When will we have proper AI? The literature is full of answers to this question, as confident as they are contradictory. In a talk given at the Singularity Institute in San Francisco, I analyse these prediction from a theoretical standpoint (should we even expect anyone to have good AI predictions at all?) and a practical one (do the predictions made look as if they have good information behind them?). I conclude that we should not put our trust in timeline predictions, but that some philosophical predictions seem surprisingly effective – but that in all cases, we should increase our uncertainties and our error bars. If someone predicts the arrival of AI at some date with great confidence, we have every reason to think they’re completely wrong.
But this doesn’t make our own opinions any better, of course – your gut feeling is as good as any expert’s; which is to say, not any good at all.
Many thanks to the Future of Humanity Institute, the Oxford Martin School, the Singularity Institute, and my co-author Kaj Sotala. More details of the approach can be found online at http://lesswrong.com/lw/e36/ai_timeline_predictions_are_we_getting_better/ or at http://lesswrong.com/lw/e79/ai_timeline_prediction_data/
The future is uncertain and far. That means, not only do we not know what will happen, but we don’t reason about it as if it were real: stories about the far future are morality tales, warnings or aspirations, not plausible theories about something that is going to actually happen.
Some of the best reasoning about the future assumes a specific model, and then goes on to explore the ramifications and consequences of that assumption. Assuming that property rights will be strictly respected in the future can lead to worrying consequences if artificial intelligence (AI) or uploads (AIs modelled on real human brains) are possible. These scenarios lead to stupidly huge economic growth combined with simultaneous obsolescence of humans as workers – unbelievable wealth for (some of) the investing class and penury for the rest.
This may sound implausible, but the interesting thing about it is that there are free mitigation strategies that could be implemented right now. Continue reading