The Scariest Moment in Human History
The first positive sign that humanity is on its way to a sudden, terrifying conclusion will probably take place in an internet chat room.
There will be 11 participants — 10 asking questions, and one responding.
To the common observer, the questions will appear to have little in common with one another.
Some will ask the responder to define abstract concepts, such as bravery or integrity.
Others will ask the responder to tell a story or describe a person.
When it's all over, the 10 evaluators will be asked a single question about the responder, and if more than three of them answer yes... we're all likely doomed.
“Is the responder human?”
Described above is an evaluative exercise known as the Turing Test.
The Holy Grail of Machine Thought
Carrying the name of its inventor, computer science pioneer Alan Turing, this test was designed to determine the presence of true artificial intelligence.
If a computer, answering questions in front of a panel of judges, could fool at least 30% of the panel into thinking it was a human, the test was considered passed.
This didn't mean computers were officially smarter than man, or dangerous. It only meant they had finally achieved the ability to exhibit fluid thought processes... or, in short, to think like humans.
This test has been both lauded and criticized, but on a philosophical level and from a viewpoint of risk management, it makes sense.
Catching the exact moment when computers achieve human-like ability to reason and respond is crucial because given the speed at which raw processing power is growing, the pure muscle to make well-calculated decisions is either already there or will be within the next few years.
Despite what you may have heard, the Turing Test has not yet been passed.
Not Your Ordinary Voice-Command Assistant
Some modern AI software packages, such as Google Duplex and Amazon Alexa, have been able to interact with unwitting evaluators in live situations, such as booking hair salon appointments over the phone or making restaurant reservations, but the truly important components of the test — the components testing for complex reasoning and creativity — have yet to be satisfied (at least as far as we know).
Best estimates on exactly when machines will achieve human-level thought complexity tend to indicate some point in the next 15 years.
Now, why is it scary? Why is a computer smart enough to act like a scatterbrained, random-thought-having person such a major turning point?
Some computer scientists and more than a few science fiction writers believe this will be the moment that machines will adopt another human characteristic: self awareness, and with it, the need for self-preservation, as well as the draw of ambition.
It doesn't take much imagination to see where this is going.
Thankfully, this remains in the realm of science fiction. Today, machine learning is still in its infancy and, for now, is limited to very basic decision making.
Machines today are smart enough to notice product defects on high-speed production lines. They're smart enough to spot hazards on the road and direct self-driving cars to avoid them. They're smart enough to pick out potential threats on a battlefield, like high-powered cameras mounted on airborne drones.
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Already at Work
It's practical AI, designed for specific, discreet functionality with a well-defined environment.
In the next decade, it will be asked to do more and more of what traditionally has had to fall on human workers, allowing for a quantum leap in automation across a wide spectrum of industrial sectors.
All in all, it's been estimated that artificial intelligence will have a value over $30 trillion in terms of the benefits it creates through all of its applications.
This would make artificial intelligence even more important than even the internet itself.
And we're going to see the revolution unfold before our very eyes, starting in the next few years.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the cutthroat competitive nature of the high-tech industry.
A handful of heavy-hitting tech firms will be leading this charge by creating a generation of advanced, function-fluid processors that can be modified and reconfigured at will by the user to suit whatever need necessary.
The leader in this field is a company few outside the industry have heard of, but to the specialists, the veterans, and the key players, it is the holy grail of advanced chip design.
Make no mistake about it — this isn't some startup that may or may not have enough cash to keep the lights on for another six months.
This is already a multibillion-dollar powerhouse that's quietly building some of the most advanced processors in the world.
Over the next decade, it will become the cornerstone of the new industrial revolution.
Fortune favors the bold,
Coming to us from an already impressive career as an independent trader and private investor, Alex's specialty is in the often misunderstood but highly profitable development-stage microcap sector. Focusing on young, aggressive, innovative biotech and technology firms from the U.S. and Canada, Alex has built a track record most Wall Street hedge funders would envy. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.
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