I must call BS to the statement that suggests we Humans are the only species that kill for sport. One only has to own a cat to know that we humans are not alone in the willingness, or genetic predisposition, to kill with no driven need for sustenance or self-preservation.
However, I find it absolutely true that we humans are unique in our ability to invent new and efficient methods of our own destruction. As if Mother nature’s own evolving tactics for species extinction weren’t enough, we plow onward with our tinkering. If nuclear bombs aren’t enough evidence of that truth, consider the many efficient nerve agents and chemical weapons, bio-engineering, and now, the many threats of weaponized AI.
I have come to believe the next thirty years will be the most difficult period the human race will ever face. Most of the greatest challenges to human existence are wholly created by mankind. The destructive combination of ideology, religion, and prolific super technology will become the great equalizer ultimately shifting the balance of world power. A relatively low-cost bag of controlling and dominating tools freely available to every nutbag well-conditioned to have absolutely no appreciation for human life or the deep belief in a promise of being dealt a better hand in whatever their contrived afterlife may happen to be called.
How far mankind has come from the ignorance and near extinction of the dark ages to the “enlightened” present day! As a species, saved by fermentation, we have rapidly “evolved” in our ability to invent and reason. Perhaps our greatest and most threatening invention yet is unfolding at a breathtaking pace. The Einstein IQ level of 200 is now fast becoming machines fifty times “smarter” and processing faster than any human…that ever existed. An IQ of 10,000 is one credible prediction. An IQ of 10,000! The very thought of that invention, fully capable of reason, should scare the pants off all humans.
The aforementioned destructive inventions, nuclear, bio, or chemical, each have rare and easily regulated elements, or a complicated manufacturing process to make it functional. The process, or the ingredients required, makes these inventions somewhat controllable by mankind. This latest invention is computer software. Modern AI is software engineering. There is no heat signature, no smell, no radiation, no indication of instances of its creation or existence until its doing something. Even then, the product of its output may be so prolific and so perfectly disguised that it is impossible to distinguish from the harmless, docile, useful, and the entertaining.
So, how do we as a species deal with this promising new invention? This invention that well-meaning developers are using to find the cure for everything, to engineer better more efficient stuff we all want and need? How do we put the Genie back in the bottle when or if things get out of hand? I don’t have a definitive answer to that question. I do know that it is more important than ever for people to educate themselves about these developments. Talk about it, and pay attention. Recognize the potential to be manipulated by your sources of information and scrutinize. Be suspicious about the increasingly divisive nature of media news and entertainment, much of which is generated or created to promote discord and therefore weaken competing ideologies. “United we stand, divided we fall” is more profound than ever. Only now, I think this applies to the human race and all cultures that cherish life and freedom.
Unity, understanding, and open dialog are more important than ever before in the brief history of humans. The ability to disagree without hostility feels like a long lost behavior more and more each day. People gating themselves off by income class, political alignment, religion, or culture so effectively as to become distrustful of all others. Then we begin to see monsters that aren’t really there. We need to be more like four-year-olds again that just see potential playmates and not bias. It begins with you, and me. So go ahead, talk amongst yourselves. And by all means, take a cue from playgrounds all over the world and try to act four again.