by Thomas Capone, NYDLA 7 January 2020
Do you know what this is? A better question to ask would be have you ever USED one of these?
This past week, members of NYDLA gathered to attend the AI Summit in NYC. If you Google “What is Artificial Intelligence” you will get a good idea of how AI is transforming the world. Manufacturing, retailing, transportation, finance, healthcare, law, insurance, education – pretty much every industry.
So many NYDLA vendors and sponsors had amazing booths at the AI Summit at Javits Center. Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Accenture. IBM Watson was giving out T-Shirts which at first glance made me pause (be it only for a second) as my OK Boomer brain saw “iHeart a Rotary Telephone.”
Everything we love about civilization is a product of intelligence.
So, amplifying our human intelligence with artificial intelligence has the potential of helping civilization flourish like never before. Or will AI lead to the end of civilization?
If you Google “telephone” you will see images like this:
But if you Google just “phone” you will see images like this:
As I spent two days at the AI Summit, I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. It hit me pretty quickly that what’s happening in the world of AI is not just an important topic, but by far THE most important topic for our future.
Moore’s Law is a historically-reliable rule that the world’s maximum computing power doubles approximately every two years, meaning computer hardware advancement, like general human advancement through history, grows exponentially.
So, the world’s $1000 computers today are smarter than a mouse brain, which is about a thousandth of human level.
But we were at about a trillionth of human level in 1985, a billionth in 1995 and a millionth in 2005. So based on Moore’s Law, we shall have an affordable computer by 2025 that rivals the power of the human brain. That’s five years from now.
Let’s talk about something different – but not different at all.
A few days before the AI Summit, I received an advance reading copy (galley) of Rohit Bhargava’s new book. For the past ten years, his signature annual Non-Obvious Trend Report has helped over a million readers discover more than 100 trends changing our culture. Rohit and his team of trend curators take an expansive look at the research to reveal “Megatrends” that are transforming how we work, play and live.
And the mission of “NYED-LA” is living, learning, working, playing – in the clouds. Rohit Bhargava has agreed to do a video podcast with me – which shall reach millions of people around the world via the Workplace by Facebook platform.
NYDLA.net (dot net) is powered by Workplace, which empowers us to engage with millions of members in every time zone. Just a few years ago, this would have been impossible. Today, it is not only easy to reach a global audience – it is expected.
If you had a “time machine” you could transport someone from 100 years ago, show them today’s technology and it would possibly kill them with sensory overload. But that person from 100 years ago, would have to travel back 1000 years, to have the same effect. And a person from 1,000 years ago, would have to go back 10,000 years to have the same “mind blowing” impact on a time traveler, can you see that?
This pattern – human progress moving quicker and quicker as time goes on – is what futurist Ray Kurzweil calls human history’s Law of Accelerating Returns.
There is a cool video on Amazon and Netflix right now, about the 1964 New York World’s Fair (I went, I was four). Or, you can watch clips on YouTube for free. Some of these visions of the future came true – others not so much. But the Law of Accelerating Returns seems to be on full display.
The kind of superintelligence we’re talking about today is something beyond normal imagination. We are living in an intelligence explosion – where the smarter a machine gets, the quicker it’s able to increase its own intelligence, until it begins to soar upwards, getting exponentially smarter.
In my lifetime, certainly in my children’s lifetime, we shall be facing the reality of coexisting on the Earth with something (a machine) that is as intelligent as your Uncle Harry (or maybe a million times smarter) than your Uncle Harry.
And definitely smarter than the average 17 year old, right?
This post originally appeared on Thomas Capone’s personal blog.
New York Distance Learning Association (NYDLA) serves the 55M+ people living, learning, working and playing in the New York megalopolis.