What is the "singularity" and what implications does it have for artificial intelligence?

In 2016, Elon Musk wrote on Twitter: "The most challenging goal of humanity is to figure out how to connect the human brain with the brain of a machine. The Tesla founder also claims that if such a link is not invented, artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, and people will suffer from unemployment.

The superiority of artificial intelligence was first discussed in the 1980s, and the concept of "technological singularity" was associated with it.

Its arrival is associated with the achievement of AI power, exceeding the capabilities of the human brain.

Some specialists working in fields other than artificial intelligence say that computers are inherently incapable of conscious mental activity.

It is necessary to define what we mean by "consciousness" by answering the question.

Consciousness can be considered a subjective reflection of information processing in the brain.

Consciousness is thought to reflect two different types of processing.

1. The selection of information to provide global access to it for the whole body; the ability to perceive an object and determine purposeful behavior toward it.

2. Self-control (monitoring) of computation. The human cognitive system can monitor its work and receive information about itself.

These processes are independent. Global access can occur without self-control and vice versa.

But, the two processes described above are not generally accepted in science as the only possible definitions of consciousness.

Since we do not completely understand what consciousness is and how it is exactly provided by the brain, this question cannot be answered unambiguously.

However, it is possible to outline directions following which we can obtain conscious machines.

1. The simplest idea is to copy the principles of the human brain. One example is an artificial neural network. However, the artificial neural network itself does not have consciousness and is not capable of solving problems it has never been trained to solve, although it reflects some neuro-biological principles,

2. The second, more radical approach is a copy of the whole brain. Scientists take a real human brain, using various methods to study its neural connections to reproduce them on a computer in the form of a program. Then a computer capable of everything will be created the brain can do - it just needs to learn and gather information.

3. The last method proposes creating a machine whose two main skills will be researching artificial intelligence and making changes to the code itself, allowing it not only to learn but also to improve its architecture. It may be the most likely way to get a conscious machine anytime soon.

The term "technological singularity" was invented by mathematician and science fiction writer Vernon Windge in 1983. According to the writer, humans will create an intelligence, more powerful than their own. And when this happens, humanity will reach the singularity, and its future fate will be unpredictable.

The futurologist Raymond Kurzweil popularized the theory of technological singularity. According to his prediction, the singularity will occur in 2045, when the computer potency and the human brain become equal. He also believes that artificial intelligence will reach the point of creating its kind; and will also be capable of self-modification.

In this case, humans are unlikely could control it or begin to use it deliberately for selfish purposes. Then we could be in for:

- An apocalypse in which artificial intelligence will rise against man, and war will ensue.

- The enslavement of humanity. Artificial intelligence will become so advanced that it will enslave humans through violence or in a way that humans will never understand.

- Collapse of the economy. There will be more machines, they will become cheaper, and they will be able to replace human labor. Thus, people will become unemployed, and it will cause a global crisis in the economy.

- Artificial intelligence is a weapon in the wrong hands.h

At the same time, many analysts express concern that we are gaining more and more knowledge through computers, and we are losing the desire to explore things on our own.

According to other analysts, the singularity may come when the human brain is entirely explored. If artificial intelligence is modeled after it, the machine will have consciousness and think like a human. But to do this, we need to understand how the brain reacts and changes how the interactions of neurons affect human consciousness. It, of course, is likely, but not soon...


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