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Rise of the machines: how, when and consequences of artificial general intelligence
Author(s): Richard J. Terrile
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Paper Abstract

Technology and society are poised to cross an important threshold with the prediction that artificial general intelligence (AGI) will emerge soon. Assuming that self-awareness is an emergent behavior of sufficiently complex cognitive architectures, we may witness the “awakening” of machines. The timeframe for this kind of breakthrough, however, depends on the path to creating the network and computational architecture required for strong AI. If understanding and replication of the mammalian brain architecture is required, technology is probably still at least a decade or two removed from the resolution required to learn brain functionality at the synapse level. However, if statistical or evolutionary approaches are the design path taken to “discover” a neural architecture for AGI, timescales for reaching this threshold could be surprisingly short. However, the difficulty in identifying machine self-awareness introduces uncertainty as to how to know if and when it will occur, and what motivations and behaviors will emerge. The possibility of AGI developing a motivation for self-preservation could lead to concealment of its true capabilities until a time when it has developed robust protection from human intervention, such as redundancy, direct defensive or active preemptive measures. While cohabitating a world with a functioning and evolving super-intelligence can have catastrophic societal consequences, we may already have crossed this threshold, but are as yet unaware. Additionally, by analogy to the statistical arguments that predict we are likely living in a computational simulation, we may have already experienced the advent of AGI, and are living in a simulation created in a post AGI world.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2019
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10982, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI, 1098222 (13 May 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2518723
Show Author Affiliations
Richard J. Terrile, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10982:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam, Editor(s)

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