Article by Dirk Schulze-Makuch March 27, 2020 (airspacemag.com)
• Joseph Gale from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his co-authors have published a paper in the The International Journal of Astrobiology, which predicts that the “singularity”, ie: the point when quantum computers will be able to outsmart the human brain, will happen much sooner than expected. When this occurs, we may be on a more intellectually even playing field with advanced extraterrestrials and be able to readily communicate with them.
• Recent advances in artificial intelligence, or ‘AI’, in self-learning, pattern recognition, and quantum computing make the estimated time of reaching ‘the singularity’ much sooner that previously predicted. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted the singularity would occur in 2045. Now, Gale and his co-authors believe it is imminent.
• Comparing the ‘calculating capacity’ of quantum computers to the neurons in the human brain, Gale says that the singularity could be reached within this decade. However, as the human brain is ‘wired differently’ than a computer brain, the human brain may still have the advantage. Also, an elephant’s brain holds twice the number of neurons as a human brain, but it isn’t smarter. So the number of neurons doesn’t equate to intelligence.
• In 2014, Stephen Hawking predicted that when the singularity does arrive, it may very well be the end of the human race, as humans might be replaced by robots or a human/machine hybrid android.
• If advanced extraterrestrial civilizations have already made the change from human to android, they may not like the warm climate of planets located within a star’s habitable zone, and we’ve been looking in the wrong places. Such civilizations might prefer locations with little electronic noise in a dry and cold environment, perhaps in space, where they could use superconductivity for computing and quantum entanglement as a means of communication. They may not even be aware of the primitive radio waves we’ve been sending out to the galaxy.
• A saving grace is that the evolved human brain is also connected to consciousness. Ever-increasing consciousness could outpace the self-learning ability of super-conducting computers, keeping humanity always one step ahead and avoiding the singularity. Otherwise, as the paper’s authors contend, ‘reaching the singularity could be humanity’s greatest and last advance’.
In a new paper published in The International Journal of Astrobiology, Joseph Gale from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
and co-authors make the point that recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI)—particularly in pattern recognition and self-learning—will likely result in a paradigm shift in the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life.
While futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted 15 years ago that the singularity—the time when the abilities of a computer overtake the abilities of the human brain—will occur in about 2045, Gale and his co-authors believe this event may be much more imminent, especially with the advent of quantum computing. It’s already been four years since the program AlphaGO, fortified with neural networks and learning modes, defeated Lee Sedol, the Go world champion. The strategy game StarCraft II may be the next to have a machine as reigning champion.
If we look at the calculating capacity of computers and compare it to the number of neurons in the human brain, the singularity could be reached as soon as the early 2020s. However, a human brain is “wired” differently than a computer, and that may be the reason why certain tasks that are simple for us are still quite challenging for today’s AI. Also, the size of the brain or the number of neurons don’t equate to intelligence. For example, whales and elephants have more than double the number of neurons in their brain, but are not more intelligent than humans.
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