AI and the accelerator effect

Advances being made in the development of Artificial Intelligence are already impressive enough when considered linearly. Thus, a few, slow computations become many and faster. For example, a computer is developed that can “think” far ahead of any human chess player, and soon is beating the world champion.  But what happens when an AI evolves beyond the language and context within which a problem is framed, so that what emerges is no longer distinguishable as bigger, faster, more various: rather, it is just alien beyond what makes any sense? It is not inimical to humanity, or indeed to anything: it has simply evolved beyond us.

The current issue of The New Scientist features a reflection on what might be termed accelerated intelligence: two or more factors are in play that cause geometric rather than arithmetic progressions of capability. Entitled “Into the Unknown – Making Discoveries Beyond the Limits of The Human Mind”, it focuses on mathematical thinking that is at once pure and abstract without being particularly complex; and applied maths that are complex without being abstract. It then wonders if the maths that prove to be both may represent uncharted terrain that is beyond human ability.

Another example might be the infinite datasets that evolve when moving beyond real-world situations to the assimilation of data from computer simulations and multiple iterations of virtual reality scenarios. One can imagine how the conclusions reached in consolidating all that data could be beyond our current comprehension. A means of upgrading our brains would need finding to avoid the blowing of our minds.

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