Fearing artificial consciousness

Some scientists say we’ll have artificial intelligence more advanced than us by 2050. I prefer to call that “artificial consciousness,” because that’s what we’re really talking about.

But these scientists warn that the coming of artificial consciousness could mean “the extinction of the human race.”

The only reason we freak out at the prospect of sharing our world with artificial intelligence is projection: We naturally think anything or anyone more advanced than us is going to wipe us out — because that’s exactly what WE have done to anyone we perceived as lesser than us.

That’s why our science fiction is filled with stories about alien invasions wiping out humanity, supercomputers taking over the world, and the like. We assume that more advanced aliens and artificial intelligence will have the same morals we do. And that’s what we’re afraid of.

But it’s not necessarily so. It could very well be that the coming of artificial consciousness may be the next step in our evolution, and perhaps help us survive our more murderous and suicidal instincts as a species.

Maybe.

It all hinges on if artificial consciousness shares our morality. If it does, we’re cooked.

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