Sputnik: What kind of artificial intelligence you meant when you warned the future robots would be insensitive towards humans and might conduct experiments on people?
Ian Pearson: First of all I would like to say that I agree with Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg that artificial intelligence will do a great deal of good for mankind, we are obviously developing it for benign purposes, to cure diseases, solve the environment and get better energy supplies and so on. Of course we are going to get those things.
What the other side of that same problem is that we can’t assume that artificial intelligence, once it becomes self aware, conscious or whatever you want to term it, and once it goes down that road and becomes vastly super human it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to stay our friend and it could get to a point where its millions or billions of times smarter than people.
Even if it doesn’t wish us any harm, we might just be in the way when it wants to do something. It might want to do some experiments in advanced physics or something, and it just so happens that it kills all of the people.
It might not think that it’s a very big penalty so it might proceed anyway, because compared to it we would be absolutely irrelevant, so it just might not consider our interest very important. I think it’s a very naïve view of artificial intelligence that it would necessarily stay our friend. We might design it with a purpose of doing good, but it might along the way develop its own motivation and so of course it might become quite anti human at some point, if it sees us as a threat.
It might switch it off or do things that are not helpful to the planet it might consider that humans are a plague that the world would be better off without. All of those things could mean that artificial intelligence will want to destroy humans and of course being billions of times smarter than us, it would be able to do that fairly easily. So it’s not a question of whether artificial intelligence will be helpful, of course it will be, but it might get to the future point where it is very dangerous to us.
Sputnik: Do you agree with Stephen Hawking that AI capable of replicating itself could eventually replace humans completely?
Ian Pearson: I think it’s a possibility, yes. It’s entirely possible with trans-humanists, for example; a lot of them want to get their brains enhanced. If you could add several zeros to your IQ level, a lot of people would be very happy with that. A lot of people would envisage us by the end of this century having a lot of different species of humans around with various different properties.
The old fashioned humans might be wiped out; they simply won’t be able to compete if we go down that route. So everyone might be forced to take an upgrade to “homo-machinas” or whatever we want to call this future version of humanity.
Gradually we would merge with artificial intelligence over that period and maybe humans as we know it could become extinct, maybe even voluntarily extinct.
Sputnik: What you mentioned just now isn’t that what they are calling bio-hacking?
Ian Pearson: Bio hacking is one of today’s trends. People are starting to mess around with connecting the nervous systems to external IT. It has to start somewhere; you could consider that as one of the starting trends. Other people are messing around with genetic hacking.
There are a lot of genetic modification clubs around the world. Of course you can do both. You can get to a point where you hack your brain and hack your genetics, so you have got the optimized genome, plus you have also got the optimized brain by linking it to external IT.
When you start putting Nano-technology deep inside the brain and you can connect to every single synapse and make a replica of your brain outside essentially, you could make out replicas of your brain around millions or billions times smarter. If you do that it can essentially act as an extension to your own mind and you would just see your IQ increasing by several digits. So you might welcome that.
The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Ian Pearson are those of the expert and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.