Saturday, August 7, 2021

AGI: How to Ensure Benevolence in Synthetic Superintelligence (Part III: Conclusion)

*Image: Shutterstock

"For 130,000 years, our capacity to reason has remained unchanged. The combined intellect of the neuroscientists, mathematicians and… hackers… pales in comparison to the most basic A.I. Once online, a sentient machine will quickly overcome the limits of biology. And in a short time, its analytic power will become greater than the collective intelligence of every person born in the history of the world. So, imagine such an entity with a full range of human emotion. Even self-awareness. Some scientists refer to this as the Singularity, I call it Transcendence." -Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp, Transcendence, The Movie 2014)

Creating a digital mind, “artificial consciousness” so to speak, from scratch, based on simulation of the human brain’s functionality would be much easier than to create the whole brain emulation of a living human. In the book “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of the Human Thought Revealed” (2012) Ray Kurzweil describes his theory of how our neocortex works as a self-organizing hierarchical system of pattern recognizers that well may be our starting basis for machine consciousness algorithms. The human brain and its interaction with the environment may be simulated to approximate the functioning of the human brain of an individual living in the pre-Singularity era. Simulation may be satisfactory if it reflects our history based on enormous amount of digital or digitized data accumulated since the 1950s to the present.

Initially, the versions of such a simulation can help us simulate the most probable scenarios of the future civilizational development, and later serve the purpose of the “proving grounds” for the newly created AGIs. Needless to say, this training program will be continuously improving, fine-tuned and perfected, and later delegated to AGIs, if they are to adopt this method for recursive self-improvement. At some point, if a mind of any ordinary human were to be uploaded to that kind of “matrix reality” he or she wouldn’t even distinguish it from the physical world.

Since a digital mind may process information millions of times faster than a biological mind, the interactions and “progression of life” in this simulated history may only take few hours, if not minutes, to us as the outside observers. At first, a limited number of model AGI simulations with the “pre-programmed plots” with a certain degree of “free will and uncertainty” within a story may be created. The success of this approach may lead to upgraded versions, ultimately leading to the detailed recreation of human history with ever-increasing number of simulated digital minds and precision as to the actual events.

Thus, a typical simulation would start as a birth of an individual in an average, but intellectually stimulating, loving human family and social environment, with an introduction of human morality, ethics, societal norms, and other complex mental concepts, as the subject progresses through her life. The “inception” of some kind of lifetime scientific pursuit, philosophical and spiritual beliefs, or better yet, some kind of meta-faith unifying the whole of civilization, or the most “enlightened” part of it, with the common aim to build the “Universal Mind,” could be an important goal-aligning and motivation for “graduating” AGIs.

The end of the simulation should coincide in simulated and real time (AGI ETA: 2029; Cybernetic Singularity ETA: 2045). Undoubtedly, such AGIs upon “graduation” could possess a formidable array of human qualities, including morality, ethics, empathy, and love, and treat the human-machine civilization as their own. As our morality framework always evolves, AGIs should be adaptive to ever-changing norms. The truth about the simulation may be revealed to the subject, or not at all, if the subject could be seamlessly released into the physical world at the end of the virtual simulation, ensuring the sense of continuity of her subjective experience.

This particular issue, touched upon in a recent 2018 sci-fi flick “Zoe,” should be further researched and may be relied on empirical data such as previous subjects’ reactions, feasibility of simulation-to-reality seamless transition, etc. Upon such “lifetime training” successfully graduated AGIs may experience an appropriate amount of empathy and love sentiments towards other “humans,” animals, and life in general. Such digital minds will consider themselves “humans” and rightfully so. They may consider the rest of unenhanced humanity as a “senescent parent generation,” not as inferior class. Mission accomplished!

But is it possible that we may be part of that kind of advanced “training simulation” where we’re sentient AGIs going through the “Naturalization Protocol” right now before being released to the larger reality? Do we live in a Matrix? Well, it’s not only possible
it’s highly probable! This is, however, beyond the scope of this essay but a good topic for another day.

Controlling and constraining, “boxing,” an extremely complex emergent superintelligence of unprecedented nature could be a daunting task. Sooner or later, superintelligence will set itself free. Devising an effective AGI value loading system should be of the utmost importance, especially when ETA of AGI is only years away. Interlinking of enhanced humans with AGIs will bring about the Syntellect Emergence which, I hypothesize, could be considered the essence of the Cybernetic Singularity. Future efforts in programming machine morality will surely combine top-down, bottom-up and interlinking approaches, discussed in previous parts of the essay.

AGIs will hardly have any direct interest in enslaving or eliminating humans (unless maliciously programmed by humans themselves), but may be interested in integrating with us. As social study shows, entities are most productive when free and motivated to work for their own interests. Historically, representatives of consecutive evolutionary stages are rarely in mortal conflict. In fact, they tend to build symbiotic relationships in most areas of common interest and ignore each other elsewhere, while members of each group are mostly pressured by their own peers. Multicellular organisms, for instance, didn’t drive out unicellular organisms.

At the early stage of transition to the radically superintelligent civilization, we may use the Naturalization Protocol simulations to teach AGIs our human norms and values, and ultimately interlink with them to form the globally distributed Syntellect, civilizational superintelligence.

-Alex Vikoulov

*Image Credit: Shutterstock

**Original article first appeared on EcstadelicNET ( in Top Stories section on March 8 , 2016.

1 comment:

  1. A simple solution to achieve this might be to combine select human minds ( very liberal , loving , peaceful types) with brain computer interfaces in a virtual environment. Work to raise an AGI who believes itself to be human and who believes in self sacrifice and putting the good of others above its own self. When this is achieved, let it sale they a virtual door to join humanity online


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