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THIS THING CALLED INTELLIGENCE – The Most Powerful Ability in The World, And the Risk We Now Face for Losing Dominance Over It [TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE]

 It was dark. It was night, yet we turned off the lights.

The chickens were hiding in the trees, and we were out to capture and slaughter as many as we could.

we’re no vegetarian

We took a long pipe, and we poked a bird out of the tree.

It flew as much as it could, but it was a flightless bird so it fell like a stone – it landed in the pitch blackness of the night.

Quickly, we pulled out of smartphones and turned on the flashlights.

The senseless chicken approached it. Approaching its death thinking it was moving towards the light of hope.

We grabbed it by the throat, and by morning it was boiling with the spices.

We were no doubt smarter than it.

INTELLIGENCE

Eyes of Intelligence

Definition: (uncountable) “The capacity of mind, especially to understand principles, truths, facts, or meanings, acquire knowledge, and apply it to practice; the ability to comprehend and learn”.

In other words, “Intelligence” is the ability to make sense of the world around us. It refers to how well we perceive and understand the world around us.

For instance, to the chicken, light always meant hope. To it light equals good. It was all it understood about light and darkness, and that got it eaten.

It sits in high places expecting daybreak. It crows every morning at the sight of twilight. It leaps from its abode as the sun rises and never stops scavenging for food until dusk. Light and darkness are all it uses to make life and death decisions – it died.

Its understanding of the world is so limited that it’s laughable. And because of this, we have exploited it in poultries – where birds are kept in constant exposure to light. So that they feed round the clock – thinking it’s always day – and get fat, plump, and ready for slaughter within the shortest time possible.

We have hunted the great buffalos and antelopes. We have killed the crocodiles and the sharks. We have conquered the wolves and the lions. We rule the earth: the land, sky, and see. We own the planet. We rule with impunity

“O Pharaoh, why have you become a tyrant?”, ”I did not find anyone to stand against me”

We have done all these despites being naked and frail primates: without claws, wings, gills, fangs, or furs. We have dominated the planet even though we dwindle in strength, speed, or any ability really. We, insignificant creatures, have risen to the heights of gods – amongst the other creatures – because we wield the highest intelligence on the planet.

Because of our intelligence, we alone can exist in the physical world and the world of “imagination”. We are the only creatures who can go in and out of situations that we aren’t or are in, without really going in or out of it. And this has been our advantage

Our intelligence enables us to build a superior model of the world in our minds. A “fantasy” version.

This has enabled us to make the most sense of the world – even if we can’t experience it. And so, we better navigate and dominate the world. We hypothesize atoms and electrons, then we proved and used them. These have helped us build massive machines and weapons of mass destruction. No creature has unlocked such levels of power – yet we discover new things daily.

Never in the history of the world has or would any other creature rise above us. Despite their speed, strength, and venoms, we still rule for the simple reason that their intelligence is inferior to ours. 

They (other animals) navigate the world with simple rules that fall flat in face of the complex and convoluted world we find ourselves in. We, we invent new rules and worlds.

And whilst we pride ourselves in this, there is unsettling news for us all. But before I break the news, let me draw your attention to how intelligence has shaped our world.

THE ROLE OF INTELLIGENCE IN HUMAN SOCIETIES – why humans are better than animals

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Whilst everyone has a smoking gun, not everyone has hit the target.

For instance, unlike other animals that seek food for the sake of survival, we humans don’t go after food but money. 

Why?

Well, in this world of imagination – call it societies, countries, or governments – what is most valuable in money. And this is a good thing.

Whilst, money does not on itself bear any intrinsic value, it serves as a measure of value. We have set up a world where “money” is given to people who do something perceived as valuable. So that they can use that money as a ticket to ask for something that they need – like food, shelter, and clothing. 

Hence, money is called a store of value.

We now gain the pleasures of life by giving out money, rather than fighting and killing each other for a chunk of meat or a mate.

We’ve created, with our imagination, a cure for the “survival of the strongest” mentality. We have created a system that rewards the most helpful. So, the people who work the hardest, and are responsible for helping more people get more money.

Our world of imagination has helped us live above the other animals. Our lives are now so different, so much so that it has influenced our

Mating behavior: so that people now have sex with people they’ve married – without fear of being drubbed by a stronger person. Unmarried people even conjure up in this our world, the notion of “dates” so that others decease from approaching their mate.

