Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher have a new article in The Atlantic on the rise of artificial intelligence and the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“Humanity is at the edge of a revolution driven by artificial intelligence. It has the potential to be one of the most significant and far-reaching revolutions in history, yet it has developed out of disparate efforts to solve specific practical problems rather than a comprehensive plan. Ironically, the ultimate effect of this case-by-case problem solving may be the transformation of human reasoning and decision making.
This revolution is unstoppable. Attempts to halt it would cede the future to that element of humanity more courageous in facing the implications of its own inventiveness. Instead, we should accept that AI is bound to become increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous, and ask ourselves: How will its evolution affect human perception, cognition, and interaction? What will be its impact on our culture and, in the end, our history?
Such questions brought together the three authors of this article: a historian and sometime policy maker; a former chief executive of a major technology company; and the dean of a principal technology-oriented academic institution. We have been meeting for three years to try to understand these issues and their associated riddles. Each of us is convinced of our inability, within the confines of our respective fields of expertise, to fully analyze a future in which machines help guide their own evolution, improving themselves to better solve the problems for which they were designed. So as a starting point—and, we hope, a springboard for wider discussion—we are engaged in framing a more detailed set of questions about the significance of AI’s development for human civilization. …
Having been taught the rules of the game, AlphaZero trained itself entirely by self-play and, in less than 24 hours, became the best chess player in the world—better than grand masters and, until then, the most sophisticated chess-playing computer program in the world. It did so by playing like neither a grand master nor a preexisting program. It conceived and executed moves that both humans and human-trained machines found counterintuitive, if not simply wrong. The founder of the company that created AlphaZero called its performance “chess from another dimension” and proof that sophisticated AI “is no longer constrained by the limits of human knowledge.” …
The challenge of absorbing this new technology into the values and practices of the existing culture has no precedent. The most comparable event was the transition from the medieval to the modern period. In the medieval period, people interpreted the universe as a creation of the divine and all its manifestations as emanations of divine will. When the unity of the Christian Church was broken, the question of what unifying concept could replace it arose. …”
What did Elon Musk call it?
I think he called it “summoning the demon.” AI is already churning out solutions to problems that work, but which are beyond our understanding. Now that Pandora’s Box has been opened, there is no telling where this is going. It’s obvious that our elites are just going to let this play out.
Hopefully, now that I have I have stopped talking about Yang more of you will start to grasp the significance of what is unfolding. Henry Kissinger and Eric Schmidt have been working for three years on this trying to chart out the implications of how AI is going to transform the world.