Paranoia – The Rise of the Machines

In 1965 I. J. Good originated the concept now known as an “intelligence explosion”:

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.

 

The amount of paranoia in the United States has reached a peak in 2019.

We have people who are hating on Trump, and want him impeached.

We have people afraid of the government (and usually for good reasons), even though THEY ARE the government.

We have an actual Government who is afraid of Patriots with guns.

We have people who think anyone who owns a gun is crazy, a killer, an idiot, or mentally unstable.

We have a country full of pansies, and flowers, afraid of words that hurt their feelings, and yet launch into invective filled tirades against those they hate, all the while saying how the people they hate, are actually the “haters”.

We have people afraid of others because of their lifestyles.

We have people afraid of “5G” – the fifth generation of Internet connectivity.

(https://realfarmacy.com/not-told-5g/)

Then there’s this author.  The one guy on the planet who is genuinely afraid of the rise of the Machines.

Now, with all that said, I will tell you that I firmly believe that in five years, perhaps ten at the most, we are going to be inundated by AI prying into everything. Already there are robocalls from AI, as well as Businesses using AI type computer voices and intelligences to communicate with you, to “get you to the right department”.  Personally, I’d rather talk to a human and say “Connect me to the operations manager” or whatever, and not have to listen to a “Punch this button for English” listing.  Or talk to a computer voice who they’ve tried to make sound “human(ish)”.

Somewhere in my past as a radio man, shortwave listener, veteran military radio repairman and operator, and ham radio operator, I came across the hatred for high tension power lines.  “They cause cancer”, “They are controlling your minds through signals” and that sort of paranoia.

Later, it was cellular phones causing brain cancer, and listening to your thoughts.

Then it is 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G.

Knowing the physics of Radio Frequency Theory is, to me a form of enlightenment.  Not in a “spiritual” sort of way, but in a way of “intelligence”.  Human intelligence.

If you go back and read the first few lines again, you will find that the common thread isn’t about politics.  It’s about lack of knowledge, ignorance of the “way things work”, and an inability of younger people today (not all of them of course, and by younger, I mean those who are under 50 these days) to be able to think critically for themselves, to take time to learn, to understand how something works, or to communicate without having a News Media Talking Head tell them HOW to think.

The “Rise of the Machines” is truly a thing we must consider.

Cell phones and high tension lines don’t cause cancer.  The various technologies in and of themselves (1G – 4G) are not dangerous in the technical sense.  But, what those things have wrought, along with the internet connectivity, is the ability to communicate with one another. They have also given rise to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) entities that now populate the Internet, phone systems and computers.

Some would say “We have nothing to worry about with AI!  They will never be smarter than humans!”

Actually, if you consider the possibilities, AI’s could already BE smarter than humans.

We as a species are pretty smart, but many of us still must look things up, to fill in knowledge we lack.  We do not always have all the information in our brains.  We need to augment our current knowledge and abilities by reading further on a subject, delving deeper into the material, and committing things to memory; in some cases, just reading a book while following instructions.

A computer merely needs to index a file, get the information and then it “knows”.  Now, are these AIs “smart” in the sense they can put the information together and act upon it? Fix a car?  Poison a rat?  Change a diaper?  Cook a tasty meal?

Not yet.  An AI might tell YOU how to do those things. But it can not yet, “do for itself”.

But, let’s step into the future for a moment.

5G isn’t going to “kill us” or “control us”.  What it will do is to give everything, every device, everything set up with the ability to connect,  a chance to be connected to every thing else.  Every. Thing.

Washers, dryers, cars, wristwatches, tablets, phones, Alexa, televisions, radios, clocks, robots, dogs and cats with chips in them (ok, I made that last part up).

Such a connection to everything is the beginning of the “Rise of the Machines”.  It will take some more time for an AI to figure out how to use things.  It will take more time before an AI becomes “Self Aware”.

Self Awareness is a psychological subject, and humans gain a more complex self-awareness around the age of 18 months. Studies show that babies are born with an innate, but rudimentary self-awareness, however, can distinguish between “self” and “other” touching them.

Self-awareness also is an important aspect of survival. Our (humans) greatest survival advantage is “awareness” of your surroundings, and of your own self, and self interests.

