THE MARCH OF THE MACHINES
Two of the world’s richest men are locked in a bitter feud. Facebook’s boss, Mark Zuckerberg, says Artificial Intelligence [AI] will enrich mankind and usher in a new Golden Age. Elon Musk, PayPal’s founder, believes the new generation of robots will either enslave us or kill us. Most scientists appear to favor Musk’s more pessimistic scenario. Man and Machine, he thinks, could soon find themselves engaged in mortal combat.
Tom Leonard writes in the Daily Mail:
Silicon Valley is quaking. Two of the technology world’s biggest beasts are at war over the future of mankind, disagreeing fundamentally about whether humans will one day be taken over by robots and even exterminated from our planet.
At the centre of their dispute is so-called Artificial Intelligence (AI) — the term which describes the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. These tasks include skills such as visual perception, speech recognition and translation between languages.
Elon Musk [however] and many of the world’s most respected scientists and computer engineers — including brilliant British minds such as Professor Stephen Hawking and Lord Rees, the former president of the Royal Society — believe there may be a terrible price to pay if we let machines think for us.
They fear a digital-led Armageddon in which super-intelligent computers soon out-think humans.
Science fiction could become science fact when machines that have no concept of human values autonomously decide that our presence is a barrier to their own development and that human beings should be got rid of.
On one side of the AI argument is Mark Zuckerberg (left), co-founder and chief executive of Facebook. On the other is Elon Musk (right), inventor of internet pay system PayPal, creator of Tesla electric cars and the pioneer behind an initiative to bring cheap space travel to the masses.
There is now a growing disagreement apparently between these two schools of thought — the “robot optimists” and the “robot pessimists” — about the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The big undecided question is: are intelligent machines going to be good for us in the long run or bad for us, a blessing or a curse?
My own view, for what it is worth, is that AI will be both a blessing and a curse — exactly like the internet. The internet is a blessing for those who use it properly and responsibly, but it is an unmitigated curse for those who misuse it: for example, for the millions of adults, including increasing numbers of women and children now, who spend every free moment watching hard addictive pornography and engaging in compulsive masturbation round the clock. The inventors of the internet can hardly have imagined the Pandora’s Box of evils they were about to unloose.
Mark Zuckerberg is one of the optimists. He sees only the bright side, refusing to admit that anything evil could emerge from the Pandora’s Box of Artificial Intelligence. The world’s fifth richest person, Zuckerberg recently ticked off the “naysayers” for hyping up “doomsday scenarios” about robotics. “I think this is pretty irresponsible,” he said.
Elon Musk, who has lived longer than Zuckerberg and acquired a pessimistic streak, responded lugubriously on Twitter: “I’ve talked to Mark Zuckerberg about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”
Zuckerberg, now aged 33, thirteen years younger than Musk and still bouncing with the joie de vivre of youth, will have none of this gloomy thinking. Having turned Facebook into one of the world’s most powerful media businesses, connecting two billion people, Zuckerberg is nobody’s fool. His faith in Artificial Intelligence is so fervent that he even has a robot butler to look after him and his nuclear family — comprising his wife, Dr Priscilla Chan, and his daughter Max. The robot butler, who is at the family’s beck and call 24/7, is called Jarvis and would certainly give PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves a run for his money. Zuckerberg spent 100 hours building Jarvis last year. He even managed to persuade Hollywood star Morgan Freeman to provide Jarvis’s fruity voice.
Needless to say, Jarvis is brilliant in a way that would have put Jeeves to shame. Jarvis, whom Zuckerberg can order about through text or voice command, is highly proficient in turning on the house lights and dimming bulbs to perfection. He can change music, make toast, recognize callers at the gate and tell them to go away if he doesn’t approve of them. Better still, he can even wake up little Maxie in the morning and deliver a lesson in Mandarin Chinese to the elite little girl as she sips her Brazilian coffee and tucks away her scrambled eggs.. A robot to die for!
Elon Musk comes from another demension. Reportedly worth $16 billion, the 46-year-old South African workaholic is noted for developing PayPal. Every time you use PayPal, you put money into Musk’s pocket. Musk is mad about space travel and would like to be the first man on Mars. He wants to colonize the Red Planet, hoping to build a Utopia in Outer Space. This is because he isn’t too pleased with the way things are going on Planet Earth.
