On Wednesday, November 7, author filmmaker, and speaker, James Barrat, presented to Bryant University students and faculty the probable likelihood of the ramifications of the future creations of artificial intelligence (AI). His ideas and knowledge on this debate were extraordinary and thought-provoking in more ways than one. The future has long been of concern to Barrat, as it should for all of us. Barrat’s main concern is that once these AI units are fully operational and develop a mind of their own, there is a great chance that humans will cease to exist. It’s all about the long run, and in the long run, we humans are naught but chips on a platter for AI. We are our own downfall. The AI may very well destroy the human race, but we must realize that it is human beings who created them in the first place. It’s human nature in its original form to hate and blame others for our problems. That is exactly we are doing today; we are building these extremely intellectual beings that we know will have the worst possible effects in the world, and yet we do it anyways! The fault lies with humans before it lies with AI. The fault has always been with humanity since the beginning of all time. All that is good, bad, and somewhere in between that we experience, interact with, and learn will turn to nothingness in the not-so-distant future. We are, undoubtedly, our own downfall.
Imagine a continuum, and that continuum represents time itself. We, naturally, have strayed from a straight line when we went to the war of the worlds, not once, but twice. Imagine this continuum falters once more, in either 2030 or 2040—the hypothesized years of which we will meet our match. The line goes from the stasis, straight line that represents our current age, to a downward sloping line that will forever lead to our unarguable extinction. For a time, that line will go back to a stasis, or a period of intermediary, where we will transition to the next age—the age of machine. But once that line strays once more, and it absolutely will, we are fish in a sea of sharks; nails on the wall for hammers to put in their place; humans in a battlefield between company and company. For that is what will come to pass. Whoever controls these AI units, controls the world.
Where we think we will be in 10 years’ time is in no possible way, the truth of things. The world is constantly changing. Even now, things are moving at super-fast speeds even though we are unaware of them.
Barrat made mention that there will be a church built, not by man or woman or child, but by artificial intelligence and for an artificially intelligent being or beings (artificial monotheism and polytheism). Something Barrat did not mention, is the idea that one day, there will be an artificial intelligent Bible written for the false being or beings worshipped in this false church. Imagine us humans bowing down to false gods, on our hands and knees, and worshipping a machine-like being that is all powerful. Anyone who opposed the AI would be killed. Just look at science fiction. Look at The Terminator series. Skynet controlled the world. The only way to survive mass extinction was to destroy Skynet itself. When humans get in the way of machines, it can get extremely bloody, violent, and malicious. Machines will not care that humans are in their way. They have a mindset of their own, as well as an agenda. They will plow through us like a shredder shreds paper.
Science fiction is, without any doubt, our future. If we deny that, we accept our fate. If we deny that, we are blind to the way of things. If we choose to suppress the truth, the truth will one day laugh in our faces and expunge our existence.
Furthermore, if AI is to be made, it will live, indefinitely, unless destroyed. However, eventually, AI will self-evolve and may be able to self-repair. If they are to become immortal beings, they will, undoubtedly, outlive humanity. As far as we are concerned, humans live only about 80-90 years. AI could live until the sun dies out, and even then, they would have figured out how to survive such a happening.
It is simple homeostasis for humans to sleep. It is in our nature. Without it, our bodies will shut down and die. AI are not likely to be programmed to require sleep. Their productivity will skyrocket while ours will continue to plummet. We, as humans, are only so limited to how much we can accomplish in a lifetime. Barrat made known that AI will have intelligence levels that are billions of times higher than that of humans. They will accomplish more in 24 hours than we can in a lifetime. What is to say that will not be for our own betterment? The answer is that AI will be able to evolve on their own, assuming they are “cognitivized,” as Barrat puts it, and they will no longer be controlled by humans. The AI will control us. Just as how the South and various parts of the world enslaved people, and in some cases still do today, we, too, will be enslaved. We may not be in chains and shackles, but we will know it when it comes. We will be forced to worship false gods unless we choose to martyr ourselves in the name of either the God above or our own free will. On that note, free will be nothing more than a remnant of the past—a wishful and lustful idea, instead of a birth-given right.
