A tech expert has warned that the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will be as dangerous as an alien invasion, saying we must prepare for its arrival.
In a recent article for VentureBeat, he discussed the potential risks of artificial general intelligence (AGI), referring to such technology as an ‘alien species’ not from some distant planet, but one constructed by man.
He explained: “An alien species is headed for planet Earth and we have no reason to believe it will be friendly. Some experts predict it will get here within 30 years, while others insist it will arrive far sooner. Nobody knows what it will look like, but it will share two key traits with us humans – it will be intelligent and self-aware.
“No, this alien will not come from a distant planet – it will be born right here on Earth, hatched in a research lab at a major university or large corporation. I am referring to the first artificial general intelligence (AGI) that reaches (or exceeds) human-level cognition.”
Rosenberg believes an alien intelligence born on Earth would indeed be ‘far more dangerous’ than one that ‘might come from afar’, quoting from his own 2020 book, Arrival Mind, by portraying AGI as ‘having a billion eyes and ears’.
An alien mind built here will know ‘everything’ about humans, Rosenberg said, having been designed to understand us ‘inside and out – optimised to sense our emotions and anticipate our actions, predict our feelings, influence our beliefs and sway our opinions’.
“If creatures speeding toward us in sleek silver spaceships had such deep knowledge of our behaviors and tendencies, we’d be terrified,” he said.
While Rosenberg said we can’t stop AI from ‘getting more powerful’, he does think there are ways we can ‘prepare for arrival’.
According to Rosenberg, the best first step is to not only realise that AGI will happen in the coming decades, but also that it will not be a digital version of human intelligence – instead an ‘alien intelligence as foreign and dangerous as if it came from a distant planet’.
He continued: “We should also be more cautious when automating human decisions. While it’s undeniable that AI can assist in effective decision-making, we should always keep humans in the loop. This means using AI to enhance human intelligence rather than working to replace it.”
However, Rosenberg warned that, whether we prepare or not, alien minds are ‘headed our way’ and could ‘easily become our rivals, competing for the same niche at the top of the intellectual food chain’.
He added: “The time to prepare is now.”
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