According to the Daily Mail:
Musk is preparing for a future world where, he fears, super-intelligent machines might move to subjugate the human population. His latest venture is Neuralink, a way of merging human brains with computers by implanting tiny electrodes. These would massively increase people’s cognitive power, he believes, and so might at least put humanity more on a par with Artificial Intelligence.
HALF MAN, HALF MACHINE
An IQ of 1000, incidentally, has often been mentioned as achievable for genetically engineered human beings in the near future. These supergeniuses may initially have electrodes implanted in their brains. Or they may be robots who are half man and half machine and possess consciousness — though their consciousness may be dependant on their power supply. Switch them off and they will be “dead”, but no more dead than human beings are dead while unconscious under deep anaesthesia or artificially induced hibernation. Switch them on again and they will “awake” from deep sleep and resume all the normal functions and activities associated with everyday life.
These cyborgs, or fully conscious humanoid robots, will not only be super-intelligent but physically perfect: strong, beautiful to look at, disease free. Most human beings, it is widely believed, will find them sexually irresistible and even fall deeply in love with them, preferring them to other human beings for efficient, hassle-free relationships. This is not controversial but has often been noted in the literature of robotics. If also forms the staple of science fiction in which super-intelligent humanoid robots may wish to keep human beings as pets — or even as sex slaves.
I remember in my childhood reading a gripping Science Fiction yarn, translated from the French, in which a beautiful woman is kept in a golden cage like an exotic bird. She didn’t seem to mind at all, any more than the average budgerigar would. She would spend all day lounging on a sofa, munching bonbons, watching TV, and admiring her flawless features in a jewelled hand mirror. In the evening, her owner would return from work and let her out of her cage for a bit of sportive sex. This is all the pretty airhead lived for, equipped with an exceptionally low IQ and a one-track mind in which sexual intercourse formed her one and only raison d’être.
Brave New World indeed!
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Let’s now consider IQ levels briefly, beginning with the lowest IQs and ending with the highest. I would like to start by considering the IQ levels of various smart animals and offer a tentative answer to the question: “Are there any really clever animals who are smarter than the dumbest human beings?” Well, it’s not very easy calculating the IQ levels of various animals, though I found this article of some interest: Calculating Animal Intelligence. One thing can be said with certainty. If there’s any animal out there with an IQ of 20, that animal should step forward and claim equality with the dumbest human beings. It turns out that your average “Village Idiot” has an IQ of 20 and under.
According to an old British legal statute, an “idiot” is an individual with an IQ of less than 20, an “imbecile” has an IQ of between 20 and 49, and a “moron” an IQ between 50 and 69. (See here).
It would appear that many African nations have IQs in the 60-69 range. So technically speaking they can be classified as “morons”. Whether unpalatable facts like this should be suppressed in the interests of social harmony is an ethical question beyond my competence. So I will leave this to one side and apologize sincerely if the figures below give offense to the politically correct.
The two lowest IQ nations are Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome which have an average IQ of 59. It doesn’t get any lower. Nations with an IQ level of 60-69 are the following: Angola (69), Benin (69), Burkina Faso (65), Central African Republic (68), Congo/Zaire (65), Djibouti (68), Eritrea (68), Ethiopia (63), Gabon (66), Gambia (64), Liberia (64), Mali (68), Nigeria (67), Senegal (64), Sierra Leone (64), Somalia (68), Togo (69), Zimbabwe (66). (See this chart).
Given that millions of so-called “refugees” from the above low-IQ countries are being let into Europe right now in an endless and unstoppable tide, we can expect a drastic fall in the general IQ level of Europeans in the next 50 years or so as miscegenation and dysgenics take hold. See this excellent articles on the perils of multiculturalism and uncontrolled mass immigration: White Genocide by Design: The Role of the Mass Media in the Destruction of the European People.
A handy reference tool to IQ levels:
Less than 20 : Idiots.
20-49 : Imbeciles.
50-69 : Morons (feeble-minded).
70-80 : Subnormally intelligent or “retarded”.
80-90 : Dull-witted or “slow”.
90-100 : Borderline average, not too “bright”.
100-110 : Efficiently average, “bright enough”.
110-120 : Superior intelligence.
120-140 : Highly intelligent.
132 and above : within the top 2% of the population.
140-plus : Near-genius level.