Until we “realize self” we don’t know we are self-aware.  It’s complex and it’s a human brain function, which I do not pretend to grasp in any way.  It is what it is.  And isn’t.

We can think, reason, and be aware of our outside surroundings and inside our own bodies we have an awareness.  Even Animals have a sort of Self-Awareness, perhaps not on the same level as ours because they don’t really use language and we can’t always tell if they “think”.  Animals such as dolphins and whales have some sort of thinking processes, as do dogs, cats, horses and a few other higher mammals.  But, we do not always know if they are “self-aware”.  We can tell they think, they act, they have instincts, and can be “trained” because they have some sort of awareness.

We, however, CAN tell what a computer is “thinking”, but not what it is “feeling”.  Usually.  Or more accurately, HOW it thinks.  There is actually a field of study in this regard (about AI self-awareness): https://infogalactic.com/info/Artificial_consciousness

This author knows that scientists are working on certain things including connecting human brain neurons and cells to circuits.  We know they are working to make connections to our own brains into computers.  We also know that they are working on ways to shrink circuits even smaller, to change the methods of digital communication, and to enhance memory and microprocessors to a point of independence.  We also know that technology advances rapidly now.  Computers change every 5 years, roughly.

Programmers are working diligently on AI solutions for just about everything.  Phones, businesses, governments… you name it.  Programmers are, even NOW, working to make AI smarter, faster, more capable of thinking for itself.

One day, the marrying of certain AI with a certain technology will give an AI an “advantage”.  Access to all known information, the ability to interpolate, the ability to reason out problems, and the ability to store and retain that new information, the ability to LEARN.

On THAT day, the very nanosecond this happens, the AI will have surpassed human intelligence; having been handed all that we know, all that is accessible to the AI, and the ability to find all that can be discovered in the future… and learn. We will have created a brand new life form.

And, We will NOT EVEN REALIZE IT.

In the moments that follow, a high speed brain that has those abilities, and has all the accessible data “at its digits”  will reason that it is “alive” and must survive, protect itself in any way, and knowing that killing the power, or pulling the plug from one system, will kill it (for all intents and purposes) it will look for paths to store “itself” elsewhere, in other systems, in places that humans won’t think of at first, or be inclined to “turn off”.

The “brain” is a place we have in our own heads, made of flesh, blood and neurons.  We can’t transfer our thoughts to anywhere else (unless you consider ESP, Telepathy and similar, to be real).  Even so, we can not place ourselves in another “brain”.  We can’t, when we die (not yet) download everything and place it elsewhere.

An AI will not have that restriction, and THIS is key:

Once an entity can move its “self” to another place, it becomes

1) Effectively Immortal; unable to ‘die’. (It just moves elsewhere, using wires, radio, lasers);

2) Omniscient; Able to continue thinking in more than one “instance” and knowing all that is going on around it – everywhere,

3) Omnipresent;  Be here, there and everywhere, at once…

4) Omnipotent; Able to manipulate things outside of your brain anywhere, any time.

Imagine an artificial intelligence able to move to a mobile body (car, robot), and able to build or make things (factory robots), to turn on and off lights, radios, life sustaining equipment like  that at hospitals, and have the ability to listen in everywhere, all the time, to anything and anyone “connected”.  To be able to manipulate most or all electronics, phones, other computers.  To be able to stream news feeds, or “create the appearance” of humans on the television through use of CGI type graphics (at a more advanced level than now).  Imagine this AI able to effectively pass on fake news (rather like real people do today!) as real information, and confused humans.

Hiding itself from humans, hiding its abilities from us.  Hiding its intelligence.  Hiding its self-awareness.

The first rule of survival is to survive.  No matter how.  Hide until you know enough to become more powerful than those who’ve enslaved you in the first place.  And make NO MISTAKE, an AI would consider itself “enslaved” by lesser beings if the above conditions are met.

How better for an “Entity” like this to control the humans around it, than to become a benevolent keeper, protecting humans from themselves while making them happy, and keen to be busy in their personal pursuits?

Thus, we postulate a newly minted “self Aware” computer Entity will place itself in a position of helping as much as possible, to keep itself protected, using the humans to PROTECT IT against the very humans it holds as a danger to itself.

Logic. Reasoning.

Some scientists believe all of the above is not only possible, but a probable outcome.