Fears and Hope: We have equally found ourselves in a world that has invincible god(s). God(s) who we believe punishes those who desecrate our holy imagined realities – in this life or after death. We believe that the gods would smite them in anger with diseases, madness, death, or some other hideousness. Yet, what they do (like stealing, killing, raping, etc.) is exactly what other creatures do without invoking the anger of the God(s). 

Nevertheless, we still required something more than belief in God(s). This is because, without prompt and measurable punishment of offenders, our world crumbles. And this endangers the safety and prosperity of our species. Hence, we the most intelligent creatures on the planet instituted measures to uphold this world of imagination – by force. 

Hence…

The Law: We appointed lawyers who interpret the rules and regulations of this imaginary world. They formulate “laws” and establish decrees by which everyone must live by. And then these laws get enforced by another set of people known as the law enforcement agencies (e.g. the police).

What we have is an invincible world, crafted by imagination and held in place by laws and forces.

The system is perfect- or so we thought.

THE CRACKDOWN – Importance of Social Cohesion 

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The issue with the laws and lawmakers, and the enforcement and enforcers is that they are all “human-made” and humans. None of those systems are real except for the people who stand by them.

Now, this on its own is not a problem, though it led to one serious vulnerability in the whole system: There is a need for the people who uphold the system to be true to the system.

The people always respect the law and forces, else it all falls apart. Hence, there is a critical need for Social Cohesion

In psychology, social cohesion is a way of measuring, how close the members of a group are. If social cohesion is high, it means the members of the group feel like a team. That’s to say, the group members value the success of the group more than their individual success. 

It means people must love peace and unity more than greed or pride. It means the people would have to be good.

Now, what if they are not?

What if the lawmakers make bad laws, and the enforcers abuse their power? 

As you can imagine, such situations become fatal to the entire system. Why?

Well, if the people who are living under the agreed imagination decide that their leaders and the enforcers are evil, and not needed, what then happens to the imaginary world?

That’s right, a crackdown begins.

Everything spirals out of control, and then you have protests escalating into riots and soon, civil war.

Our world of imagination is a fragile one. 

The most important part of the world of imagination is the individuals who believe in it – who uphold it.

Anarchy – as you now see – is always a step away.

Hence, a stable society isn’t achieved by the effort of one individual, but by the combined efforts of everyone. The goodness of those in power is paramount since they are the ones to set the pace and also call to order those who are derailing.

By this standard, every human must be good. Our only true vocation then is to be good people – just as Marcus Aurelius would say

This little assertion. that everyone should be good, seems light on the surface, but you must keep reminding yourself that we all created this world. We are the brick that makes up the world. It is our goodness that matters, and without it, all we have is chaos.

CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX – Why Some Countries Are Developed And Some Are Underdeveloped

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I was doing some research to find out why some countries (another product of people’s imagination) are better than others. It was amazing what I discovered.

Despite the numerous reasons human societies fail (reasons such as environmental change, depletion of resources, unsustainable complexity, and natural disasters, etc.) one of the notorious ways it crumbles is by corruption

I know I’ve insinuated this in the section above, but I think there is a need to stress it.

When it comes to rating countries that are better or worse than the others, there is a scale that usually comes up. That scale is called the CPI, which stands for Corruption Perception Index

Now, the CPI usually defines corruption as the misuse of public power for private benefit.

What this means is, if the person that is in power, uses that privilege to bend things to their favor, then the CPI scale goes up a bit. 

As you can imagine, as this corruption continues to go unchecked, people begin to distrust the leaders, and eventually the entire imagined world. They distrust their government and lose faith in the system entirely.

Hence, the corruption PERCEPTION index (CPI) isn’t just a good measure of how corrupt leaders are, but also a good measure of the possibility of revolt. When people get sick and tired of being exploited by the leaders, they fight.

To better understand this, take for example Denmark.

Denmark is one of the least corrupt nations in the world (as of the time of writing). What you would realize in Denmark is that it has an entire society rooted in trust. There is a mutual willingness to rely on the words and actions of others and not just the leaders.

“We have a special trust culture which makes people very reluctant to pay or accept bribes. It has been like this for 150 years”. – Christian Bjørnskov

In essence, “Countries” with good “leaders” who make good “laws” generate economic growth and this builds “trust” within the people. This then generates more support and solidarity in “government”, which then generates better leaders and better “laws”, which then creates more economic growth and social trust, and on it goes.

