I just read an article in Forbes.com by Bernard Marr, dated July 2, 2018, titled “How Artificial Intelligence Could Kill Capitalism”.
There are many topics I could cover today but I had to call this one out.
I think Mr. Marr covered many bullet points of the coming The Fourth Industrial Revolution. He doesn’t call it as such but the meaning is clear.
He leads the article with “if you believe the hype” which is a way of backhanded way brushing it aside.
He labels the nay-sayers claim “at best, it will lead to rising unemployment and civil unrest and at worst, the eradication of humanity.”
“Advocates are telling us to look forward to a future of leisure and creativity as robots take care of the drudgery and routine.”
I am not an expert on these topics but I think the second point refers more to The Singularity rather than just AI.
When computers overtake humans as the workforce of the future around 2040–2050, many predict there will be a panacea for humans to enjoy. I look at Mr.Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director of Engineering in my blog post “Choices or Not? The Singularity, Quantum Computing. Mr. Kurzweil is a great intellect and a great read. His website is kurweilai.net.
Mr. Marr states that the ‘third camp is happy to admit the forces of change which are at work are too complicated to predict. For the moment, everything is up in the air.’
This, to me, is a great cop-out.
If we don’t stand up and holler, no one will ever get the message.
As it is no political force or entity has undertaken the responsibility for starting a large-scale discussion on the opportunities of AI.
I believe the first camp, the naysayers, will then prevail.
Benjamin Franklin’s quote applies here “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
Failing to plan, on the scale of America alone will be disastrous.
Failing to plan on a scale of the ‘free’ world (excluding Russia and China for the sake of this discussion) will be a holocaust.
Since Trump is dismantling the foundations of cooperation and support among ‘free’ nations, the non-American elements will fare better than they would if they were still tied to America’s apron.
They stand a better chance of solving the coming upheaval alone as evidenced by some Scandinavian countries already experimenting with ‘Universal Basic Income’.
Mr. Marr pans basic income because “it’s basic”.
He quotes the author Culum Chace “Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities” ‘if all we can do is give people a basic income, we’ve failed, and society probably isn’t saveable.”
A test has to start at the beginning. The beginning is basic. And that’s where Scandinavian countries are starting. (Finland, where the test group is 2,000 unemployed people, the Netherlands, Kenya, Canada).
Also, two US states are taking part in a non-government-sponsored random study sponsored by Y Combinator. This study of 3,000 people is across two states.
The city of Stockton California is the first government-sponsored trial by giving 100 people, $500 per month.
I agree with Mr. Marr that neither the tech industry nor the government are making an effort to address the revolution which is already underway in our country.
He says a concerted and informed effort from governments is necessary and the tech industry is more focused on profits than any motive for getting the change right.
Mr. Chace argues that people “will see these robots driving around taking people’s jobs, and think ‘it won’t be long until they come for mine’ – and then there will be a panic. And panics lead to nasty populist politicians, of the left or right, being elected.”
This has already happened.
‘The Intolerants’ in my blog post are parading as white supremacists and neo-Nazi sympathizers scaring the bejesus out of people.
Most industries have accepted AI and their workforces are already fearful.
Look at the grocery industry.
People recognize that self-checkout lanes are affecting cashiers and how fewer are being employed.
The trucking industry has many tests running and some companies are already using driverless semi-trucks as a way of mitigating the lack of over-the-road truckers to deliver their goods.
Some companies, Uber, Embark, Otto, and Budweiser have embraced the new tech and are running at full steam ahead.
Mr. Chace states that “people aren’t stupid”.
He is right. People are talking. People are putting the puzzle together.
Many are in denial ‘I won’t go to a grocery store that uses self-checkout lanes’.
Some of these people now say “I won’t use self-checkout lanes because it is taking jobs away from people”.
Some people don’t seem to care as evidenced by the increase in the number of self-checkout proliferating in stores.
People are well down the road that Mr. Marr describes.
In America, the energy that would be spent on this issue is now directed to Mr. Trump and his policies.
But the tech revolution is not waiting for them.
They will turn their heads and get whiplash due to the rapid advance of AI technology in almost every aspect of their lives.
Then the ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Gospel of Luke 13:28) will begin in earnest.
The sad thing is at least one year, if not more, will be have been lost, wasted because no one was paying attention to the advance of the ‘machines’.
It may then be too late.
