Artificial superintelligence is an AI system that is self-aware and intelligent enough to surpass the cognitive abilities of humans.
What Is Super AI?
Artificial superintelligence (ASI) is a form of AI that is capable of surpassing human intelligence by manifesting cognitive skills and developing thinking skills of its own.
Also known as super AI, artificial superintelligence is considered the most advanced, powerful, and intelligent type of AI that transcends the intelligence of some of the brightest minds, such as Albert Einstein.
Machines with superintelligence are self-aware and can think of abstractions and interpretations that humans cannot. This is because the human brain’s thinking ability is limited to a set of a few billion neurons.
Apart from replicating multi-faceted human behavioral intelligence, ASI can also understand and interpret human emotions and experiences. ASI develops emotional understanding, beliefs, and desires of its own, based on the comprehension capability of the AI.
ASI finds application in virtually all domains of human interests, be it math, science, arts, sports, medicine, marketing, or even emotional relations. An ASI system can perform all the tasks humans can, from defining a new mathematical theorem for a problem to exploring physics law while venturing into outer space.
ASI systems can quickly understand, analyze, and process circumstances to stimulate actions. As a result, the decision-making and problem-solving capabilities of super-intelligent machines are expected to be more precise than humans.
Currently, superintelligence is a theoretical possibility rather than a practical reality as most of the development today in computer science, and AI is inclined toward artificial narrow intelligence (ANI). This implies that AI programs are designed to solve only specific problems.
Machine learning and deep learning algorithms are further advancing such programs by utilizing neural networks as the algorithms learn from the results to iterate and improve upon themselves.
Thus, such algorithms process data more effectively than previous AI versions. However, despite the advancements in neural nets, these models can only solve problems at hand, unlike human intelligence.
Engineers, AI researchers, and practitioners are developing technology and machines with artificial general intelligence (AGI), which is expected to pave the way for ASI development. Although there have been significant developments in the area, such as IBM’s Watson supercomputer and Apple’s Siri, today’s computers cannot fully simulate and achieve an average human’s cognitive abilities and capabilities.
Typical characteristics of ASI
Luminaries in AI are still skeptical about the progression and sustainability of ASI in the long run. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research in January 2021, researchers from premier institutes such as the Max Planck Institute concluded that it would be almost impossible for humans to contain super AIs.
The team of researchers explored the recent developments in machine learning, computational capabilities, and self-aware algorithms to map out the true potential of super-intelligent AI. They then performed experiments to test the system against some known theorems to evaluate whether containing it is feasible, if at all possible.
Nevertheless, if accomplished, superintelligence will usher a new era in technology with the potential to initiate another industrial revolution at a jaw-dropping pace. Some of the typical characteristics of ASI that will set it apart from other technologies and forms of intelligence include:
- ASI will be one of the finest and possibly the last inventions that humans would ever need to make as it will constantly evolve to become more intelligent.
- Superintelligence will accelerate technological progress across various fields such as AI programming, space research, discovery and development of medicines, academics, and plenty others.
- ASI may further mature and develop advanced forms of superintelligence that may even enable artificial minds to be copied.
- ASI, in the future, may also lead to technological singularity.
Potential Threats of Super AI Systems
While artificial superintelligence has numerous followers and supporters, many theorists and technological researchers have cautioned on the idea of machines surpassing human intelligence.
They believe that such an advanced form of intelligence could lead to a global catastrophe, as shown in several Hollywood movies such as Star Trek and Matrix. Moreover, even technology experts such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk are apprehensive about ASI and consider it a threat to humanity.
Here are some of the potential threats of superintelligence.
1. Loss of control and understanding
One potential danger of superintelligence that has received a lot of attention from experts worldwide is that ASI systems could use their power and capabilities to carry out unforeseen actions, outperform human intellect, and eventually become unstoppable.
Advanced computer science, cognitive science, nanotechnology, and brain emulations have achieved greater-than-human machine intelligence.
If something goes wrong with any one of these systems, we won’t be in a position to contain them once they emerge. Moreover, predicting the system’s response to our requests will be very difficult.
Loss of control and understanding can thus lead to the destruction of the human race altogether.
2. The weaponization of super AI
Today, it seems logical enough to think that highly advanced AI systems could potentially be used for social control or weaponization. Governments around the world are already using AI to strengthen their military operations.
However, the addition of weaponized and conscious superintelligence could only transform and impact warfare negatively.