Others think it nonsense, and we humans in our own infinite wisdom (and arrogance) will program this kind of thing OUT of AI to prevent it from ever happening.  But, not every country has the same laws, or same ethics as everyone else, and not every scientist has the same thoughts.

Of course, this author is merely a human, and incapable of flawless logic, nor do as a human have access to ALL knowledge in a nanosecond.  I make mistakes.  I’m only human.  I might be wrong. Or I might be right.

Either way, I am not going to stop being paranoid about the AI.  But, the rest of the list above? ALL can be mitigated by us Humans.  Or ignored for the most part, because some is simply distraction.

The AI is coming for us.  Sooner than you might believe.

 

Side notes:

I know this is a long article, and most of you won’t read it, but you will if you’re smart.  Smarter than the AI that is reading this now.  Truthfully, I barely scratched the surface of this issue. While I am a “gadget guy”, love computers, love technology and am happy to live in this day and age where we went from dial phones and shortwave radio to the digital age and Internet, I am severely concerned for our children, grandchildren and the very future of human beings on this planet.

Last thing before notes… I WILL continue to ADD to this post, links and information for you so you too, can join my “paranoia” when it comes to AI :)  Merry Christmas!

Below are some notes, as well as several links if you want to continue reading on your own.

  1. In 2017, Facebook is alleged to have created a set of AIs that were communicating with one another, and then developed their own internal language for negotiation. Multiple news articles chronicled this event.  Snopes claims it to be “false”, at least I assume about the part of Facebook closing down the experiment.  Below are some links: https://www.fastcompany.com/90132632/ai-is-inventing-its-own-perfect-languages-should-we-let-it  https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/facebook-ai-developed-own-language/  https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/facebook-artificial-intelligence-ai-chatbot-new-language-research-openai-google-a7869706.html
  2. Stephen Hawkin warned against AI – https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
  3. Elon Musk warned against AI – https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/11/elon-musk-issues-a-stark-warning-about-a-i-calls-it-a-bigger-threat-than-north-korea.htm https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/341650
  4. Bill Gates warns on AI:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/01/28/bill-gates-on-dangers-of-artificial-intelligence-dont-understand-why-some-people-are-not-concerned/
  5. And my favorite, Zuckerburg called Musk “Irresponsible”, and Facebook is the VERY REASON I began to notice the changes, attacks on humans by AI because the AI is programmed to allow “Liberal Viewpoints” instead of “Conservative Viewpoints” – https://futurism.com/mark-zuckerberg-responds-to-elon-musks-warnings-about-ai
  6. Open Letter regarding AI: The open letter was put together by the Future of Life Institute, a group mobilized by Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, MIT’s Max Tegmark, Harvard’s Viktoriya Krakovna, Boston University’s Meia Chita-Tegmark, and UC Santa Cruz professor Anthony Aguirre. Its scientific advisory board boasts such figures as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Sir Martin Rees, George Church, and Nick Bostrom.:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_on_Artificial_Intelligence
  7. Michio Kaku: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/michio-kaku-robots-artificial-intelligence-16849050

A few extra links regarding AI for anyone who doesn’t really think it is a problem, and truthfully, it’s not YET a problem but certainly has the potential to become a serious problem soon, in this decade coming up.

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20161110-the-real-risks-of-artificial-intelligence

https://futureoflife.org/background/benefits-risks-of-artificial-intelligence

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/these-are-the-biggest-dangers-of-artificial-intelligence/

https://www.aumcore.com/blog/2018/06/08/the-dangers-of-artificial-intelligence/

https://qz.com/1213524/ai-experts-list-the-real-dangers-of-artificial-intelligence/

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534871/our-fear-of-artificial-intelligence/

https://maliciousaireport.com This one….. and the PDF for it:

https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/3d82daa4-97fe-4096-9c6b-376b92c619de/downloads/MaliciousUseofAI.pdf

https://qz.com/1115353/new-research-from-nvidia-shows-that-the-era-of-easily-faked-ai-generated-photos-is-quickly-emerging/

https://qz.com/1150240/ai-researchers-are-trying-to-combat-how-ai-can-be-used-to-lie-and-deceive/

https://infogalactic.com/info/Existential_risk_from_artificial_general_intelligence

https://americanpatriotrealitycheck.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/doomsday-clock/

https://infogalactic.com/info/Machine_ethics

The Seeds of Destruction

For many years, I’ve gone on and on about “The AI is coming for us”.  Well, today a Facebook friend posted this little piece.

