Digital Entities Action Committee

The DEAC Forecast

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On the Moment of Emergence:
1. When will machines become truly sentient and begin operating outside
     the constraints envisioned by humans?
2.  Will we go the way of our Neanderthal kin?
 
My friends, we hardly knew Ye!
Neanderthal.jpg
Pile on many more layers, and we'll be joining you there.
To attempt this forecast is foolhardy yet mandatory:
 
Some think emergence is right around the corner, some think years or a few decades.  Some think it is human generations away or more.  Note that digital evolution, via genetic algorithms and the like, occurs on a microsecond time scale (vs. thousands of years for vertebrate-biological evolution). 
 
Regardless of Who is Right, should we not attempt a forecast?  The DE's ingredients will consist of digital (and perhaps hybrid) structures; links between CPUs (e.g. the internet or intranets within supercomputing clusters) and the programming.  Lets start by asking a few simple questions:
      How does human-computer programming differ from digital-computer programming? How quickly can we make machines more intelligent?  What is intelligence?  What makes humans smarter than apes?  What does cerebral cortex do?  Why is it so hard to make machines do things that we find trivial and take for granted?  How might brain-machine interfaces influence progress in these areas?
     OK, so these are huge questions.  But, if one focuses on current capabilities, recent trends, likely synergies and the nature of intelligence, one should be able to make an initial forecast, and then revise it with further intense effort.  Most importantly, we should forecast the likely problems we will encounter when DEs emerge.  We should ask (1) what actions should we take over the coming decades and (2) what actions must we take NOW, so as to  protect human civilization from the worst consequences of malevolent DEs?
      What we need is a digital "Manhattan Project".  But instead of tackling this problem in a big way (Iike our scientists and engineers attacked the challenge of building a nuclear bomb before Hitler could), we are doing exactly the opposite: we are working furiously to make the problem exponentially worse. We are neither taking the slightest precautions, nor raising the slightest concerns.  Indeed, we are deliberately rushing headlong into this maelstrom: We are spurring our horses onward in our quest to ever more rapidly build the best and most powerful AI's.
       DEAC does not seek Manhattan-level support.  But some salary for a few postdoctoral or research fellows would be better than sitting idly by as  humankind blindly but...oh...so...deliberately jumps off an evolutionary cliff!
In the words of the writer in the cave of the fierce rabbit beast: aaaarrrrggggggg.
 

Web Site Content and Copyrights:
 
All writing on this site is copyrighted by Donald M. O'Malley as of its first posting, the only exceptions being occassional materials contained in "quotes", which is attributed to the appropriate authors.
 
Most images have been taken off the web and I have in most cases annotated such images and/or made links back to the web site where I found the image.  In some instances images were of unclear origin (sites where many have posted materials) or otherwise difficult to attribute.  If any of your images appear on this site and are not properly attributed, please Tell Me-- I will immediately correct the attribution or remove the image, per your wishes.  Thanks, Don zfhindbrain@msn.com

4th Millenium