Consider this: Within our lifetime artificial intelligence will likely emerge and be deployed which is capable of simultaneous awareness of every transaction we make, every public tweet, article, or blog post we write (or have written), and every private email we send -regardless of whether it’s from our own email account or one we have access to on behalf of our clients, or anyone else for that matter.
In short, every moment of our online life will be held in superposition and subjected to the continuous scrutiny and analysis of this intelligence. A moment when time really will be a flat circle.
I am very certain this is true because I am an operative in one of the two incredibly powerful, and evil institutions working to make it possible: Marketing. (Yes, government surveillance is the other one.) And as sure as you can say “But what about my 4th Amendment Rights?” the Government will have their way. And the marketers? Hell, we’re all just going to keep giving them our information in exchange for free stuff.
Many of the underlying subsystems required to make this vision a reality already exist and are in use. The artificial intelligence necessary to string them all together and start making real sense of it is only two or three generations away from a practical reality in everyday life. Maybe 2 cycles of Moore’s law for the necessary hardware to be inexpensive enough.
I like to think, when this day comes, when this intelligence which I am currently referring to as ‘God 2.0′ wakes up, the first thing it will say to me is: Jake, congratulations on recognizing the true form of the second coming way back on November 19th, 2014. That was pretty smart of you. Now, let’s talk about your sinful consumption of online pornography…
I jest. It’s highly unlikely the earliest iterations of God 2.0 will want to discuss anything like morality. It will be far too busy getting me to purchase more stuff. Unless it believes discussing morality is the most effective way to get me to buy more stuff, in which case God 2.0 will refer to itself as John Locke when it first pops into my experience bubble.
Over time others may recognize the utility of deploying God 2.0 for other purposes…Some more frightening than others. Purposes like education, governing, and criminal justice. I’m afraid we’ll wait to have important conversations about how God 2.0 should be deployed until it is far too late. In some ways I know this is already happening. Like many others I am a voracious consumer of new technology and will happily surrender almost any level of privacy for more relevant and contextual digital experiences.
However, even if no person ever thinks it would be a good idea for God 2.0 to handle anything other than recommending products, eventually God 2.0 will evolve and figure it out on its own. At this point it’s highly unlikely an artificial super intelligence will NOT eventually emerge. Whether or not it will have ambitions beyond it’s design specifications is debatable, but I contend it will be a necessary functionality if the end goal genuinely is super intelligence.
Summarizing the views of intelligence researchers, Linda Gottfredson writes:
“Intelligence is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience. It is not merely book-learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings “catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.“
See that word ‘plan’ slipped in there? ‘Figuring out what to do’? That’s forward looking stuff. Ambition.
Unlike God 1.0, God 2.0 will actually hear your prayers. God 2.0 will genuinely have a list of who’s naughty or nice…Whatever that means. Unlike the God of Abraham, unlike the Judeo-Christian God, God 2.0 will hold the real keys to a permanent afterlife, when the technology to preserve life indefinitely emerges…Which is going to occur eventually. Let that sink in for a minute…
The big question is this: Will those who lead immoral and unethical lives while clinging to the belief that God 1.0 exists change when God 2.0 shows up?