GREED AND STUPIDITY = EXTINCTION

 

apocalypse1

The title is a loose quote from an article by Stephen Hackings and for several years now, he is foreseeing the extinction of mankind caused by greed and stupidity.

Apparently there is no connection between greed and stupidity but actually they are closely interconnected.

Statistically, a few percentage of the human population owns ninety per cent of the Earth wealth. I am not assuming that those very rich people are greedy, it is just that the stats show that quoting from a Midnight Oil song: “The rich get richer and the poor get the picture” it is actually true.

Again, statistics show that “today, nearly 17% of the world’s adult population is still not literate; two thirds of them women, making gender equality even harder to achieve.

The scale of illiteracy among youth also represents an enormous challenge; an estimated 122 million youth globally are illiterate, of which young women represent 60.7%.

The 67.4 million children who are out of school are likely to encounter great difficulties in the future, as deficient or non-existent basic education is the root cause of illiteracy.

With some 775 million adults lacking minimum literacy skills, literacy for all thus remains elusive.” The quote is taken from: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/education-building-blocks/literacy/resources/statistics

So, the very deep connection between greed and stupidity is revealed by the above statistics, I mean if greed will not help educating the hundreds of millions of human beings which are illiterate, stupidity will win and the human species is on a clear path to extinction.

The present day technology is able to mass produce extremely cheap PCs, laptops and smart phones and the super-IT-social media companies like Facebook, HP, Oracle can afford to provide free Internet on a global scale. This scenario, with almost free hardware and free Internet is crucial in preventing the planet of gradually being populated by stupider and stupider people. The IT can help in educating people, giving them the elementary tool for learning and avoiding the involution of the human species.

There are examples of laptops and mobile phones produced in India and sold for a few dollars apiece, there are examples like Facebook willing to provide free Internet in some parts of the world, so there is hope that the course towards stupidity and extinction can be avoided but it is not enough.

I know that it is not much we can do about greed ( L ) but the illiteracy problem can be solved at a planetary level via United Nations Organization and the rich Western nations. It is naïve to believe that tomorrow all the conflicts and wars will suddenly stop and the billions of dollars spent on wars will be used to fight illiteracy and stupidity but I strongly believe that if we do not try, our future is doomed.

There is an old joke about the world wars: A wise man was asked what weapons will be used in the third world was and his answer was: I do not know but the next war after that will be fought with rocks and sticks!

FROM FRANKENSTEIN TO NESTOR (NS-5) OR FROM THE MODERN PROMETHEUS TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

The creation of a sentient being, biological like Frankenstein or electronic-positronic like Nestor the NS-5 robot from the novel “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov was and it is a fascinating subject.

The above examples are fictions, created by the imagination of some very talented writers.

Today, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a reality, not in a 100% sentient sense but is getting there. There is serious research done by the major IT companies, some governments and some military research institutes.

From a technology point of view, the AI devices (stationary or mobile) will be a blessing, all these inventions like smart cars, smart appliances, smart buildings and smart cities will be exponentially upgraded to super-smart/semi-sentient devices which theoretically will make our life better, safer, longer.

It is easy to imagine, in not so distant future, being permanently connected to the AI hub of your household and everything you need being delivered the way you want and like and at the moment you want because the AI robot will learn your needs and habits and seamlessly adapt to fulfill those needs. It is also easy to imagine, those AI units manufacturing everything for us and manufacturing other AI units sooner than later.

With the last sentence I just opened the Pandora box of AI challenge because the inevitable question will come into one’s mind: What is going to happened when the AI units will become more intelligent than us and, more, what is going to happen when the AI units will become fully sentient robots?

Well, in the SCI-FI literature and movies, we have the three laws of robotics created by Isaac Asimov which are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

The problem with these “beautiful” and fail-safe for humanity laws is that they are not real and we do not have the technology/mechanism to implement them. There are many Doomsday scenarios regarding the future wars between us and the machines and in almost all these scenarios we lose. The reality is that there is an unseen/unadvertised race to create the pre-sentient AI and I am afraid that the fail-safe mechanism is neglected. Today, there are several prominent scientists trying to rise the alarm, including Stephen Hawkins and I am not sure that the hidden powers behind the AI race are willing to listen.

Now, let us assume that the AI sentient machines will not kill us, will help us and will be our friends and servants forever. This scenario is actually much scarier than the first one because it will gradually drive us towards a rapid involution of humanity. Just think that we will not need to work, drive, create, yes create, because the super-intelligent AI machines will do all of the above for us.

What will be left for the mankind? Watch TV, eat, drink (all these free!), have sex, procreate and start the idiocracy process. Our lifespan is getting longer, the planet will have more and more old people, but will be healthier old people and capable of work in a huge variety of domains. If the AI robots will replace the human workforce, not only the old people will not have a job, but the majority of the population will be in the same situation.

I believe that the process of protecting the mankind intelligence, creativity and imagination should start now. No, I do not have the answer how to proceed with this enormous task, but I know that right now, there are enough smart and talented people able to find a solution.

I hope that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will have an active life, using their brains at full capacity, creating and inventing things, writing novels and poems, travel to other worlds and galaxies and not becoming some vegetables with a pea size brain and huge sex drive.