Recently I read a short article on the likelihood of humans coming in contact with extra-terrestrial artificial intelligence. The premise is that if we do find intelligent life in the Universe, most likely it will be post-biological in origin. In other words, alien artificial intelligence. This provoked me to do more reading and I can across this article on the evolution of intelligence. Both pieces are very interesting and I recommend them.
To me, these posts bring up some interesting questions. Is life, by definition, biological? At what point does artificial intelligence cease to be artificial? Would it be so bad if human 1.0 was replaced with human 2.0?
I think we will see the growth of earth based AI in our lifetime, perhaps maybe even be contacted by alien AI. Obviously there are a lot of deep seated fears about being replaced or subjugated by machines, the Terminator series being one of the major stories that explore this. I, Robot, Battlestar Galactica, and numerous books also cover this same topic. Ever since there has been the idea of robots, there has been the thought that the robots might revolt and take over. Now that there is artificial intelligence, those fears have become exponential. Now “they” can be smarter as well as stronger than us.
So what does this mean for humanity, who seems to be creating its own replacement? It means change. Perhaps someday AI will be the dominate intelligence on Earth, having replaced homo sapiens just as homo sapiens replaced Homo heidelbergensis and other previous intelligent ancestors. Maybe we will coexist along with the AI. Or perhaps we will integrate with or become the AI, intriguing possibilities.
At any rate, I think we are headed to a point in history where we will be faced with major decisions regarding AI, whether it is Earth based or extra-terrestrial. To fear these decisions is foolish. Facing the future with a clear mind and logic is best. Change is not the worst thing. Life builds on what came before it. And if that means we become “machines”, than so be it. It would definitely make space exploration and colonization easier!
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