Professor Hugo de Garis is listed on our website as one of our ‘respected people’. This means that we have came to the conclusion that his general opinions about proposed future events are worthy of consideration. De Garis is an expert in the field of artificial brain building, and has produced well thought out theories of how future events will unfold.
De Garis has been especially active in the artificial general intelligence (AGI) field of evolvable hardware and the creation of artificial neural networks which mimic human biological neural networks.
He has been involved in many artificial intelligence projects and so his expertise in the field is evident. Most recently, since 2006 he has been a member of the advisory board of Novamente, a commercial company which is working to create artificial general intelligence, and in 2008 he was hired by the Chinese to help build an artificial brain. He is now retired and is currently engaged with promoting discussion about future AGI related issues.
Through his close working experience with AGI, he has been especially intrigued with what impact its creation could have on our world. His resulting opinions are among the most controversial but certainly worthy of consideration due to the possible apocalyptic outcomes. We have concluded that his theories are certainly possible and should be considered in the making of related policies and security strategies.
The Artilect War
De Garis believes that as the gap between machine level intelligence and human level intelligence closes during this century, global debate will begin and people will become worried about possible threats from AGI. It is his opinion that it is almost inevitable that an ‘artilect war’ will occur due to this. ‘Artilect’ is an acronym for artificial intellects (AGI).
The war that he depicts will not be between machines and humans, but will instead be between the people who wants AGI to be allowed to change our world beyond comprehension, and those who think we should not allow AGI to be developed to a point where it is far more intelligent than human beings. He created the term ‘cosmists’ to describe the supporters of artilects, and ‘terrans’ to describe those who oppose them. The war, he asserts, will result in the deaths of millions of people.
Assessing the Possibilities
Many would be immediately sceptical of this theory and shrug it off as science fiction. If you are still reading then you are clearly more open minded than many and so I urge you to please give your opinions about a possible artilect war in the comments below.
In order to assess the probability of the occurrence of an artilect war, we need to evaluate the pros and cons of developing the artilect.
At That’s Really Possible, we view the creation of AGI as a natural stage of human evolution. We see its creation as inevitable; it stands in the path we are heading on and it cannot be avoided. Its creation will spark a technological singularity in which human immortality will certainly be immediately achieved.
But what are the cons? If AGI is far more intelligent than humans, then it may decide to destroy humans as pests, like we kill mosquitoes. From certain religious perspectives, its creation will be a threat to the existences of their religion and culture, through proving them incorrect and obsolete. It is the fear of AGI that will spark terrans to fight against its creation.
How can we avoid the Artilect War?
Possibly, in the creation of super intelligence, it will not be via the creation of machines, but it will be through the upgrading of ourselves, such as uploading our minds to an external storage medium from where we could be made more intelligent. This will reduce the threat of humans being destroyed by machines who have no empathy for them and so render the occurrence of an artilect war less likely. At That’s Really Possible, we do not describe the artilect war as inevitable, but certainly see it as possible if humans do not merge with machines, or if we discover how to create AGI before we discover how to increase our own intelligence. De Garis calls this the cyborg argument.
Machines need to always remain an extension of ourselves. If this occurs then terrans will not exist and so an artilect war will not occur. So far we are on the right path; the vast majority of humanity is embracing its new technologies, and the freedoms that it affords people are even inspiring revolt against oppressive regimes in the middle east.
Everybody wants to fit in, to be accepted by their peers. We see transhumanism as being the social norm, and are cautiously optimistic that this trend will always continue. The threats if not however are certainly and thankfully made clear by Professor Hugo de Garis.
We need to secure our future! We cannot sit back in our boxes either not caring or optimistically assuming that everything will turn out okay.
For more information about this subject, check out the website of Hugo de Garis. Also, you may be interested in his book – The Artilect War, as seen to the right.
Please help share our website