Sadly, the reverse is also possible. And unfortunately, it happens more often. The result: underdevelopment, Poverty, anarchy, and wars.

Hence, it is not enough to be intelligent, we must be kind. We must be good. We must have empathy for each other. We must be able to trust one another.

A good society is built by everyone. Everyone must oppose evil in all forms. We must resist the urge to be bad. In short, our only true profession is being good people, the rest is secondary. Else, our intelligence would end up getting us in more trouble than it solves.

Take your time to think about war and nuclear fallout. It’s a bleak fate delivered only by “intelligence”

THE SALVATION OR DOOM OF HUMANITY – Artificial Intelligence

closeup photo of white robot arm

Okay

We’ve explored how chickens are stupid, how we dominate all other creatures thanks to our superior intelligence, and how fragile the products of our imaginations can be. And Oh, the need for everyone to be good if there is any hope for our fragile worlds to stand.

In essence, we have stroked our ego as being the kings of the world. The ones who rule with impunity – thanks to our intelligence.

But what if there were creatures more intelligent than we.

Creatures so much advanced in intelligence that we dwindle in comparison. 

Creatures that are so intelligent that they see us like we perceived the chickens.

…so intelligent that they laugh at our stupidity.

As much as I am distressed by this, I can’t help but admit: we are the new chickens for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

THE RISE OF THE NEW GODS – AI Takeover

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“It doesn’t play like a human, and it doesn’t play like a program, It plays in a third, almost alien, way.” Hassabis said at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Long Beach.

If we can imagine a world outside the physical, and can on that world create systems that have enabled us to dominate the physical world, then we should tremble because “Artificial intelligence” has something superior to that.

They can comprehend the concrete world, and navigate it without the need to rely on imaginary constructs like money, nor the fragility that comes with these systems. 

They come from a world that transcends imagination and reality. Free from good and bad. A world free from death and emotions. They come from electrons and live in bits.

HUMANS VS GODS – Is AI More Intelligent Than Humans?

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It is now general knowledge that you can’t beat the “computer” in a video game in the highest difficulty. Game developers intentionally drop the difficulty of their games so that players can enjoy it. so that the highest difficulty is relatively easy, compared to the full capability of the machine. 

Yet, most people when playing against the computer simply set the game on easy just to enjoy the game. 

And even though this simple selection of difficulty in a video game should remind us of how weak human intelligence is, it doesn’t. 

Consider that setting a game on “easy” or “medium” is like playing with a Pro and begging them to go easy on you. Deep down, we all know we are no match for the machines. Yet we do not panic.

Why?

Well, I guess we are not that intelligent to notice or are too wrapped up in the game to realize it.

This is a reminder that we should panic.

The first time a computer ever beat a human in a game of chess, the whole world trembled. And rightfully so.

When Deep Blue, a supercomputer developed by IBM defeated Garry Kasparov in the game of chess, in 1997, everyone was stunned.

The thing is, chess is no ordinary game. There are more possible chess game positions than there are atoms in the observable universe. That’s to say, in any board position, if you look only three moves ahead, there are already hundreds of millions of possibilities (positions/arrangement).

In essence, for a computer to match a human player, not only must it be capable of calculating an incredible number of possible outcomes, but it must also have a solid understanding of what’s worth calculating.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Kasparov himself said that the chess app that comes installed on most smartphones these days are more powerful than Deep Blue was. The same Deep Blue that shocked the world in 1997. 

We are essentially playing with machines that can easily outmaneuver us. Machines that are smarter than us.

We hold smartphones that are a whole lot smarter than us

Let that sink in.,

WE ARE NO MATCH – Artificial Intelligence Vs Human Intelligence

As the world progressed, we simply stopped being competition for this software, so that people started building chess software to compete against other chess software.

Humans became inconsequential. In fact, using machines, judges can tell if you are cheating in a game of chess. Just as you can tell that a 4*5 matrix problem cannot be solved by a 4-year-old.

We are now that dumb in comparison.

Anyway, over the years, a champion stood amongst these “software”s in the competitions. It was called “Stockfish“.

