Stephen Hawking, in an article dated 2 December 2014, stated that artificial intelligence could end mankind.
Now in all likelihood Mr Hawking is considerably more intelligent than I. However I do not believe that there is anything to be worried about with intelligent computers.
Society has a small number of more intelligent beings than the rest of the population. Yet they are of no threat to the existence of the less intelligent. Why is this so?
It’s All About Power
I believe wars and nature have shown us that the threat to existence is solely attributable to power. Humans have wiped out other animal species not out of intent but because they had the power to do so and didn’t restrain themselves.
Our national leaders are rarely the most intelligent of people – again they are often from wealthy families and get where they are because of the networks they have and the people who would benefit from their compliance.
In the school yard intelligent people are routinely targeted for physical assault by those with more raw strength.
Society often demonstrates power against intelligence in the form of strike action by unions who can disrupt society through coordinated action.
And gangs can change/destroy lives through the use of sheer force.
So What Can a Smart Computer Do?
Not a lot! Humans can pull the plug.
Of course if you network a large number of computers and attach them to electrical sources they control along with physically strong mechanical systems – perhaps portable systems (e.g. robotic drones) – then you have a realistic power threat.
But nobody will be that stupid, right?
Is Intelligence Then No Value?
Intelligence does have value. But, by itself, is not a replacement for raw physical or political power. Intelligence helps gain a slight advantage where two parties have equal power. But intelligence is not enough to wipe out or control another.
How Can You Be Sure?
I’m not. This is a personal theory with no scientific evidence to back it up.