Additionally, if such systems are unregulated, they could have dire consequences. Superhuman capabilities in programming, research & development, strategic planning, social influence, and cybersecurity could self-evolve and take positions that could become detrimental to humans.
3. Failure to align human and AI goals
Super AI can be programmed to our advantage; however, there lies a non-zero probability of super AI developing a destructive method to achieve its goals. Such a situation may arise when we fail to align our AI goals.
For example, if you give a command to an intelligent car to drive you to the airport as fast as possible, it might get you to the destination but may use its own route to comply with the time constraint.
Similarly, if a super AI system is assigned a critical geoengineering project, it may disturb the overall ecosystem while completing the project. Moreover, any human attempt to stop the super AI system may be viewed by it as a threat to achieving its goals, which wouldn’t be an ideal situation to be in.
4. Malevolent superintelligence
The successful and safe development of AGI and superintelligence can be ensured by teaching it the aspects of human morality. However, ASI systems can be exploited by governments, corporations, and even sociopaths for various reasons, such as oppressing certain societal groups. Thus, superintelligence in the wrong hands can be devastating.
5. The danger of nuclear attacks
With ASI, autonomous weapons, drones, and robots could acquire significant power. The danger of nuclear attacks is another potential threat of superintelligence. Enemy nations can attack countries with technological supremacy in AGI or superintelligence with advanced and autonomous nuclear weapons, ultimately leading to destruction.
6. Ethical implications
Super-intelligent AI systems are programmed with a predetermined set of moral considerations. The problem is humanity has never agreed upon a standard moral code and has lacked an all-encompassing ethical theory.
As a result, teaching human ethics and values to ASI systems can be quite complex.
Super-intelligent AI can have serious ethical complications, especially if AI exceeds the human intellect but is not programmed with the moral and ethical values that coincide with human society.
Potential Advantages of Super AI
Artificial superintelligence is an emerging technology that simulates human reasoning, emotions, and experiences in AI systems. Although detractors continue to debate the existential risks of super AI, the technology seems to be very beneficial as it can revolutionize any professional sector.
Let’s look at the potential advantages of super AI.
1. Reduction in human error
It’s human to make errors. Computers, or machines, when appropriately programmed, can considerably reduce the instances of these mistakes. Consider the field of programming and development.
Programming is a time- and resource-consuming process that demands logical, critical, and innovative thinking.
Human programmers and developers often encounter syntactical, logical, arithmetic, and resource errors. Super AI can be helpful here as it can access millions of programs, build logic from the available data on its own, compile and debug programs, and at the same time, keep programming errors to a minimum.
2. Replace humans to accomplish risky tasks
One of the most significant advantages of super AI is that the risk limitations of humans can be overcome by deploying super-intelligent robots to accomplish dangerous tasks. These can include defusing a bomb, exploring the deepest parts of the oceans, coal and oil mining, or even dealing with the consequences of natural or human-induced disasters.
Consider the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that occurred in 1986. At the time, AI-powered robots were not yet invented. The nuclear power plant’s radiation was so intense that it could kill any human who went close to the core in a matter of minutes.
Authorities were forced to use helicopters to pour sand and boron from a distance above.
However, with significant technological advancements, super intelligent robots can be deployed in such situations where salvage operations can be carried out without any human intervention.
3. 24×7 Availability
Although most humans work for 6 to 8 hours a day, we need some time out to recuperate and get ready for work the very next day. We also need weekly offs to keep a healthy work-life balance. However, using super AI, we can program machines to work 24×7 without any breaks.
For example, educational institutes have helpline centers that receive several queries daily. This can be effectively handled using super AI, providing query-specific solutions round the clock. Super AI can also offer subjective student counseling sessions to academic institutions.
4. Explore new science frontiers
Super AI can facilitate space exploration, as the technical challenges in developing a city on Mars, interstellar space travel, and even interplanetary travel can be addressed by the problem-solving capabilities of advanced AI systems.
With a thinking ability of its own, super AI can be effectively used to test and estimate the success probabilities of many equations, theories, researches, rocket launches, and space missions.
Organizations such as NASA, SpaceX, ISRO, and others are already using AI-powered systems and supercomputers such as the Pleiades to expand their space research efforts.
5. Medical advances
The development of super AI can also benefit the healthcare industry vertical significantly. It can play a pivotal role in drug discovery, vaccine development, and drug delivery. A 2020 research paper by Nature revealed the design and use of miniaturized intelligent nanobots for intracellular drug delivery.
