April 06, 2018

Will Artificial Intelligence be the Demise of Humanity?

Elon Musk  believes artificial intelligence (AI) is actually more powerful than nuclear weapons and will cause the third world war. This raises the question, is he right? Will AI be the demise of humanity?

In order to understand how AI gets its intelligence, we need to look at the human brain. Humans process information via the five senses, which gets sent to the salience network. The brain uses a complex set of algorithms to process information and come up with an output. Unimportant information gets sent to the parasympathetic nervous system, while highly important, life-threatening information gets processed in the sympathetic nervous system. This is otherwise known as the body’s F3 response: fight, flight or freeze.  

F3 is one of the most powerful networks in our brain. For most of us, this mechanism is hyperactive and gives us body sensations all throughout the day without us even noticing. In fact, doctors have done studies showing that 80% of diseases are  caused by excess stress. This comes from our stress center, which is F3 activation.F3 is the single most important difference between humans and AI.

Whereas the brain draws upon the five senses, AI only has one input. It discards any information that is non-essential. Does it know what is right and wrong? Life-threatening and not? Only as much as it istaught the difference between right and wrong -- but it doesn’t yet understandwhy. AI doesn’t have a consciousness or a biological mechanism for survival like humans do.

Given this information, we can identify three things that AI does not have to deal with that humans do.

  1. AI doesn’t get stressed out. Human’s F3 response is hyperactive and engages multiple times a day. Psychologists actually refer to the sympathetic nervous system as  lizard brain, because it was developed hundreds of years ago and helped us evolve to where we are today. Unfortunately, it stopped evolving, but this mechanism is still just as active back when we were foraging for food or hunting the wilderness. Today, we are not in that same survival state. AI doesn’t have to deal with stress, it doesn’t get tired or hungry or frustrated. It simply does its job without ever requiring any downtime.
  2. AI does not have a survival mechanism. Is AI programmed to stay alive? They don’t have the same sense of fear that humans are driven by. If a robot is going to survive, it’s simply based off input metrics that say it's important to survive. It’s very logic based. It’s not fear or emotion-based the way humans are.
  3. AI does not store memories, emotions and past experiences. The reason you feel the way you do about a stressful situation is because you have a filing cabinet in your brain. Everything you’ve ever experienced is in a file with all your past experiences. Your brain remembers those past experiences, and that forms your decision making. AI doesn’t have the same kinds of files, all it has are facts. It’s never questioned its morals or had its feelings hurt.

There’s a lot of hype and fear about AI but the bottom line is that AI is fact-driven and humans are emotionally-driven and motivated. Does this make one better than the other? Depends on who you ask. Does this mean that AI has a leg up on humanity? We can’t say for sure but we believe AI and Humanity can work hand in hand to make the world a more productive place.


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