If recent headlines are anything to go by, opinion on the likelihood – and impact – of the ‘Technological Singularity’ is diverging rapidly. Is this largely because we don’t even agree on what it is?
‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) is certainly in the news at lot at the moment. But so are robots; and Kurzweil’s Singularity; and machine evolution; and transhumanism. Are these the same thing? Are they even related? If so, how? What exactly should we be arguing about? Are we worried precisely because we don’t know this stuff?
Well, perhaps to make a start, we should point out that intelligence isn’t the same thing as evolution (in any sense). That’s obvious and accepted for ‘conventional’ life-on-earth but we seem to be getting a bit confused between the two when it comes to machines. Developments in both may proceed in parallel and one may eventually lead to the other (although which way round is debatable) but they’re not the same thing.