Hugo de Garis - this century’s global politics will be dominated by the "species dominance" issue. 21st century technologies will enable the building of artilects (artificial intellects, artificial intelligences, massively intelligent machines).The question that will dominate global politics this century will be whether humanity should or should not build these artilects

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Hugo de Garis, The Artilect War: Cosmists Vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent MachinesEtc Pubns, 2005.

This book’s main idea is that this century’s global politics will be dominated by the "species dominance" issue. 21st century technologies will enable the building of artilects (artificial intellects, artificial intelligences, massively intelligent machines) with 1040 components, using reversible, heatless, 3D, molecular scale, self assembling, one bit per atom, nano-teched, quantum computers, which may dwarf human intelligence levels by a factor of trillions of trillions and more.
The question that will dominate global politics this century will be whether humanity should or should not build these artilects. Those in favor of building them are called "Cosmists" in this book, due to their "cosmic" perspective. Those opposed to building them are called "Terrans," as in "terra," the Earth, which is their perspective. The Cosmists will want to build artilects, amongst other reasons, because to them it will be a religion, a scientist's religion that is compatible with modern scientific knowledge. The Cosmists will feel that humanity has a duty to serve as the stepping-stone towards building the next dominant rung of the evolutionary ladder. Not to do so would be a tragedy on a cosmic scale to them. The Cosmists will claim that stopping such an advance will be counter to human nature, since human beings have always striven to extend their boundaries. Another Cosmist argument is that once the artificial brain based computer market dominates the world economy, economic and political forces in favor of building advanced artilects will be almost unstoppable. The Cosmists will include some of the most powerful, the richest, and the most brilliant of the Earth's citizens, who will devote their enormous abilities to seeing that the artilects get built. A similar argument applies to the military and its use of intelligent weaponry. Neither the commercial nor the military sectors will be willing to give up artilect research unless they are subjected to extreme Terran pressure. To the Terrans, building artilects will mean taking the risk that the latter may one day decide to exterminate human beings, either deliberately or through indifference. The only certain way to avoid such a risk is not to build them in the first place. The Terrans will argue that human beings will fear the rise of increasingly intelligent machines and their alien differences. To build artilects will require an "evolutionary engineering" approach. The resulting complexities of the evolved structures that underlie the artilects will be too great for human beings to be able to predict the behaviors and attitudes of the artilects towards human beings. The Terrans will be prepared to destroy the Cosmists, even on a distant Cosmist colony, if the Cosmists go ahead with an advanced artilect building program. In the short to middle term, say the next 50 years or so, the artificial brain based industries will flourish, providing products that are very useful and very popular with the public, such as teacher robots, conversation robots, household cleaner robots, etc. In time, the world economy will be based on such products. Any attempt to stop the development of increasingly intelligent artilects will be very difficult, because the economic and political motivation to continue building them will be very strong in certain circles. If the brain-based computer industries were to stop their research and development into artilects, then many powerful individuals, including the artilect company presidents and certain politicians will lose big money and political influence. They will not give up their status without a fight. However, as the intelligence levels of the early artilects increases, it will become obvious to everyone that the intelligence gap between these artificial-brain-based products and human beings is narrowing. This will create a growing public anxiety. Eventually, some nasty incident or series of incidents will galvanize most of society against further increase of artificial intelligence in the artilects, leading to the establishment of a global ban on artilect research. The Cosmists however, will oppose a ban on the development of more intelligent artilects, and will probably go underground. If the incidents continue and are negative enough, the anger and hatred of the Terrans towards the Cosmists will increase to the point where the Cosmists may decide that their fate is to leave the Earth, an option that is quite realistic with 21st century technology. Since the Cosmists will include some of the most brilliant and economically powerful people on the planet, they will probably create an elite conspiratorial organization whose aim is to build artilects secretly. The book presents a scenario in which the Cosmists create an asteroid-based colony, masked by some innocuous activity. In reality, this secret society devises a weapon system superior to the best on the Earth. With their wealth and the best human brains, this may be achievable. They will also start making advanced artilects. If the Terrans on the Earth discover the true intentions of the Cosmists, they will probably want to destroy them, but not dare to because of the counter threat of the Cosmists with their more advanced weapons. The stage is thus set for a major 21st century war in which billions of people die – "gigadeath." This horrific number is derived from an extrapolation up the graph of the number of deaths in major wars from the beginning of the 19th century to the end of the 21st century. Approximately 200 million people died in the 20th century, for political reasons -- wars, purges, genocides, etc. The profound schizophrenia that the author feels on the Cosmist/Terran species dominance issue will be felt by millions of people within a few years he expects. There is probably Cosmist and Terran in nearly all of us, which may explain why this issue is so divisive. The author is simply one of the first to feel this schizophrenia. Within a decade it may be all over the planet. The last chapter of the book closes with a repetition of a pithy slogan that summarizes the two main viewpoints in the artilect debate in a nutshell; a debate that the author believes will be raging in the coming decades. "Do we build gods, or do we build our potential exterminators?"

