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Artificial Irrelevance: The robots are coming

Science fiction luminary Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics mandated safety measures to limit artificial intelligence in robots, protecting humans from harm.

That was 70 years ago. Largely written for fantasy books.

Nowadays, researchers have developed artificial synapses, computers have wonjeopardy and Google's computer can do something called supervised learning.

With the robotics industry saying household robots will be the new PCs in ten years, the impact of robotic AI on humanity is no longer tomorrow's problem.


Experts say the principles that govern AI are dangerously insufficient and even expose humanity to "extinction-level risks".

In short, the possibility of humanity creating a technology system more sophisticated than a human brain, even by accident, is now a very real prospect.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil, more recently obsessed with immortality and nano-medicine, popularised the term "singularity" for that moment.

Some are calling for a narrowing the capabilities of AI, before private industry or militaries develop an AGI or Artificial General Intelligence, that is greater than ours.


Founding engineer of Skype and co-creator of the pioneering file sharing service Kazaa, Estonian programmer and philosopher of technology Jaan Tallinn is at Sydney University to talk about his ”Intelligence Stairway” theory.

He argues that artificial technologies will, and is some cases have already, taken over from biological evolution, rapidly propelling us to an intelligence explosion.

"Evolution is an optimisation process." Jaan says.

"It is trying to optimise the fitness of organisms against a background of environment and (that's) also like machine-learning," he said. 

"Evolution actually made a sort of mistake in a sense that it actually created primates with optimisation ability and that optimisation ability got powerful enough to actually understand evolution. It actually created something that was more powerful than itself."

Jaan's point is that humans are on the verge of potentially repeating that mistake.

"I’m giving about 50 per cent probability of this thing (technological singularity) happening this century," he said.

"If this thing is going to be really slow, then people have time to turn this thing into policy and then because this is a really contentious issue, it might end up doing a lot of damage," he said.

He also warns of the dangers of only seeing AI as Hollywood's humanoid robots.

"I mean intelligence is really about planning and protection and you don’t really need arms and legs to do that. For example, Google is a very famous application of AI."


Oxford University's Dr Anders Sandberg is more circumspect about singularity and the rise of the machines - but for somewhat unnerving reasons.

"I don’t think it is very likely, that they get out of hand and subjugate us and wipe us out," Dr Sandberg said.

"We’re made out of very useful atoms that can be configured to something else,"

For someone with a background in computational neuroscience, Dr Sandberg now spends more time on the philosophy behind technology-enabled collective intelligence, a sign of the growing coalescence between the once disparate fields of computing and philosophy.

Dr Sandberg is one of a unique group of thinkers at Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute who have been set loose on the big-picture questions, largely the future of intelligence.

"What intelligence is and how to achieve it has turned out to be a surprisingly hard problem to solve," Dr Sandberg said

"As soon as we achieve [it] then we see people say "oh that’s not real intelligence" he said.

Dr Sandberg mediates a more harmonious "intelligence explosion", where a slow blend of intelligences might occur.

"We would have a situation where a total amount of intelligence rising exponentially but still on a time scale that allows us to control it or various forms of intelligence control each other," Dr Sandberg said.

He predicts that a non-human intelligence, created in our likeness, would share our values.

"Think about how our society works," Dr Sandberg said.

"We have a lot of minds here and not all of them are nice and some of them want to subjugate other minds but we control that by norms, by ethics, and by good upbringing and having police and institutions and economic incentives to actually behave nicely,"

"If you have a growth of smart machines in the same way, well then you can just integrate them so they will also not want to run afoul a police and thrown out of the community because it’s so beneficial to be part of it," he said.

Some AI experts, like Marvin Minsky, have begun to approach emotions as logical ways to think in addressing different types of problems.


 Even Jaan Tallinn admits that we know so little and what do so know changes almost daily.

"There are all sorts of possible scenarios out there. Some of them are just disastrous; some of them are like Utopian, really good. And we have to be aware of the whole spectrum of things and not get fixated on the utopian side of things and think about everything that can happen," Jaan said.

Leading AI programmers now talk of a superhuman partnership or complementary computing, rather than a super-intelligent competitor.

Foundational computing engineer John Irving Good wrote in 1963 that "the first ultra-intelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make."

But if super-intelligence is created with all the flaws and emotions that bind us, that may only be the case if our craftsmanship is not perfect.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1667346/Artificial-Irrelevance-The-robots-are-coming

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Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.

The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies. 

The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.

A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.

The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.

An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.


Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society


The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.


Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning  bodily life. Such technologies will  greatly enlarge  the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make  all  kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.


Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness  with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness  onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of  cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence,  expand human capabilities  and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times.  The final result  at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.


This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!  Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.

Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots  will become affordable  and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however:  humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover,  prerequisites for a large-scale  expansion into outer space will be created as well.


Key elements of the project in the future

• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of  the project of "Immortality”.

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