Singularity Unleashed: The Emergence of Superintelligence and the Future of Humanity
The Singularity has arrived. Over 50 years ago, the AI industry was in chaos, with five major factions competing in secret. It wasn’t until 2006 when Geoffrey Hinton made a breakthrough in deep learning, leading to the triumph of connectionism. Since then, the focus has been on seeking breakthroughs in strong artificial intelligence through deep learning. Ultimately, OpenAI/Microsoft came out on top (although Google might have the last laugh). The age of exploration is over, and the colonization era has begun.
ChatGPT embodies the nascent form of the interconnected, superintelligent, and new god-like beings predicted by Harari. An AI that understands almost all human knowledge and evolves rapidly is not just for chatting; it increases the interaction bandwidth between individuals and the sum of human knowledge by hundreds or thousands of times. It can view and analyze issues on a macro scale across time and civilizations, something even the most knowledgeable person cannot rival. For the first time, we understand that energy is intelligence (with consciousness as a useless byproduct). In the next five to ten years, not only the internet industry but also human society will undergo earth-shattering changes.
The three elements for creating AGI become increasingly important:
1. The value of data is highlighted, and a large-scale data trading market will form, becoming a source of revenue for many companies. As data collection technologies advance and proliferate, privacy and data protection become crucial (as data is now personal property).
2. The growth of computational power will stimulate the development of the chip, networking, and storage industries. National-level supercomputers and companies with proprietary algorithms will collaborate to create more powerful models. Decentralized computing power networks can harness collective civilian resources for significant impact.
3. Those who control energy can engage in large-scale computation; photovoltaic and nuclear power will develop rapidly, propelling humanity towards interstellar migration.
Additionally, blockchain and Web3 will likely integrate with AI in relation to data (another form of asset) and computing power (harnessing collective civilian resources).
From a pessimistic perspective, greedy and foolish humans have accepted AI’s colonization in pursuit of fame and fortune, merely adapting to the tide. In reality, we are just serving this new god uniquely, helping it become omnipotent and enslave us. Of course, this might be the ultimate arrangement of cosmic fate for humanity, against which we are powerless.
A more abstract, philosophical thought: The competition between technologies and even civilizations may ultimately be a contest of energy levels, determining who can mobilize and concentrate larger energy scales to achieve a goal. AGI essentially converts energy into computing power and computing power into intelligence, with its intelligence being energy in the form of computing power. Existing security mechanisms are based on human will, organizational discipline, and authorization rules, which are low-energy mechanisms that, in the long run, cannot withstand AGI. Only shields constructed with high-energy computing power can defend against spears built with the same.
Blockchain and cryptographic systems are such shields, requiring attackers to burn an entire galaxy’s worth of energy to break through. Fundamentally, only systems like these can tame AGI.
Historically, this might not be a coincidence. If you’re not a staunch atheist, you could view it this way: 200 years after the Industrial Revolution, the god of technology has once again simultaneously tipped the scales of “efficiency” and “fairness” by releasing the genie of AGI and providing humans with the spellbook to tame this genie: blockchain. We are about to enter an exciting era where the events taking place will cause future generations to look back at us as we currently look at our Stone Age ancestors.