A book that cannot and should not be ignored. It is too important and too disturbing to be. summarily dismissed -- Kevin Warwick

If you read only one book this year, this is it! It is a book that forces you to think. -- Richard W. Hostrop

Hugo de Garis: The Coming Artilect War   

Species Dominance
The issue of species dominance will dictate our global politics this century. Given the rate at which technologies are developing that enable “artilects”–artificial intellects–it is likely that humanity will be able to build artilects with mental capacities that are literally trillions upon trillions of times above the human level. Humanity will then have to choose whether to become the No. 2 species on the planet or not.
The AI Goldmine
In the coming few decades, the rise of artificial intelligence will be a veritable goldmine for humankind. I predict that by the year 2030, one of the world’s biggest industries will be “artificial brains,” used to control home robots that will be genuinely intelligent and useful. Millions, if not billions, of people will be prepared to spend more money on a household robot than on a car. It is my personal ambition in the next five to 10 years to persuade the federal government in China (where I’m directing the building of China’s first artificial brain) to create a CABA (Chinese Artificial Brain Administration), similar in scope to America’s NASA, consisting of thousands of scientists and engineers, to build artificial brains for the Chinese home robot industry and other applications. I suggest that the U.S. do something similar–a NABA.
Moore’s Law and e-Neuroscience
Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every 18 months. This trend has been valid for over 40 years and is likely to continue until around 2020, by which time we will be able to place one bit of information on a single atom. These atom-bits will be able to switch their state (a 0 or a 1) in femtoseconds, which are quadrillionths (1015) times of a second. There are a trillion, trillion (1024) atoms in a handheld object, such as an apple, so potentially, the information processing capacity of such an object would be about 1040 bits per second. Compare this number with the estimated equivalent of the human brain, which is about 1016 bits per second, or a trillion, trillion times smaller. You’ll begin to see why I believe that the rise of the artilect, a godlike intelligent machine, will be so disruptive later this century.
You may object that a massive bit-processing rate is only a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for generating hyper-intelligence. Agreed. What is also needed is the appropriate human brain-like neural circuitry, but this is coming too. Nanotechnology, or molecular scale engineering, is increasingly supplying the tools to decipher the secrets of human brain function. Today, thanks to Henri Markram’s work in Switzerland, every neural connection is known in a single cortical column of a rat brain’s cortex. (A rat has about a thousand such columns, each consisting of about 10,000 highly interconnected neurons, and the human brain contains about a million.)
This detailed connectivity knowledge has been put into supercomputers, so that computer-savvy neuroscientists can perform experiments in a computer, that is, conduct “e-neuroscience.” So a supercomputer will be able to perform the same functions as a rat’s cortical column, but a million times faster–at electronic speeds compared to the rat’s chemical speeds. Following Moore’s Law, the whole rat brain will be thus simulated within a decade, and the human brain a decade or two later.
The Species Dominance Debate
So in about a decade there will be a thriving artificial brain industry, and nearly everyone will have a home robot, which will be upgraded every two or three years. Each new home robot generation will be smarter and more useful than the previous generation, so that as the gap between the human intelligence level and the artificial intelligence level gets smaller every year, the species dominance debate will heat up. Millions of people will be asking such questions as: Can the machines become smarter than humans? Is that a good thing? Should there be a legislated upper limit to machine intelligence? Can the rise of machine intelligence be stopped? What if China’s soldier robots are smarter than America’s solder robots?” And so on and so forth.
Considering all this, I predict that humanity will split into three major philosophical, ideological, political groups, which I label as follows.
–The Cosmists (based on the word “cosmos”) will be in favor of building these godlike machines (the artilects), who would be immortal, think a million times faster than humans, have unlimited memory, go anywhere, do anything and take any shape. The Cosmists would take a quasi-religious view that they are god builders. Privately, I am a Cosmist, but publicly, I have mixed feelings about the rise of the artilect.
–The Terrans (based on the word “terra,” meaning the earth) will be opposed to the construction of artilects, fearing that in a highly advanced form, the artilects may decide to wipe us out. To ensure that the probability that this might happen is zero, the Terrans will insist that the artilects are never built in the first place. But this strategy runs utterly contrary to what the Cosmists want. The Terrans will be prepared to go to war against the Cosmists to ensure the survival of the human species.
–The Cyborgists (based on the word “cyborg,” meaning cybernetic organism that is part machine, part human) will want to become artilect gods themselves by adding artilectual components to their own brains, thus avoiding the bitter conflict between the Cosmists and the Terrans.
The Artilect War and Gigadeath
I differ sharply with well-known futurist Ray Kurzweil on his over-optimistic prediction that the rise of the artilect this century will be a positive development for humanity. I think it will be a catastrophe. I see a war coming, the “Artilect War,” not between the artilects and human beings, as in the movie Terminator, but between the Terrans, Cosmists and Cyborgists. This will be the worst, most passionate war that humanity has ever known, because the stakes–the survival of our species–have never been so high. Given the period in which this war will occur, the late 21st century, with late 21st century weapons, the scale of the killing will not be in the millions, as in the 20th century (the bloodiest in history, with 200-300 million people killed in wars, purges, holocausts and genocides) but in the billions. There will be gigadeath.
The Terrans will “First Strike”
Imagine a world in which the cyborgs become increasingly prevalent. A young mother who has just given birth may choose to add a grain of artilectual sand to her newly born baby’s brain, converting it into an artilect. There is so much computing capacity in that grain of sand that she has effectively “killed” her baby. It is no longer human, but an artilect in human disguise. Imagine older parents watching their adult children becoming cyborgs, so that their children are no longer human. The parents will feel they have lost them. The rise of the artilects and the cyborgs will be profoundly disruptive to human culture, creating deep alienation and hatred.
Kurzweil claims that if ever a war occurred between the Terrans and the other groups it would be a quick no-contest battle. The vastly superior intelligence of the artilect group would quickly overcome the Terrans. Therefore I claim that the Terrans will have to strike first while they can, during the “window of opportunity,” when they have comparable intelligence levels. If they wait too long, then Kurzweil’s dismissive view may become valid.
The Cosmist/Terran Split
I give regular talks on the rise of the artilect and invite my audiences to vote on whether they are sympathetic more to the Cosmist view or to the Terran view. The results are always split about evenly. Individuals are torn between the awe of building artilect gods and the horror of the prospect of a gigadeath war. The evenness of the split bodes even more negatively for the future.

Multis and Monos; What the Multicultured Can Teach the Monocultured Towards the Creation of a Global State


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