Why machines will overtake humans

I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi and there are quite a few posts on my blog where I refer to Doctor Who Star Trek and other Sci-Fi series. But just because I like those TV shows, does not mean I believe everything in it. However, watching those has expanded the horizons of my mind.

One of the questions I have wondered about is will robots and computers overtake mankind? I came across this post, Why machines will never overtake Humans? from Akshat Goel where he stated his view on the same. Some of the points that he mentioned helped me in forming my own opinion on the same and as usual I have a different view on things.

He thought about this because of a movie that he saw, but I am not going to dissect the movie. But I will say this much. I don’t consider it to be in the genre of Sci-Fi.

The arguments Akshat puts forward are the following:

  1. Humans think a ‘lot”
  2. The creations of human origin are imperfect while nature is perfect.
  3. Nature has ultimate control of everything.

  4. Humans think a “lot”: It is true that humans think a lot, and the human thought is actually a part of human development. The human brain is wired in such a complicated way that constant thought is required to for the synapses to find new pathways leading to different thought process. This, is a human advantage as well as a weakness. Humans can find very innovative solutions to a problem with highly developed brain pathways.

The disadvantage is that, the human thought process is not linear and is disorganized. It requires a trained mind to control the thought process and to put that in an organized form so that the idea can be shared.

Another disadvantage is the very small percentage of population that reaches this level of thinking.  The educational system is designed in favor of people with below average to average IQ as most of the population falls under that category. There are no sustained effort to find and develop those individuals who require more challenges which results in thousands of individuals overlooked each year. But that is something that will have to be discussed later.

Yet another disadvantage is communication of ideas. Speech is too slow and difficult over distances even with video conferencing and all the advanced technologies that we have. There are no common forums where ideas can be shared which does not have its disadvantage. The closest we have are blogs, where everyone can put their thoughts in writing and anyone is free to leave their comments or develop up on it. But finding those blogs and connecting them seamlessly is not yet possible.

  1. The creations of human origin are imperfect while nature is perfect: I am sure many people are going to hate me for saying this, but that is my opinion nothing is perfect, not even nature. When you look at a picture on your computer it will appear to be perfect, but once you zoom in on it, you will be able to see the imperfections. Similarly on a macroscopic level, nature appears to be perfect, but when you look at nature from a microscopic level, you will find small imperfections. The alignment of planets looks so perfect, but what are the asteroids and comets doing there?

What makes the universe work even with those small imperfections when a small change here or there could destroy the universe? Short answer is, Nature is brilliant. It does not tidy up the loose ends, but it has the ability to overcome the imperfections. We humans by design cannot consume much from nature directly. Except for fruits and vegetables, everything else needs to be cooked for us. We don’t have any natural defense mechanism and we do not have any natural protection against extreme weather condition. We cannot walk any great distance, swim or fly. Human being is nature’s ultimate design not because we can think, but we can overcome our limitations.

Computers on the other hand are designed to do certain tasks and it has certain boundaries set for it, even when it comes to thought. We are not going to see any jump in computer intelligence at its present state, but IC chips is not going to be the ultimate in computing technology. There will be other designs which will break the limitations of artificial intelligence as we know it. It is not a question of if, but when.

The reason why I am so sure is because of the two paragraphs above. Human beings have in their very core a need to overcome everything that it comes across, be it the highest mountain, deepest ocean or deep space. Once we overcome we want it to be accessible by everyone and knowledge shared to future generations. It won’t be long before we realize that the the ultimate achievement in computing is setting a goal to overcome the limitation. Once an Artificial Intelligence is able to overcome its limitation, then human being and AI will be on almost equal footing.

  1. Nature has ultimate control over everything: Nature had ultimate control of everything, but not any more. Human being is an experiment of nature that has gone bad. Nature has lost control of human evolution whereas humans have suppressed the need for evolution by our use of technology and innovation. The present dry spell of evolution that humans are experiencing is a testimony to that. With our influence on nature, we are influencing how nature behaves and the evolution of other creatures that inhabit the planet. The only way nature can wrest control back from humans now, is to bring the end of the world and start over again.

But nature is not just Earth alone. In the bigger picture, Earth and the beings that inhabit this planet are probably insignificant.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are that of the author and is based on the limited knowledge and unlimited imagination of the author and should not be considered as a rational argument based on scientific facts.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.