The naysayers will have won. So many jobs lost. So many companies will have accepted the challenges of AI and bent them to apply to their bottom lines.
The first thousands of jobs are already lost. Many more thousands are on the way, just because people thought other things more important.
Greedy, ‘first to the fire’ people have mimicked and even debauched the real purpose of IoT. They have developed all kinds of shiny, new gadgets to capture wild imaginations.
Instead, they could have understood the real benefit of IoT which is IoTh, the Internetof Thinking.
How do we think differently?
How do we apply all the new data?
How do we enable people to think about ways to improve the world?
Can we overcome the advantage the naysayers have gained by being first in line to apply the new, ‘gee whiz’ gadgets of AI?
Can we change the direction of ‘gee whiz’ into a road that will find sustenance for all people physically and intellectually and spiritually?
Somebody has to be the ‘grownup in the room’ so we can be ready for the real biggie, ‘The Singularity’.
The tech revolution aka The Fourth Industrial Revolution
His best-known concept is Artilect War. “He predicts that a sizable proportion of humanity will not accept being cyborged and will not permit the risk of human extinction at the hands of advanced cyborgs and artilects.”
Professor de Garis is the author of two books “The Artilect War: Cosmists vs Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines” and the other “Multis and Monos: What the Multicultured Can Teach the Monoclultutered Towards the Creation for a Global State.”
The thought just crossed my mind regarding two battles currently being waged in rage by those for populism and nativism vs those that oppose those forces in the US and around the world.
Before going any further we should define the ideas espoused by the proponents of The Singularity.
Vernor Vinge, in a paper for a symposium by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, categorically states that “within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”
This pronouncement is by a retired professor of mathematics and computer science who is also a science fiction writer.
His thinking appears in his paper “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.”
Professor Vinge states the acceleration of technological progress has been a central feature of this century.
He argues that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on earth. This change will be wrought by “entities” with greater human intelligence.
He postulates if we are able to answer the question: if artificial intelligence (AI) can create the human equivalent in a machine in the affirmative “yes, we can” so then there is little doubt that beings more intelligent can be constructed shortly thereafter.”
The Singularity then is the point of no return, technology will overtake humanness.
Another well-known futurist, Ray Kurzweil, is Google’s Director of Engineering.
He claims an 86% accuracy rate relating to his 147 predictions since the 1990s.
He predicts that “2029 is the consistent date I have predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve human levels of intelligence.”
He continues “I have set 2045 for the ‘Singularity’ which is when we will multiply our effective intelligence a billion-fold by merging with the intelligence we have created.”
Mr. Kurzweil is not alone in his prediction. He is joined by Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son who predicts this will happen by 2047.
Kurzweil believes that process has already begun.
On his site: http://www.kurzweilai.net/, he also discusses Universal Basic Income, the end to human disease, the future of human longevity and so on. It is a clearinghouse for other fascinating articles and predictions.
Mr. Kurzweil proposes his ‘Law of Accelerating Returns’. He believes some of the incredibly fast revelations of the power and might of AI such as Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Neural Networks and so on have already crashed into our psyche.
Additional notable references to The Singularity are made by Peter Rejcek in an article “Can Futurists Predict the Year of The Singularity” March 31, 2017, posted at http://www.singularityhub.com.
He notes that many futurists are restless while waiting for The Singularity to occur.
They see it as a positive event to free us mere mortals so we can dedicate ourselves and our intellect to more high brow tasks than merely working, eating, living as humans.
Even Elon Musk, of the Space X rocket and driverless AI-powered semi-trailer trucks fame, has a strong interest in The Singularity.
Mr. Musk has a company, Open AI, that is dedicated to developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) to ensure the development of AGI is beneficial to humanity. AGI is another term for human-level intelligence.
Another futurist is Ben Goertzel, the chief scientist at financial prediction company ‘AidyiaHoldings‘ and robotics company ‘Hanson Robotics’. Hanson is an advisor to Singularity University.
Hanson Robotics has built the most advanced robot to date (March 2017). Her name is Sophia. She is a media darling starring on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her press coverage has the potential to reach over ten billion readers. Breathtaking! She even has her own website.
Dr. Hanson believes that three main characteristics have to be developed in intelligent machines namely creativity, empathy and compassion.
He believes that genius machines can evolve to solve the world’s problems that seem to be insurmountable problems to humans.
So we have divergent views of what ‘The Singularity’ will bring.
