Artificial Intelligence and Evolution

Posted on December 21, 2012


I am reading Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright.  Interesting book and I will be doing a review next week.  What interests me right now though is the book’s approach to AI.  The characters upload copies of their brains into computers and setup an environment where the uploaded brains can cannibalize each other.  Since they are lines of code they can keep or discard what they will of their opponents.  They are applying a game theory interpretation of evolution to artificial minds.

I don’t think this is the way to bring about artificial intelligence.

I, quite obviously, am not an expert in AI or evolution.  This blog would be much more interesting if I was.  But I think I have a slightly deeper understanding than the typical layperson.

First, copying a human brain into a computer does not create artificial intelligence.  It creates human intelligence in an artificial environment.  This may give a human mind capabilities beyond what we have now.  Faster data processing, perfect recall, and more control of how the data is processed.  Given this, a human mind loaded into an artificial environment may be able to evolve beyond what we would recognize as a human mind.  That does not mean it is artificial intelligence.  It means it is a a human mind evolved to better suit its environment.

I think creating an environment that would allow AI to evolve is the correct approach.  Intelligence is an evolutionary response.  I don’t think creating an environment where the only way to thrive is to eat everyone else is the best approach.  Our intelligence didn’t evolve only as a competitive response.  Natural selection does not depend only on competition.  Herd and tribal structures wouldn’t evolve if all organisms were competing against all other organisms.

I think AI needs to be built from an environment that lets it evolve.  That is how our intelligence was formed.  The virtual environment would have to be built to follow our laws of physics in the simulation.  I don’t think that means artificial intelligence will resemble the way humans think.  We believe it will because we are the only stick against which to measure.  I think that an AI evolved would be a different species.  Fully artificial, a synthetic organism.  I also think that communicating with an AI formed in this manner would be the same a communicating with an alien species.  It would have to be done through math and science.  Eventually, one or the other species would learn to communicate.  My money would be on the evolved AI.  It can evolve and grow faster than we can.

As to AI and robots taking over the world?  There is this.

That is all.


Posted in: Science, Tech