AI applications in healthcare for vaccine and drug delivery are already a reality today. Moreover, with the addition of conscious superintelligence, the discovery and delivery of new strains of medicines will become much more effective.
5 Key Trends for Super AI Advancements in 2023
Post-pandemic, we have witnessed accelerated adoption of AI and ML across industries. Moreover, automation, coupled with AI hardware and software developments, further pushes the super AI envelope.
Although ASI is still in its infancy stage, recent AI trends will almost certainly lay the foundation for advanced AI systems in the future.
Let’s look at the five key AI trends that will speed up super AI advancements in 2023.
1. Development of large language models (LLMs)
Language models use NLP techniques and algorithms to predict the occurrence of a sequence of words in a sentence. Such models are expert systems that can summarize textual data and create visual charts from those very texts.
LLM models are trained on massive datasets. Popular examples of LLMs include OpenAIs GPT-2 and GPT-3 and Google’s BERT. Similarly, Naver, a South Korean company, has built a comprehensive AI-based Korean language model, HyperCLOVA.
These models can generate simple essays, develop next-generation conversation AI tools, and even design complex financial models for corporations.
2. Advancements in multimodal AI
Deep learning algorithms have trained the underlying models on a single data source. For example, an NLP model is trained on the text data source, while a computer vision model is trained on an image dataset.
Similarly, an acoustic model uses wake word detection and noise cancellation parameters to handle speech. The type of ML employed here is a single modal AI as the model outcome is mapped to one source of data type—text, images, and speech.
On the other hand, Multimodal AI combines visual and speech modalities to create scenarios that match human perception. DALL-E from OpenAI is a recent example of multimodal AI-generated images from texts.
Google’s multimodal AI – multitask unified model (MUM) – helps enhance the user search experience since the search results are shortlisted by considering contextual information mined from 75 different languages.
Another example is NVIDIA’s GauGAN2 model, which generates photo-realistic images from text inputs. It uses text-to-image generation to develop the finest photorealistic art.
3. AI-driven programming
There has been significant development in AI-driven programming in the last couple of years. Several tools such as Amazon CodeGuru have provided relevant recommendations to improve overall code quality by determining the application’s costly code.
Moreover, recently, GitHub and OpenAI launched ‘Github Copilot’ as an ‘AI pair programmer’ to help programmers and developers write efficient code. Another example comes from Salesforce, where CodeT5 has been launched as an open-source project to assist programmers with AI-powered coding.
Thus, advancements in LLMs and wider availability of open source code will promote intelligent code generation, which will be compact and high quality. Additionally, such systems will also translate code from one language to another, opening up an application’s code to a broader community.
4. Vertical integration of AI solutions
Top AI vendors such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft now commercialize their AI-based products. Amazon Connect and Google Contact Center AI are efforts for better contact center management.
Both products leverage ML capabilities that offer automated assistance to contact center agents and drive conversations through bots.
Moreover, Microsoft’s Azure Percept provides computer vision and conversational AI capabilities at the edge. It is based on IoT, AI, and edge computing services on Azure. The convergence of all these technologies, cutting-edge research in LLMs, and conversational and multimodal AIs will make the development of super AI possible in 2024.
5. AI-generated inventions
AI is already powering inventions in almost every domain, from creating music, art, and literature to developing scientific theories. Recently, DABUS, an artificial inventive machine, came up with ideas for two patentable inventions.
While the first invention relates to a device that attracts attention and is helpful in search and rescue operations, the second is a type of beverage container.
Moreover, it has been observed that the DABUS machine also has an emotional appreciation for whatever ideas it conceives. With advanced AI systems in place, the number of such inventions that solve complex problems can considerably increase over the coming years.
Progress in multimodal AI will give rise to the next wave in ‘creative AI,’ where AI-generated images, infographics, and even videos will be realized.
Although the scope of artificial superintelligence is yet to be fully realized, it has garnered immense attention from researchers worldwide. ASI brings numerous risks to the table, yet AI practitioners feel achieving it will be a significant accomplishment for humanity, as it may allow us to unravel the fascinating mysteries of the universe and beyond.
Today, the future of super AI looks extremely bright, despite the uncertainty and fear revolving around its unpredictable nature and the dire consequences that malevolent superintelligence may throw at us.
The coming decades will reveal the true nature of superintelligence and whether it will prove to be a boon or bane to humanity.