it. FYI, words bring meaning to an object uncalled before; not as good as action though. Later on she will come to associate the word ‘mug’ to the previous object of mystery. When she saw the mother handle the mug by pouring porridge into it and then feeding it to her, her brain also registered it. Later on in early school she came to learn of the word mug and of what relevance it is to her life; she also registered the look of colors to her young brain. Right now, when she sets her still-foolish eyes to a mug, her brain queries its own database of any existing record of the new object she has seen. Albeit the exact object exists not, the brains ‘says’, “FROM the SHAPES table EXISTS THATSHAPE AND FROM the COLORS table EXISTS THATCOLOR WHICH receptors CONES and RHODES registered as blue. Therefore IT IS a BLUE MUG”.
Your only resolve
To compete with your faster ‘brother’ whom you created out of curiosity, you must first be able to do better than what it is capable of doing good. That you might stand tall over it. For it has no breath of life, which unique to you. You must be able to compute instructions as first as it is able to. The only way is to chip your brain up with extra processing power, then connect that chipped brain of yours to an inexhaustible source of resource the, Mother Internet. Then offend it to see who is able to do better than the other in a simply logical thinking. Clearly disastrous, don’t you think? The chip, they say, is an object of ultimate control, or so reality has proven. Have a nice read.