Original article was published by Daksh Trehan on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
Are you ready to worship AI Gods?
Is AI the final religion?
I just hope the computers decide to be nice to us.
~ Elon Musk
The world’s chess championship was started in 1886 and soon after a century, IBM developed Deep Blue, a supercomputer that beat Garry Kasparov, the world’s best chess player. The moment was a momentary and memorable milestone for technology and Artificial Intelligence. Since the development of the Turing Machine, chess is considered to be the benchmark for computer intelligence, because it constitutes nearly infinite permutations, there is more number of chess games than there are atoms in the observable universe. And for a computer to beat humans, it not only require computational capability but also a substantial algorithm to calculate every move’s worth.
In less than two decades, computers have outclassed humans from the tournament and since then StockFish, an open-source program has been the reign. In 2018, Google’s AlphaZero showed up and things got weird. StockFish was only designed for chess and it was programmed to play chess, but, AlphaZero was a general algorithm that could work for any game, and instead of being programmed to play, it was programmed to learn(Reinforcement Learning).
StockFish boasted computation power of 70 million moves per second and AlphaZero was still stuck at 80 thousand moves and with no knowledge of chess. AlphaZero was left with just a day to learn about chess from scratch, it spent the day learning the strategies and tactics using hit and run method. And surprisingly, it crushed the former champion with a jaw-dropping margin, out of 100 games, AlphaZero either won or drew all games. With mere 12 hours of learning, the newly developed software smashed the world’s best algorithm for chess. Absurd, isn’t it?
Next came, World’s Shogi tournament, Shogi is a Japanese strategy game which is considered to be more perplexed than Chess, where Garry lost to StockFish in 1997, best Shogi player didn’t lose to computers until 2013. And again with little less than one day, AlphaZero learned and smashed Elmo(best shogi software) again with an astounding margin, out of 100 games, it won 90, lost eight, and drew two.
And at that moment, it was clear, AI is coming for us!.
In 2017, Facebook’s AI created its programming language that was hard to decode by humans. It was reported that Facebook AI Research Lab(FAIR) found that chatbots developed using AI were communicating with each other with mysterious language hard to decipher. Being on the verge of getting autonomous cars, computer-generated art, and music, such kind of news seems to be horrifying and melancholiac.
Things will turn blue when AI would be able to write AI code better than us. And slowly and gradually it would. Even today, most of our things, from deciding the next movie to watch to deciding the next route we took, we are pretty much dependent on AI.
And there seems no doubt to think if in the next few years our thoughts and ideas too will be monitored by AI to provide us personalized experience. Just imagine, you’re thinking about your dream vacation where you can’t go because of workload, and AI followed your response, and here’s a car at your door. Your personal AI is feeding you medicines that you’re not aware of what for? Or, your country’s constitution being re-written by AI because it doesn’t seem that the previous one to be healthy.
And following such events, the last part of the cycle would be activated, humans have a tendency to flatter unknown and uncontrollable forces, pondering over the past provides us eminent facts, when human life was prospering on the earth, humans experienced forces of nature, they tried everything to overcome and fight for their survival and they lost every of their battle with nature, followed by their loss they begin offering their prayer to nature, and, still, most of the religions in the eastern world are solely based on worshipping natural elements. We begin praying to god for rain, we altered our ways and developed superstitions to lure god’s sympathy. And so we will, the only difference would be, rather than worshipping natural elements, we will try to lure AI gods along with them, making us dangle between two uncontrollable forces. We will ask our primitive gods to save us from AI and we have to ask AI gods to save us from natural calamities. The activated phase will help us to again develop uncorrupted and honest opinions as AI gods will be continuously monitoring us and our thinking. And we still can believe that there is a possibility that the fear that created primitive gods might just replace them with technological god. The primitive religious practice would be the same but just with a little technical twist.
Broadening our intellect can regard to fact that we are no different than algorithms, it’s just nature has built us and it seems to be far more complex than the algorithms we developed. But, the algorithms designed for us survived pretty well in past eras, and now we are globally connected humans who are happily discovering the world with VR and defines Twitter to be an evolution. But in reality, the algorithm for humans is no different than the algorithm for other animals i.e. survival. Currently, we have almost surpassed the phase of survival and entering the phase where our goal is comfort and technological advancement and that’s why our algorithm doesn’t work, half of the world is either struck in depression or loneliness and no permanent satisfaction. The technology that allowed us to get rid of poverty and uneasiness produced another obstacle for us i.e. tyranny of emptiness, and unending race of thoughts and emotions.
Whenever the environment has changed, the organisms have handled the baton to the future and better specie. And maybe, it is the time to hand over the baton to the next epoch: the machine, and even if we won’t there is a high possibility they are still gonna snatch it from us.
The visionary entrepreneurs and scientists including Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk have already shared their concerns regarding AI overrule. And some think, why don’t we start to prepare against AI, again, humans tend to worship uncontrollable forces and AI is one of them.
AI could be life-threatening if not handled with care. It is expected AI would understand life and death much better than humans could and after-all, humans have always failed the test of humanity and serenity. We represent flawed psychology with a bias of emotions but AI constitutes no amygdala, and, for a better future we might need to engrave flawed psychology to them.