17 May 2012

The Fight to Control the Human Future: Round I

Round I: Green Global Juggernaut vs. Superhuman AI

Contender #1: The Great Green Global Juggernaut Grabs for Control
Getting Back to the Garden

Forty years ago, two ideas about humanity’s relationship with the natural world caught the imagination of the richest and most influential people. The first was that the demands of a growing population were taking more from the planet than could be replaced by natural processes. The second, related idea was that there exist natural ‘limits to growth’. These two reinventions of Malthusianism became the basis of a new form of global politics, which has sought to [control] human industrial and economic development ever since...

In 1972, the UN held its Conference on the Human Environment, and began its environment programme, UNEP. In 1983, the World Commission on Environment and Development ... was formed, leading to the publication of its findings in 1987 in Our Common Future. Also known as the Brundtland Report, it became the bible of ‘sustainable development’.

Having established sustainable development as an imperative of global politics, more organisations and programmes under the UN were formed to deliver it. In 1992, the UN Conference on Environment and Development, the first ‘Earth Summit’, was held in Rio, leading to the Agenda 21 ‘blueprint for a sustainable planet’, UN conventions on climate change and biodiversity, and the creation of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNSCD). Since then, an entire ecosystem of global, national, governmental and non-governmental organisations has emerged, to advocate and implement the closer integration of human productive life with knowledge about the environment: to observe the ‘limits to growth’. The most notable of these is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), under which a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions is being sought.

...why are world leaders set to meet next month in Rio at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development?

The conference, known as Rio+20, aims to bring together‘world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups’ to ‘shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever-more crowded planet to get to the future we want’....It’s not for you or I to decide what ‘the future we want’ will look like by participating in democratic processes. Instead, ‘world leaders’ from governments, businesses and NGOs are to decide it for us. _Spiked_via_GWPF
It is worth reading the entire article, to get a better feel for how and why the extreme elitists of the global green movement aim to take control of the human future. Perhaps the key point is that a world designed by the green elite will contain far fewer human beings than the one we live in. Can you say, "Downsize?"

Contender #2: Superhuman AI Lags Behind, but Offers a Deeper Contentment

Computer Taking Control

"Any intelligence is dangerous, and any intelligence that doesn't share your goals is doubly dangerous, and any constraint we could devise for the AI merely pits human intelligence against superhuman intelligence, and we should expect the latter to prevail...."

..."AI would be able to use its superpowers to accumulate vast fortunes on the stock exchange, or even 'be Google', as AI would be cheaper and more productive than the human workers currently employed. It could even be a Super Clinton or Super Goebbels, able to take over by persuading us to let it." Or it may gain more powers that we have not even thought of, given that "the space beyond human intelligence is vast".

...any superintelligent AI "may quickly learn to tell the human testers what they want and then manipulate them", as would any AI that was isolated in some kind of "oracle". "Wouldn't you?" he adds. _Wired.co.uk

Computer Multitasking Human

Decades are likely to pass before we reach the point where superhuman AI will be able to fool us into letting it take control. In the meantime, we are already making ourselves and our societies hugely dependent upon an ever-expanding infrastructure of computing. As our lives, livelihoods, and identities come to require advanced computing more and more, we become more like powerful cyborgs, and less like native humans.
A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed an experimental system that can detect when a human is trying to multitask, and help out.

...When Brainput detected that the driver was multitasking, it was able to detect one of the robots to use its own sensors to help navigate -- making it partially autonomous. The operator's overall performance improved, as a result, with little additional effort, and they didn't seem to notice or get frustrated by the bot's autonomous behaviour while multitasking.

..."Multitasking has become integral in many aspects of our lives, so there are opportunities to explore Brainput in other tasks and domains," said the team in a paper (.pdf) detailing the project. "In any activity involving multitasking or information overload, we could expect to see improvements in the user's performance and experience. Some examples of other domains are complex data analytics, air traffic control and management of multiple unmanned vehicles."

They added that future work could consider other cognitive states where humans could do with a helping hand from a machine. "An exploration of the system's ability to distinguish other states could lead to new enhancements at little to no cost to the operator." _Wired.co.uk
Perhaps Brainput could help us relax and enter a state of bliss whenever we are not working and performing vital tasks. Brainput might even instill in us a greater sense of purpose, of devotion to a higher goal, which would make it all worthwhile.

The global green juggernaut vs. superhuman AI. Being downsized out of existence vs. merging with the machine. These are the contenders before us today, of all of those who wish to control the human future. Something to contemplate.

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Blogger Eric said...

What about biological engineering?

Thursday, 17 May, 2012  
Blogger neil craig said...

I have suggested that it would currently be possible to build a computer programme able to issue judgements on international law. Law, being a logical system built on precedent seems to be almost ideal for computerisation and would not require anything approaching the intelligence of AI.

I think it would be very good if some, open source and thus verifiable, programme could give a definitive decision on whether invading Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Georgia was legal (my opinion 2 & 4 were, 1 & 3 weren't), or Iran or China in Taiwan or whther and in what circumstances, if any, Texas or Croatia has the right to secede.

I don't think it would, or should, mean that in all circumstances everybody should follow it but political leaders who didn't would have to be able to give a convincing case, which might save quite a bit of blood.

Friday, 18 May, 2012  

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