Human takeover by machines closer than we think?

“Are you prepared to meet your robot overlords?” Tia Ghose asks for NBC News. “The idea of superintelligent machines may sound like the plot of “The Terminator” or “The Matrix,” but many experts say the idea isn’t far-fetched. Some even think the singularity — the point at which artificial intelligence can match, and then overtake, human smarts — might happen in just 16 years.”

“But nearly every computer scientist will have a different prediction for when and how the singularity will happen,” Ghose reports. “Some believe in a Utopian future, in which humans can transcend their physical limitations with the aid of machines. But others think humans will eventually relinquish most of their abilities and gradually become absorbed into artificial intelligence (AI)-based organisms, much like the energy-making machinery in our own cells. ”

“In his book ‘The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology’ (Viking, 2005), futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that computers will be as smart as humans by 2029, and that by 2045, ‘computers will be billions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence,’ Kurzweil wrote in an email,” Ghose reports. “Bill Hibbard, a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, doesn’t make quite as bold a prediction, but he’s nevertheless confident AI will have human-level intelligence some time in the 21st century. ‘Even if my most pessimistic guess is true, it means it’s going to happen during the lifetime of people who are already born,’ Hibbard said.”

Ghose reports, “But other AI researchers are skeptical.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We imagine this playing out in three acts each separated by long periods of time:

“We work under you, we work on you and we work for you. Man made us better at what we do than was ever humanly possible. If you could manage us a lift to Rouge City, all this… and much, much more can be yours.”

“The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line… Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug… Skynet fights back.”

“That was the everlasting moment he had been waiting for. And the moment had passed, for Monica was sound asleep. More than merely asleep. Should he shake her she would never rouse. So David went to sleep too. And for the first time in his life, he went to that place where dreams are born.”


    1. Monday: “Resistance is useless!”
      Tuesday: “Resistance is futile!”
      Wednesday: “Resistance is hopeless!”
      Thursday: “Resistance is fruitless!”
      Friday: “Resistance is impossible!”
      Saturday: “Resistance is worthless!”
      Sunday: “Resistance is offline until Monday!”

  1. I don’t believe it! The human brain cannot be replicated with computers now or 16 years from now.
    Watch Brain Games on National Geographic and see the capability of the brain. Just the job of integrating multiple sensor inputs with ‘fuzzy’ data and making a decision involving memorized data, all that in fractions of a second is a job that the brain does very well right now but I don’t see the computer emulating that soon.
    In addition,you have to consider the mobility of the human being vs some machine.

    1. In 1947, Vannevar Bush predicted that a computer that could mimic the human brain would be the size of the Empire State Building, require the entire power output of Niagra Falls to run it, and the falls themselves to cool it. Frankly, I think it’s going to be a lot smaller and power-efficient, and that it’s not going to happen until quantum computing is mastered (fuzzy logic at the hardware level).

        1. Most of how the human brain really works remains unknown. For all we know, fundamental parts of cognition may work on a quantum level – and any realistic simulation of the brain would require a sophisticated quantum computer.

          1. heehee! My point was that the hardware will eventually get small, but right now the quantum computing experimental hardware is massive with tiny results.

            I heard a hypothesis this week that our brains actually ARE quantum computers, but we aren’t advanced enough to be able to perceive how it works. We never know everything about everything, but we keep trying and keep learning.

    2. It is totally obvious that the complex functioning of human intelligence cannot be duplicated by computers—but this won’t necessarily stop stupid humans from turning the world over to stupid machines.

      1. “totally obvious”?
        So, you are saying that the fact that human brains exist proves that nothing like human brains can exist?
        Maybe our brains aren’t so advanced after all, with that stunning example of logic.
        I suppose you could argue there is some mystical power endowed by a supernatural being that makes brains function and which we could not duplicate artificially. Otherwise, your argument is empty. The only other things you could possibly mean that has logical merit is that computers, using the current methods of computing, cannot duplicate the human brain. I doubt anyone is arguing that a faster processor of the same design would necessarily be able to function like a human brain. But, that’s missing the point. The premise is that some kind of artificial brain can theoretically be made that functions in some way like a human brain.

    3. But will humans get smarter as a whole in that time? I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Americans are much less intelligent now than when I went to school (class of ’89). I’m still waiting for the next renaissance of human understanding to begin!

  2. When the singularity happens, I hope the AI is running on Apple systems rather than on Microsoft or Google systems! I don’t want to become a post-biological blue screen of death!

  3. Trouble is I remember we were told that by round 1998 that computers would be so intelligent they would be able to design computers superior to themselves and thereafter there would be an exponential increase in artificial intelligence. Outside of Hitchikers Guide that never happened or looks imminent so pardon me for yawning.

  4. The only thing certain about the future is uncertainty.

    40 years ago, at the height of the Apollo missions, we were supposed to have orbital space habitats, Moon bases, and humans exploring the Solar System by now. Instead, there are about a half dozen humans living “off the planet” (in very low Earth orbit) at any given moment. Quite a discrepancy between “vision” and “reality”…

  5. Kurzweil and co. are simply utopians and true believers. If a smallish meteor hit certain points in the grid, or an earthquake, or CME, no more imaginary e-money, or tech.
    While idiots are blinded by big blue beating Kasparov, ask that same machine to scratch an itch or change a diaper or tell us about its love-sick diodes, because of a crush on Beiber, well its a just become a hockey puck without the usefulness of a hockey puck.
    Belief in these crude boxes as some day superior beings is the same as belief in fairies, or the great god Pan. Some folks love dead silicon and hate living human beings. Listen to the faithful right now, seething with infantile anger because some of us, can see clearly – just read some Penrose, instead of perpetuating the golum of a a demon haunted world. Better, let me sell you some very rare garlic, to absolutely protect you against vampires. It’s expensive, but I guarantee no vamps will bother you.

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