Will it be creative and compassionate as Dr. Hanson wishes?
Will it be benevolent per Elon Musk?
Will it have the level of human intelligence of Ray Kurzweil?
Or will it be foreboding as Dr. de Garis envisions?
Just maybe The Singularity will not occur by 2045 as Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft asserts. His article “The Singularity Isn’t Near” appeared in the MIT Technology Review.
One of Mr. Allen’s assertations for predicting that the 2045 expected date will fail is that he believes that there will not be enough computing power by 2045. He also believes that software complex enough to calculate the components of the human brain will not be available by then either. This article was written in 2011 but seems as current today as it was then – until last month.
However, enormous progress has been made in quantum computing. This progress has just exploded in the last month or two.
Albert Einstein had trouble with Quantum Computing. “The Nobel Prize Winning physicist declared that the thinking behind quantum mechanics was fundamentally flawed.
Scientists have since proved the theory repeatedly and conclusively.” Jack Nicas October 16, 2017, How Google’s Quantum Computer Changed the World in the Wall Street Journal.
In his article, Jack Nicas interviewed Hartmut Neven, the German computer scientist that led the Google Glasses project.
Jack tried to use a “Cliff Notes” version of the theory of quantum mechanics and I must confess even the simplified version is way over my head.
I think I need a really ‘dumbed down’ version.
My simple explanation, and it may not be correct since it misses so much ‘meat’ is a single atom can be in two locations at the same time.
This, of course, leads to speculation of objects existing in multiple dimensions, or parallel universes.
It would seem that is a pretty secure way to keep something. If someone tries to look in, boom, it vanishes.
The experiment that demonstrated this successfully was between China and Austria. It has led to the thinking of the ‘quantum internet”.
Just last month Intel joined Google and IBM in the race to build the first practical quantum computer by announcing a new 49 qubit neuromorphic chip designed
for computing research. Intel made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2018.
In an oversimplified explanation of how quantum computers work: regular semiconductors represent information as a series of 1s and 0s. The unit of computing in a quantum computer is a qubit. Qubits can compute as both a 1 and a 0 simultaneously. Two qubits can represent the sequence 1-0, 1-1,0-1,0-0 at the same moment in time. A quantum computer with as little as 50 qubits can pack more computing power than the most powerful supercomputers.
The basis of computing power is found in Moore’s Law. It dictates that computing power per unit would double every 18 months while the price per unit would drop by half.
However, the point has now been reached where the amount of money needed to squeeze out improvements is greater than in the past.
Quantum computing is a way to move past that.
In November 2017 IBM announced it had built a quantum machine that uses 50 qubits. This is a major breakthrough because it represents the critical barrier where quantum computers are believed to accelerate past traditional supercomputers.
A major issue with quantum computing is displayed in the IBM machine.
It can only maintain the quantum computing state for 90 microseconds at a time. These machines must be supercooled to work and a separate set of calculations must be run to correct errors in the original calculations.
Google’s quantum computer is racing to achieve “quantum supremacy” in 2019.
The test needed to pass to achieve this prize is an obscure computational problem that would take a classic computer a billion years to complete.
Success means that this computer will achieve something that even a few years ago would have been thought to be impossible.
This computer will mark the end of the ‘classical age’ of computing.
Hand in hand, the end of the classical age in computing and the beginning of the age of machine intelligence will mark extreme changes.
The next few years will mark advancements in human knowledge that have taken the time since man-made cave paintings to achieve.
When accomplished, the very next few minutes of time will eclipse that sum of knowledge.
Veering off Course
Another Googler, Google co-founder Larry Page has a flying taxi service. It is cleared for takeoff in New Zealand. This all-electric vertical take-off and landing machine has taken flight.
Seemingly a cross between the Delorean of “Back to the Future” meets the hovercraft of “The Jetsons”, Cora is on the move. The comparison is presented in an article by Sherisse Pham of CNN Tech March 13, 2018.
“Cora” the vehicle takes off like a helicopter and transitions to a plane. Cora is self-piloting, can fly at 93 miles per hour and can travel 62 miles.
Fred Reid of the company Kitty Hawk which has its operations in New Zealand boasts of a “pollution-free, emission-free vehicle that flies independently.”
Uber and Airbus are also racing to commercialize flying taxis.
Meanwhile, in China, a company ‘Ehang’ released a video of passengers climbing aboard its autonomous drone and taking off with the push of a button.