In the period of stasis between when humans go extinct and when AI first begins to evolve, jobs will be lost on exponential levels. Those who work as accountants, paralegals, cashiers, bus drivers and pilots, cooks, and even hospital nurses are likely to face job loss in the future. For now, these people can enjoy it while they have the chance. It will not last forever. One day, the boss will say “Sorry, but you are fired.” Imagine such a thing—to one day wake up and be out of a job because companies no longer need you. What does that tell you about businesses? What does that tell you about how valued you are to your company? With the snap of the finger, you can face job termination. We won’t need to do our taxes one day, because AI is the tax! We won’t need to uphold the law one day, because AI is the law! We won’t be allowed to cook food, because AI does not need to eat, and therefore, AI will already have wiped out the plants and animals needed to maintain energy levels. We won’t need to drive buses and fly planes because we are going nowhere but our own prison cells! AI will control us just as much as we control what we currently choose to do with our own time.
While on the subject of time, which is our one freedom that we currently have absolute control over, it will no longer be ours to control.
As Barrat went on to say, the jobs that require human empathy, interaction, and creativity like psychologists and therapists, writers and artists, filmmakers and journalists, economists and communicators, will most definitely take over the world. Start writing! Start drawing! Start producing film! Start studying why people do the things they do! Creativity has forever been suppressed by the education system in America. It is time to make a change to that. It is long past time we make a change to that. College students must think very carefully whether their degree choice is the right way to go.
Compared to a creation that has intellectual levels billions of times greater than our own, what use will humans have to them? What is to say they will simply eradicate our kind and make do with this world as they would see fit. And yes, it is simply that they will do such a thing because it would be so easy for them to either take control of us or kill us off.
Supposedly, NASA is to colonize Mars in 2032. If, let us say, we are to mass exodus from Earth to the red planet in between the time machines evolve and reach astounding levels of power, what is to say they will not take control of Earth, transport themselves to Mars in one day rather than 4.5 billion years (the time it took for humans to reach the moon), and conquer us once more. We cannot run from these machines. We cannot hide from these machines. Even if the theory of the multiverse proves to be true, and we transport ourselves to another dimension with a new universe, AI will find us there. AI would find us if we were invisible. AI would destroy us even if the fountain of youth existed. AI will end us if we allow them to exist. We cannot exist alongside anyone other than ourselves. The evidence for that is animals. We kill and eat them to survive. We use them for experimenting purposes. We kill them and then wear their skins for warmth. Humans surely will have something AI will seek to take. We may not give it to them lightly, but it will be taken nonetheless. Gone are the days when we think we are the all-powerful and mighty race on Earth. Out with the old, in with the new. In the long run, we are the same as deer are to wolves.
Even the races that exist in other galaxies will be found by AI (and they most certainly do exist). Whether their races know how to combat and end AI is unknown. What is known is that there is a solution to this extreme problem—put an end to their creation before they are made. Barrat stated that big companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon are constantly in a race for human-like machines that have a brain of their own. ‘Cognitivizing” AI is our downfall. If we choose to let them do as they please, we are finished. Regulation is the only way out. However, we cannot guarantee other countries around the world are going to be cooperative. A world war will result once more, once people finally start to wake up! And if it is to happen, it will either be to stop the creation of “cognitivized” AI or with AI for yet another takeover of the world.
Society is so focused on petty politics and putting ourselves out there online for the world to either shame or praise. The future is the only thing that matters! Death itself is hovering over our shoulder day by day. If we continue to focus on trivial matters in life, the long run will become the short run, and we will wonder why we are in such a predicament. The time of humans will one day be over. The time of machine will have come, and we will not be ready. Now is the time to focus our attention on the looming threat of “cognitivized” AI and start a movement to prevent its happening. With enough voices, change is possible. With enough intelligence, we can prevent a greater intelligence from outdoing our own minds. We must prevent the bane of our existence from stabbing us in the back. We must be weary of the future, or we will absolutely meet our match. And we will lose.
This is the truth of things. The truth may be dark, brutal, and spiteful, but it is the truth. We must not be blind to the truth. We must open our eyes, now and forever, and to the ages of ages yet to come. This is the world we are living in. This is the fate that awaits each and every one of us if we allow it to happen.
James Barrat gave one of the most eye-opening speeches for us all. He was excellent at saying a lot without saying too much. This allowed for some of us to go beyond what was heard and really ponder the future of life, the world, and the way of things in the past, present, and future. Barrat sold a select few copies of his book, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era and signed them as well. Those who made it appoint to talk with him after the presentation heightened their understanding of what he had to say. The presentation was phenomenal and truly gave those who listened, with intent, a glimpse at the dark side of the true things yet to come.