Slow Democracy

In the current wave of populism, and revamped risk of totalitarianism, I came to wonder how can democracy survive. What I was after was a realistic path to success that would overcome the inherent slowness to reaction, to adoption of new technologies, the inertia to change.

Framing the question in those terms, made it crystal clear that populism -and even more so totalitarianism- are simply more agile in times of change. 

When this realization came to mind, considering the supertechnologies about to rise -like Robotics and A.I.– and the risks these technologies bring together with them if not handled promptly, for the first time I came to wonder: is saving democracy the way to go at this point in history?

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Multisingularity

We describe as singularity the moment when A.I. will outperform human intelligence. The concept is of strong significance because if human intelligence is capable of creating A.I., anything that outperforms human intelligence should by definition be able to improve A.I., and this would cause an iterative chain effect that will bring A.I. to a demigod-like status in a relatively short time.

There is one catch tho: to define outperformance, or improvement over something, we should be capable of measuring and comparing it first. I am not really wondering if we are, I am arguing -instead- that it is completely impossible.

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End of an era

Do you remember capitalism? Marx, the law of supply and demand, the requirement for scarcity, a workforce…

I don’t want to make this a technical talk on economics, and I probably don’t have the means, however it seems obvious that when industry builds new machines aimed to goods production, the reason is lowering the cost of production and raising the profit in one of two ways:

  • keeping the price unchanged, and therefore increasing the margin;
  • gaining a competitive advantage by lowering the price, and therefore selling more units

What happens, tho, if robots become capable of doing any physical labour? And no, I am not talking about science fiction…

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A.S. – Artificial Stupidity

We spent decades considering the possibility that artificial intelligence may pose a threat to humanity and our survival as a species.
I always dismissed these fears of a real-life Skynet with a very simple comparison: did we exterminate Chimpanzees? No: We didn’t, simply because they didn’t pose a threat to us, so we decided to just let them be.

A truly intelligent artificial intelligence, past the so called “singularity”, more intelligent than us and probably capable of evolving at a faster rate than us, would probably see humanity as a non threat, just about like we see Chimpanzees.

In the last few years, as AI studies evolve, it became clear however that before we will achieve a truly intelligent AI, much, much before then, we will be able to create AS: artificially stupid machines that may actually be a danger to human survival. Continue reading “A.S. – Artificial Stupidity”

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