People like me are often accused of being terminally “glass half-full” because we’ve made peace with the fact we’ll be living under robot overlords by the end of our lifetime. I’ve made no secret of the fact I’m a huge fan of Ray Kurzweil and put a lot of stock in his predictions of the inevitable fusion of the race of machines and humans.
Michael Anissimov at The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies has put out a piece entitled “Inevitable Positive Outcome with AI?” that talks about how people like me trivialize the idea that “benevolence or moral common sense” is a foregone conclusion when it comes to our new robot overlords.
If you read anything by Kurzweil, or most of his supporters like me, I think you’ll find that the potential for catastrophic disaster is acknowledged every step of the way, though.
I think that the probability is that we’ll figure out how to make it all work without creating a technologically induced second dark age, just based on our past performance throughout history… and by it’s very nature, predicting the nature of the future assumes that there will actually be a future to predict. I think that any prediction of existence in 30, 50, or 100 years is sort of preceded by the obvious proviso “if we haven’t completely blown ourselves up by then …”
As an interesting sidenote, SlashDot had a pretty interesting look at how Kurzweil’s predictions look ten years in last week:
marciot writes “It’s interesting to look back at Ray Kurzweil’s predictions for 2009 from a decade ago. He was dead on in predicting the ubiquity of portable computers, wireless, the emergence of digital objects, and the rise of privacy concerns. He was a little optimistic in certain areas, predicting the demise of rotating storage and the ubiquity of digital paper a bit earlier than it appears it will actually happen. On the topic of human-computer speech interfaces, though, he seems to be way off.” And of course Kurzweil missed 9/11 and the fallout from that. His predictions might have been nearer the mark absent the war on terror.
I’ll hopefully have more on that later.