With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, many are worried that the self-consciousness in robots will eventually lead to the destruction of humanity. While promoting his most recent book “The Future of Humanity,” theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku answered various questions not only about the first contact with aliens, but also the development of artificial intelligence and the dangers that it could pose.
He was talking about the first contact with aliens and development of artificial intelligence in the future during a Reddit AMA (Ask me Anything). Most of the questions from the amused redditors and fans of Kaku’s work were regarding artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life, two things that could be dangerous for humanity in the future.
“Let me stick my neck out. I personally feel is that within this century, we will make contact with an alien civilization, by listening in on their radio communications,” Kaku answered one of the questions. He expects that aliens will perceive us similarly to how we see forest animals.
“And what are their intentions. Are they expansive and aggressive, or peaceful. Another possibility is that they land on the White House lawn and announce their existence. But I think that is unlikely, since we would be like forest animals to them, i.e. not worth communicating with.”
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In another response, he backed up his theory stating that we probably won’t be seen as significant to alien society, and that the core of their peaceful approach to us is being knowledgeable. He thinks that aliens had thousands of years to resolve questions that we are trying to resolve now, including sectarian, fundamentalist, and nationalist questions.
The scientist stated that, our first contact with aliens may not be as peaceful if we “get in the way.”
“They still might be dangerous if they simply don’t care about us and we get in the way. In War of the Worlds, the aliens did not hate us. We were simply in the way.”
“But for the most part, I think they will be peaceful, but view us like we view forest animals,” he said.
Kaku also said that the greater threat are robots and artificial intelligence. In one of the comments, he stressed how scientists will need to equip robots with chips in their brains in order to control their “murderous thoughts.”
Envisaging their future development, the scientist predicts that their intelligence level will go from that of a bug to a level on par with that of a monkey. “By that point they might become dangerous and even replace humans, near the end of the century. So I think we should put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they have murderous thoughts.”
Ultimately, humans may have to accept their fate and merge with their robot overlords, according to Kaku. “But what happens centuries from now, when robots evade even our most sophisticated fail-safe system?? At that point, I think we should merge with them.”
He also added that the decision of allowing AI control us is up to the people who will live in the future.
“This may sound strange to some people, but remember that it is the people of the far future (not us) who will decide how far they want to modify themselves to deal with super smart robots.”
Nevertheless, Kaku is not the first person worried about the rapid growth of artificial intelligence and what dangers it could pose in the future. Stephen Hawking expressed his worry about robots and AI in one of the conferences last year. Furthermore, businessman and visionary Elon Musk was among more than a hundred tech leaders asking the United Nations to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons known as “killer robots” last year. Musk strongly believes that AI is a “fundamental threat to human civilization.”