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Thoughts on the Book 'Brief Answers to the Big Questions' (Ch. 9)

by Selena Vazquez 3 years ago in book review
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Chapter 9

Stephen Hawking made the statement, “Intelligence is central to what it means to be human.” This statement stood out to me because I never really thought about intelligence that way, it was just something we have. I feel like it can also be central to non-human animals because there are many of them that are extremely intelligent(not my dog though he is dumb, but I love him).

Hawking asserted, “Everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence.” This statement stood out to me because civilization has done terrible things and I don't consider the people who did that to have any semblance of intelligence. Hawking claimed, “It therefore follows that computers can, in principle, emulate human intelligence, or even better it.” This stood out to me because there probably is going to be a point where artificial intelligence outsmarts us, especially if they can get smarter faster than we can.

Hawking continues to state, “…the result is that computers are likely to overtake humans in intelligence at some point in the next hundred years.” I am pretty sure I will not be able to see this, which is sad to a certain extent because I do not want to get killed by robots, but I am very curious to see exactly how a robot revolution happens. If robots were to overtake us, who would they kill first, would they enslave us, would they kill all humans, would they kill animals too, will it be a worldwide movement, will there be robots that help us, what would they do after, is there a robot president, etc… There are a lot of questions that I would love to see get answered, but I will probably be dead.

Hawking exclaims, “… we may face an intelligence explosion that ultimately results in machines whose intelligence exceeds ours by more than ours exceeds that of snails.” This statement stood out to me because Hawking is implying that we have an extremely higher intelligence than snails do and there is chance robots are even more intelligent than that. Also how exactly do we measure that intelligence? How do we know we are so much more intelligent than snails? I would love to see what a robot who is more intelligent than any human looks like and how they would act. I would also be extremely curious to find out what they believed in terms of God, gender, sexuality, etc… What exactly would a robot's opinions be or would they have none?

Hawking asserts, “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.” I completely agree because the benefits of AI are insurmountable, but the risks and the downsides are huge. I do not believe the human race is ready for that responsibility because if we do not even do see members of our species as equal, how are we supposed to handle the immense responsibility that comes with AI.

Hawking postulates, “And in the future AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours.” This statement stood out to me because I am wondering what these conflicts would be, what interests would the robots have. If it is world domination, when would it happen? Would something click in them and then all of a sudden they want to rule the world or is it a slow process? There are a lot of questions. Hawking asserts, “Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.” I like how this statement is worded and it makes a lot of sense to me, but it is also scary because technology has so much positive and negative potential.

Hawking claims, “In short, the advent of super-intelligent AI would be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.” I believe that the worst thing to ever happen to humanity is humans and we have ruined everything, so I do not see why we would not screw this up too. Hawking made the statement, “It examines whether or not providing legal rights for robots as electronic persons, on a par with the legal definition of corporate personhood, would be permissible.” This sentence was crazy to me because gay people do not have equal rights, trans people do not have equal rights, women are have their bodily rights taken away and we are worrying about whether or not a robot deserves rights, can we please make sure every human has equal rights first and then talk about robots.

Hawking states, “…we don’t give whales and gorillas personhood, so there is no need to jump at robotic personhood.” I am not advocating for non-human animals to have voting rights or marriage right or anything like that, but they still deserve more rights than robots, especially in terms of protection and animal cruelty. As I said before can we focus on the real living being on this planet first.

Hawking postulates, “The repost acknowledges the possibility that pithing a few decades AI could surpass human intellectual capacity and challenged the human-robot relationship.” This made my mind go to robot and human couples. I do not know if that is ever going to happen, but it could and that is crazy to think about.

According to Hawking, “By 2025, there will be about thirty mega-cities, each with more than ten million inhabitants.” That statement is so gross, I really do not want more humans on this planet, I can only hope those new humans will be better than the ones on this earth now. Also, 2025 is like two seconds away, which is crazy. Hawking ends with the sentence, “Our future is a race between the growing power of our technology and the wisdom with which we use it.” This is true because technological capabilities are increasing and we need to change along with it. I do not believe humans are ready for this and I am not sure we ever will be.

book review

About the author

Selena Vazquez

She/Her/Hers-Fandoms-Books-Movies-TV shows-Intersectional Feminist-Slytherin-Aquarius- Just an IB student trying to get CAS hours-

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