‘Superintelligence’. Just how smart will AI become?

8 February 2017

To be ‘superintelligent’, is to possess intelligence that far surpasses that of the most gifted human minds. University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as, “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.”


So exactly how clever can artificial intelligence get? Will we really ever reach the so called point of ‘technological singularity’ when machine intelligence exceeds our own and goes on to improve itself at an exponential rate?


“In 2050 there will be trillions of self-replicating robot factories on the asteroid belt. A few million years later, AI will colonise the galaxy. Humans are not going to play a big role there, but that’s ok. We should be proud of being part of a grand process that transcends humankind more than the industrial revolution. It is comparable to the invention of life itself, and I am privileged to live this moment and witness the beginnings of this.” Jurgen Schmidhuber, AI guru.


Whilst this is one view, there are others who believe that humans will never build a machine that is smarter than we are. “You cannot exceed human intelligence, ever”, says Danko Nikolic, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt. “You can asymptotically approach it, but you cannot exceed it.” Nikolic is convinced that many artificial intelligence researchers have overlooked an important aspect of human intelligence – the fact that brains aren’t the only hardware we need to be good learners. Nikolic believes that the most basic tools for learning are the instructions contained within our genes, refined over billions of years of evolution. So while machine learning techniques can mimic the brain, they lack the deeper elements that allow us to truly learn.




So how do you tell exactly how smart AI is? Give it a universal IQ test of course.

Traditional ways of measuring human intelligence would not be appropriate for systems that have senses and cognitive capacities that are so far removed from our own, so an alternative test was created to allow the intelligence of robots, vision systems or natural-language processing programs to be compared and contrasted fairly. With researchers putting what is currently the world’s most intelligent AI machine through its paces with the alternative IQ test, the results concluding that it has the same IQ as an average 4 year old child. So while AI machines may be far better than humans at carrying out complex calculations, and are pretty hot with a chessboard, AI clearly still has a long way to go before it can take over the universe…


Make the superintelligent commitment to secure computer recycling.


Ethical, environmentally friendly computer recycling has never been so vital, with the incredible advances in technology, both today and in the future, that will create a steady stream of products that will need to be disposed of properly. So if you want to keep your data completely secure and the environment healthy, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration. And don’t forget, companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.

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