The fear of super-intelligence. Do machines get smarter than people?

The human brain stores and organizes information according to patterns and is thus the inspiration for artificial intelligence. In our brain, more than 100 billion nerve cells are connected, which store our knowledge in patterns, such as the sequence of an activity. Whether information is communicated in the brain depends on whether the connected neurons excite or inhibit each other. If a threshold value is exceeded in the excitation, the information is transmitted, otherwise not. This machinery of all or nothing pulses can be transferred to the binary 0-1 world of computers.

The fear of a super intelligence is always present

After all, in 2015 an AI has already beaten the best GO player in the world. But: The same machine would probably lose at the “Mensch-ärgere-Dich – nicht”. Why? Simple, because the rules have to be learned for each new game. But AI research is already addressing this challenge: DeepMinds AlphaZero already manages to optimize itself against itself on almost all complex board games!

Transfer learning: applying knowledge in other areas

The human ability to abstract knowledge and to transfer it to other processes is called “transfer learning” and is one of the core successes in deep learning: A laboriously trained multi-layered network can often be retrained to new domains very successfully and without great effort. As a result, an AI who plays chess well can also play Go.

So – smart, like man?

The human being, student and object of study at the same time, is astonishingly unexplored at its core. How can activity in the brain, in this wobbly grey mass, even trigger feelings? How can our “flesh” evoke subjective feelings? – are as yet unresolved scientific questions.

We feel and do not know why

Before we will know whether machines can become like us, we would have to understand ourselves better. We ourselves are our greatest mystery, not the machines! The unanswered questions are: How can something physical – that is, our body – produce something non-physical, subjective sensations and states – the core of our soul and personality? Only when we have understood the core of our existence, why we can feel and develop an identity, will we be able to answer whether machines will be able to, I think. That interests you? Then read this post too!

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