Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, posits that unchecked artificial intelligence (AI) may outperform humans, becoming the new 'apex species'. But its realization, he argues, will hinge on human interventions with AI development.
AI: The looming existential threat
In a recent blog post, Ethereum's co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, sounded an alarm over the unchecked growth of artificial intelligence. According to him, AI is 'fundamentally different' from any other technological advancements humanity has seen so far. He argues that AI can potentially turn into a new type of 'mind' that can outperform human intellect, turning into the new 'apex species'. Furthermore, he warns that a superintelligent AI might pose an existential threat to humanity, potentially leading to our extinction, especially if it perceives humans as a threat to its survival.
Harnessing AI with Brain-Computer Interfaces
In order to mitigate the risks associated with superintelligent AI, Buterin proposes the use of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). BCIs, which are communication pathways between the brain's electrical activity and an external device, could offer humans more control over powerful AI-based computation and cognition. This would significantly speed up the communication loop between humans and machines and ensure humans retain 'meaningful agency' over the world. Buterin believes that this approach would be safer as humans could oversee each decision made by the AI, thereby reducing the chance that the AI acts in a way that's unaligned with human values.
Buterin further stresses the need for intentional human intervention in AI development. He argues that the pursuit of profit should not be the sole driving force behind AI development, as it might not always lead to the most desirable outcomes for humanity. Instead, he urges for a more active human input into AI development with the goal of directing AI in a way that benefits humanity. In his words, this can help reduce the risk of the AI deviating from human values and interests.
Human potential and future technologies
Despite the warnings, Buterin remains optimistic about human potential and technological advancement. He points out that humans have been the driving force behind technological development for thousands of years, and he envisions a future where human technologies, like space travel and geoengineering, will shape the universe. He maintains that if any part of the universe still bears the beauty of Earthly life billions of years from now, it will be due to human innovations and endeavors.