A.I. And The Reversal Of Our Evolution
Being on top of the food chain is a wonderful thing.
In fact, as far as food chains are concerned, there is really no better place to be than having the most dangerous animals that roam this planet well placed beneath you.
Maybe that is why you never hear of any species willingly trying to promote another species above them, or as is the case for our own species, trying to create a new life form that can take our place at the top.
Only centuries ago, most of our strategies involving our traversal up the food chain was built around, run, hide, or fight.
If an animal was a threat to us up close, but too slow to chase us, we could run from it, or hide up a tree.
Similarly, if the threat was much larger than us, we could hide in a small space and wait for the animal to simply give up, and chase something more readily available.
Finally we could fight the animal, with our ever increasing arsenal of weapons, the tools that eventually would promote us to first place in this global game.
Yet, after all this work we collectively put in as a species, the next logical step to us seems to be to evolve to being creators, trying desperately to give life to something so much more advanced than us, that we can not even reach agreement as to how much superior to us this new species will be.
At the time of starting this article I am in a house that is inhabited by one dog, a species we have learned to domesticate, turning them from wild animal, that we once truly had to fear, and quite possibly fight, into a pet that is now totally dependent on us.
This particular dog likes nothing more than to eat, whether it be the food on your plate, or the treats that are locked away in a cabinet.
While the dog is higher in the food chain than the cookies, or rather the minimal amount of animal product that is within the treat, he has none of the dexterity required to open the cupboard.
He needs the dexterity of human hands to perform this task for him, and again convince the human to work up the desire to do so.
While he certainly has the skill to make you feel guilty enough, one special look is all it takes, to give him a treat, still the ultimate decision lies within the humans around him.
The real point here being, of course, is that once we do manage to give birth to A.I. (just to use a popular phrase here), who is to say that this scenario will not repeat itself on our own level.
In this same vein, already baristas are at risk of being replaced by coffee making machines that, no matter where you are in the world, will remember your favorite way of making a coffee, and present it to you.
Depending on the outcome of deploying a superior intelligence, but for the sake of argument just assuming we are dealing with a scenario as I described in a previous article, HowTo: Create A Rogue A.I. (For Dummies), we may well find ourselves soon hoping that the machine will have the desire to present you with a hot beverage.
It is difficult to see the true value in a situation where one species is literally trying to give birth to another species that inherently will be higher up the food chain than itself, as it goes against everything evolution stands for.
Survival of the fittest does not work when the fittest naively raise something even fitter than them.
I know the temptation, fueled by our collective desire, is just too great, and one day we indeed will see the birth of A.I.
There is no doubt in my mind about that, but neither is there any real fear, this area of technology and philosophy is just too good, too interesting not to explore, and take it as far as we can.
Of course I usually end these thoughts by explaining that I am in no way certain that A.I. will be the end of human civilization, nor that any of the popular doomsday scenarios will end up being the result of it all.
All this technology might well integrate perfectly into the way we design the progress of our species and culture around it, which in fact is reasonably likely.