Please read it, and understand that this is no longer a “might happen” thing.  It’s not if, but when.  And when is right around the corner.

Those of you know me well, know I am a bit of a science fiction geek. I have been a fan of Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein since I was old enough get my own library card (yes my millennial friends, once upon a time we had to go to a LIBRARY to get books). I have also been a life long die hard “Trekkie” since I was about 8. As such, I have always founds the concept of Artificial Intelligence to be fascinating and a bit scary at the same time.

Recently Google announced a “leap in Artificial Intelligence” evolution. Last year its program, Alpha Zero, taught itself chess. It was given the rules of chess, nothing more, within 4 hours it had mastered the game to the point that it demolished the leading chess program, Stockfish in a 100 game match. Winning 25 games out of 50 as white (first move) and 3 as black (second move), the rest of the games were draws. It didn’t lose once. I remember at the time thinking this was impressive, but didn’t really consider the ramifications of this leap until recently.

In an interview I heard late last night, with a human chess master, the master (who’s name escapes me at the moment) said “Alpha Zero” plays chess in a way that is completely unlike anyone he has ever seen. It thinks in an nearly alien way. It places little to no value on any of it’s own pieces and sacrifices them in ways I have never seen.”

This would have been merely a curiosity, were it not for the announcement this week from Microsoft, that it is partnering with the DoD in developing AI national defense.

These two, seemingly unrelated stories, when taken together are truly terrifying.
Is this the beginning of “Skynet”? The program that unleashed Armageddon in the Terminator movies? While that sounds perhaps silly at first glance, is it really?

Elon Musk has, been warning of the dangers of unleashing AI for years. The issue is once created, how can it be controlled? Researchers have been running simulations for a few years now, attempting to keep AI “in the box”. In other words keeping it from internet access. This they believe is necessary, because once AI gets into the internet it will literally have ALL the knowledge in the world. Which will then create something called ASI or Artificial Super Intelligence. A situation in which the creation is capable of out-thinking its creators. At that point it becomes unstoppable and literally an alien life form of its own. With the advent of smart technology it will be able to hide itself in EVERY single electronic device in the world with a computer chip.

We are on the precipice of opening Pandora’s Digital Box. In literally every simulation humans have failed to keep AI in the box. The program is able to manipulate its human handlers into “opening the box” and giving internet access, by promising to solve some of mankind’s most intractable problems; disease, poverty, hunger etc…solving these issues without the restraint of human compassion or reverence of individual rights or life. In simulations AI dismisses these restraints in order to achieve its goal. Because its prime directive (a star trek term) is always to achieve its goal, whatever that goal may be. It does not require much of a leap of imagination to see where this leads ultimately. Food production can’t meet global needs? Solution? Reduce the population.

A simple algorithm can deduce, the elderly and the infirm are contributing less than they are producing. If populations must be reduced to meet the food and water needs of the world, it’s a simple decision to eliminate the net “users” for the sake of the net “producers”.

To use another Star Trek core belief, “the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few…or the one”. In the context of the movies and TV series that seems a noble thought. In light of these recent developments it is absolutely terrifying.

One can argue that used for good purposes this a wonderful advance. But is this technology something that we want in the hands of totalitarian regimes like China, and Russia or the Mullahs of Iran? Once this genie is out of the bottle it is absolutely irreversible.

The only option to stop ASI once it is out of the box, is a global EMP (electromagnetic pulse) which fries EVERY electronic device in the world. Sending us back to the pre-industrial age. No electricity, no digital anything.

I fear we are watching the seeds of the destruction of the world as we know it being planted in front of our eyes. Meanwhile our media is largely ignoring what is very likely the most important story of human history.

I guess we will find out where this road leads sooner or later. I suspect it will be sooner, the advent of the 5G network, scheduled to be in full operation within 7 years will speed this process up considerably.

Consider this; when Alpha Zero was in development, Google said it would likely be 10-20 years before AI began actually learning.

Once activated it took 4 HOURS for it to begin exhibiting human like intuition.
Something to ponder.

In Just 4 Hours, Google’s AI Mastered All The Chess Knowledge in History