150-plus : Genius.
A handful of supergeniuses have broken through the 200-IQ barrier but none except one has ever pierced beyond 230. Jewish novelist Edith Stern is reputed to have had an IQ of 200+. American mathematician Terence Tau, who is of Chinese origin, has an IQ of 230, one of the highest ever recorded. In comparison, chess master Gary Kasparov had a relatively low IQ of 194. This was considerably higher than Albert Einstein’s IQ score of 160; which is also shared by Stephen Hawking. An 11-year-old Jewish girl, Kashmea Wahi, has recently beaten both Einstein and Hawking and achieved an IQ score of 162. (See her picture). Indian schoolboy Rahul Doshi, age 12, also with an IQ of 162, won the recent ‘Child Genius’ competition on British TV’s Channel 4, galloping home with a score of 100 per cent in earlier rounds. He was not only able to reel off the Latin names of various fruits and vegetables but managed to give the exact order of 52 randomly shuffled playing cards after being handed the pack and asked to memorize the order. No other contestant was able to get beyond the first few cards. Here he is, the boy genius with his proud parents.
“The highest IQ ever recorded,” we are told, “is of William James Sidis (pictured) with an IQ score between 250-300. At the age of 5, he could use a typewriter and had learned to speak Latin, Greek, Russian, French, German and Hebrew. (As an adult, he spoke 40 languages fluently). He was denied admission to Harvard at the age of 6 because he was called too emotionally immature. Later, at age 11, they were forced to admit him, after which he gave his well-received first lecture on 4-dimensional physics.”
It needs to be said here that high IQ levels do not guarantee spectacular achievements in the arts and sciences. Many supergeniuses have lived and died in the shadows without making any notable contribution to society. Most of the big achievers have not had IQs much higher than 160 (Einstein and Steven Hawking). Indeed, the greatest scientific achievement of all time has often been credited to Charles Darwin for his Theory of Evolution; and yet, ironically, Darwin was regarded as little better than a dunce while at school and university. His father thought he was a complete wastrel at one stage, fit only for the idle life of country squire. The great Victorian scientist, Sir Francis Galton, known for his work on eugenics, actually thought Darwin’s brother Erasmus — who achieved nothing — was far cleverer than Darwin. That tells you something.
Stephen Hsu, Vice-President for Research and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University, thinks we’ll soon be able to engineer humans that make Einstein look like Goofus.
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Back to Elon Musk.
Musk is filled with foreboding. He thinks that smart machines will lead inevitably to the enslavement of the human race. If not worse: extinction. Musk doesn’t mince his words. Artificial Intelligence, he says, will be mankind’s “biggest existential threat”. And going ahead with it would be like “summoning the demon”.
Musk’s concern is shared by many other big hitters, including Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom.
In a brilliant, theoretical illustration of the problem, Bostrom [pictured here] has outlined how a super-intelligent machine which has been programmed to make paperclips could keep re-designing itself to become ever more intelligent and ever more efficient in creating paperclips. Before long, it could turn huge areas of the Earth into paperclip factories.
Aware that a human could switch it off, threatening the endless paperclip supply and therefore the reason for its existence, the machine could decide that humans had to be exterminated.
Chillingly, Bostrom goes on to question if human civilisation could survive no matter what goal you gave a super-intelligent machine. His conclusion? We’d need to be very careful what we ask them to do. (See here)
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is in complete agreement with Bostrom and Elon Musk about the need for caution. He went further in his pessimism when he issued a dire warning that Artificial Intelligence “could spell the end of the human race.” Artificial Intelligence, he predicted, would “take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.” He added that human beings “who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Tom Leonard in the Daily Mail concludes on an ominous note:
“Meanwhile, in a riposte to the prophets of doom, Silicon Valley optimists point out that our ancestors made similar apocalyptic predictions when the steam engine was invented.
But there is one crucial difference — AI isn’t just offering to do our physical work for us, it’s also threatening to think for us.
Time will tell whether our great-grandchildren will have a place on this planet or if it will be ruled by robots, humanity going the same way as the dinosaurs.”
WILL ROBOTS DESTROY US?
“Artificial Intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
— Professor Stephen Hawking
Elon Musk has now called for an outright ban on killer robots, leading 116 experts from 26 nations who have just issued a joint statement: “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”