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AI Will Surpass Human Ability Before the Century Is Over
One day this century, a robot of super-human intelligence will offer you the chance to upgrade your mind, says AGI expert Ben Goertzel. Will you take it?
Ben Goertzel: The mathematician I.J. Good back in the mid-1960s introduced what he called the intelligence explosion, which in essence was the same as the concept that Vernor Vinge later introduced and Ray Kurzweil adopted and called the technological singularity. What I.J. Good said was the first intelligent machine will be the last invention that humanity needs to make. Now in the 1960s the difference between neural AI and AGI wasn’t that clear and I.J. Good wasn’t thinking about a system like AlphaGo that could beat Go but couldn’t walk down the street or add five plus five. In the modern vernacular what we can say is the first human level AGI, the first human level artificial general intelligence, will be the last invention that humanity needs to make.
And the reason for that is once you get a human level AGI you can teach this human level AGI math and programming and AI theory and cognitive science and neuroscience. This human level AGI can then reprogram itself and it can modify its own mind and it can make itself into a yet smarter machine. It can make 10,000 copies of itself, some of which are much more intelligent than the original. And once the first human level AGI has created the second one which is smarter than itself, well, that second one will be even better at AI programming and hardware design and cognitive science and so forth and will be able to create the third human level AGI which by now will be well beyond human level.
So it seems that it’s going to be a laborious path to get to the first human level AGI. I don’t think it will take centuries from now but it may be decades rather than years. On the other hand once you get to a human level AGI I think you may see what some futures have called a hard takeoff where you see the intelligence increase literally day by day as the AI system rewrites its own mind. And this – it’s a big frightening but it’s also incredibly exciting. Does that mean humans will not ever make any more inventions? Of course it doesn’t. But what it means is if we do things right we won’t need to. If things come out the way that I hope they will what will happen is we’ll have these superhuman minds and largely they’ll be doing their own things. They will also offer to us the possibility to upload or upgrade ourselves and join them in realms of experience that we cannot now conceive in our current human forms. Or these superhuman AGIs may help humans to maintain a traditional human-like existence.
I mean if you have a million times human IQ and you can reconfigure elementary particles into new forms of matter at will then supplying a few billion humans with food and water and video games, virtual reality headsets and national parks and flying cars and what not – this would be trivial for these superhuman minds. So if they’re well disposed toward us people who chose to remain in human form could have a simply much better quality of life than we have now. You don’t have to work for a living. You can devote your time to social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and creative pursuits rather than laboriously doing things you might rather not do just in order to get food and shelter and an internet connection. So I think there is tremendous positive possibilities here and there’s also a lot of uncertainty and there’s a lot of work to get to the point where intelligence explodes in the sense of a hard takeoff. But I do think it’s reasonably probable we can get there in my lifetime, which is rather exciting.
For all the talk of AI, it always seems that gossip is faster than progress. But it could be that within this century, we will fully realize the visions science fiction has promised us, says Dr. Ben Goertzel – for better or worse. Humanity will always create and invent, but the last invention of necessity will be a human-level Artificial General Intelligence mind, which will be able to create a new AIG with super-human intelligence, and continually create smarter and smarter versions of itself. It will provide all basic human needs – food, shelter, water – and those of us who wish to experience a higher echelon of consciousness and intelligence will be able to upgrade to become super-human. Or, perhaps there will be war – there’s a bit of uncertainty there, admits Goertzel. "There’s a lot of work to get to the point where intelligence explodes… But I do think it’s reasonably probable we can get there in my lifetime, which is rather exciting," he says. Ben Goertzel's most recent book is AGI Revolution: An Inside View of the Rise of Artificial General Intelligence.
Ben Goertzel's most recent book is AGI Revolution: An Inside View of the Rise of Artificial General Intelligence.
If machines develop consciousness, or if we manage to give it to them, the human-robot dynamic will forever be different.
- Does AI—and, more specifically, conscious AI—deserve moral rights? In this thought exploration, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ethics and tech professor Joanna Bryson, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider, physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher Peter Singer, and bioethicist Glenn Cohen all weigh in on the question of AI rights.
- Given the grave tragedy of slavery throughout human history, philosophers and technologists must answer this question ahead of technological development to avoid humanity creating a slave class of conscious beings.
- One potential safeguard against that? Regulation. Once we define the context in which AI requires rights, the simplest solution may be to not build that thing.
Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.
- Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
- The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
- The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.
- 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
- Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
- Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.
The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.
In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.
That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.
70 data points and machine learning
Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash
Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:
"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."
The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.
Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."
Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.
Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.
On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.
Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash
Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."
"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.
The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.