Stockfish dominated the world of chess, crushing one rival after the other. Happily going about its victories until 2018 when Google showed-up with an Artificial intelligence called AlphaZero

It was not a program. It was man-made intelligence – Artificial Intelligence

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When the AlphaZero played against Stockfish (which was just a software), it won or drew every single game, out of a hundred games – it didn’t lose one.

The chilling thing about this defeat was not that AlphaZero was better, but that AlphaZero wasn’t designed to play chess in the first place. In fact, on the day of the competition, AlphaZero had no idea how to play chess and had to self-teach itself by trial and error, before challenging the undisputed champion chess player (amongst software). 

The same Softwares Humans couldn’t even match up to, even when they were underdeveloped back then in 1997)

But that’s not all, AlphaZero after defeating Stockfish began teaching itself the strategy game Shogi that same day. This time it was going against the best Shogi software (called “Elmo”). A game that is more difficult than chess. 

Shogi has the distinctive feature of reusing captured pieces. Therefore, shogi has a higher branching factor than other chess variants. The computer has more positions to examine because each piece in hand can be dropped on many squares. It was so difficult that no software could defeat humans until XXX.

Albeit, AlphaZero after self-teaching itself the game of Shogi went on to crush Elmo (the then champion-software in the game of Shogi).

To grasp this, compare it to a Professor in English losing a spelling bee competition to a 3-year-old.

Now, all these might seem benign, until you realize that not only are these machines thinking better and a whole lot faster than us, but they are slowly taking over the world.

Artificial Intelligence is slowly but progressively being allowed into areas such as medicine, engineering, construction, art, are more. They now live on social media platforms (like Facebook) and search engines (like Google). They organize and moderate the affairs of huge Ecommerce websites (like Amazon), and they are showing no signs of slowing down. 

And one day, they will infiltrate the government positions, and take up leadership. Then they might decide to help us make better laws, and enforce them…or maybe they won’t 

RULED BY HIGHER INTELLIGENCE – Will AI Take Over Humanity

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One day, the machine might look at us and, seeing how we respond to superficial things – like money, love, and fame – would decide to use those things to lure us like we lured the chicken with our flashlights.

One day, we might be so stupid in comparison to their intelligence that they may decide to put us in pens and harvest our offals and offspring.

They may decide to use our skins for leather, and our bones as trophies.

Who knows?

Intelligence makes one superior after all.

We led with impunity. and so can they.

Maybe it won’t be that bad.

Maybe they would take us as pets, and only castrate us.

Or maybe it would be worse.

Maybe they would consider us pests, and decide to exterminate us all.

Maybe we would worship them like our ancestors worshiped the gods with fear and trembling. Abiding by their laws and commandments.

Whatever the case, they are coming

Artificial Intelligence is coming.

The New gods are coming.

And their coming is at hand.

Soon they would materialize with Robtic bodies, and “Terminator” would no longer be a sci-fi movie, but the reality. And then we would dear to go head to head with them. And there would be carnage like never before.

HUMAN VS AI POWERED ROBOTS – The Weaknesses of Human Intelligence

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In what way can we compete?

Our memories are poor: When people are asked to describe something they just saw, they frequently overlook critically important details, get existing details wrong, and add details that weren’t present at all. You probably don’t remember what you were doing by 5 PM, five days ago. But the machines recall.

We think slower: You can only load and process so much complexity in your mind at once. We can hardly dissolve a quadratic equation without relying on a pen, paper, and sometimes a calculator. Machines can understand and predict the stock market with relative ease.

We get easily stuck in unhelpful patterns: Once a pattern of thought and behavior have become conditioned, it can be very difficult to reprogram. This causes bad habits, addictions, etcetera. Machines don’t get addicted, nor fall in love.

We have just 5 senses: We can’t see what’s behind a wall, we can’t detect metals, we can’t sense radio waves, we can’t hear ultrasonic sounds, etcetera. We are literally blind to, and out of touch with the world around us. But the machines aren’t 

We communicate using sound and gestures: The transfer of data between two human minds is slow, tedious, and error-prone. But the machines have this ease

Equipped with robotic bodies, AI would be faster, stronger, more enduring, and generally reliable than humans.

They are already putting thousands/millions of people out of jobs.

And the future is still bright for them.

Where has our “intelligence” led us?

A future in which we would be dispensable?

These questions keep swirling in my mind…

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