The AI Singularity Is Nothing to Fear

14 Jun 2024

Artificial Intelligence. Why We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the Singularity.

Let's talk about how to live in a world where AI will equal and surpass humans in intelligence.

Despite all sorts of rumors and conspiracy theories - for now, the singularity in the sense that "Artificial Intelligence has become as smart (or smarter) than humans" is a purely hypothetical scenario. Unfortunately, both in science fiction and futurology, this event is usually portrayed in varying degrees of doom and gloom.

Moreover, sociologists, psychologists, and economists are often in the camp of those who tend to lean toward pessimistic scenarios in the first place.

Speed and Quantity Are Not the Most Important Things

Before we talk about how right or wrong the AI pessimists are, let's focus on another question. Will the singularity arrive at all? What do we put into the notion that AI will become smarter than humans? First, let’s agree that we must first define what intelligence is.

What do we mean by this concept? The ability to perform mathematical operations in our mind? To calculate moves in strategy games? To compare, sort, and compile information? If so, then the singularity is long overdue. Turn out the lights, everybody go home, the show is over, and the machines have won...

But everyone knows that's not true. Artificial intelligence is not yet capable of creative thought. As far as calculations, analysis, and forecasting according to a set of given parameters are concerned, AI already surpasses people both in the amount of information processed and in the speed of completion. But AI is not yet capable of inventing something fundamentally new.

And when it will be able to, it will be quite different from what people are able to invent. This is simply because of the different nature of human and artificial intelligence.

Other Creativity

Our ability to create is unique to this planet and, as far as we know, to our solar system. We cannot vouch for the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe as a whole. Human creative possibilities are based not only (and not so much) on one’s ability to calculate and analyze something consciously, but also on feelings, unique personal emotional experience, intuition, and unconsciousness


And these, in turn, are based on our structure as biological organisms. If you will, on our entire evolutionary history. "I feel this way is best", "I see it this way", and "it just came to me" - these are the usual explanations for creative acts that people provide.

The moment of insight, breakthrough, or inspiration is what leads us to create something truly new - whether it's art, a business idea, or solving an engineering problem.

From our point of view, the moment when AI learns to truly create, rather than imitate human creativity or compile it, will be the singularity. How will we know when it happens? AI creativity will be fundamentally different from that of humans. This is simply by virtue of the differences in structure between artificial and human intelligence. AI doesn't know the desires and fears humans hold.

A prerequisite for creativity is striving for something. But AI will have different aspirations and desires than humans. That means that the creative process, and its results, will be different. Not better or worse than human ones. Just different.

So, the notorious singularity will add one kind of creativity - humanity, another - to AI’s performance. What's wrong or scary about that?

Human to Human

Please note - despite AI's success in games like chess, for example, the popularity of this game has not diminished. Chess players, both professionals and amateurs, continue to fight passionately between themselves. All because we are not interested in beating a machine.

We're interested in playing against people. That's why the most popular video games are those that give gamers the opportunity to play with each other.

From the above, we can clearly see that "people with people for people" professions and occupations will not disappear regardless of the level of AI development. There will always be a need for artisans who create something unique and different from the mass production that will be the domain of smart machines.

Chefs, couture fashion designers, artists, athletes... It is possible to enumerate a long list of such examples. We are willing to bet that replacing humans with smart machines in routine processes and mass production will generate a real explosion of interest in mastering arts and crafts.

But even if we leave the creators of the unique out of the equation, we note that many people tend to misunderstand the reasoning that universal AI will replace people in almost 90% of professions. In fact, it should be clarified that we are talking about professions that currently exist. But our history shows that by eliminating professions, progress immediately gives rise to new ones.

So, today there is practically no need for stone ax masters or captains of galleys? Has the elimination of these professions left people without work?

Let a universal AI emerge. Let the singularity come, and AI will have the ability to create. It will take time to master professions, which theoretically it can cope with, as well as or even better than humans. At the same time, AI will have to be taught by humans. It will take even more time to develop, launch into production, and integrate robots that will be controlled by AI.

Most of them have yet to be designed. So some kind of instant and catastrophic collapse of the economy with 90% unemployment shouldn’t be expected. By the way, working as an AI mentor is an interesting new profession, is it not?

The Evolution of Minds

To finish this text, we would like to remind you about one more fact, which is often overlooked by the pessimists who talk about the sad fate of mankind after the singularity. Namely, our species has been developing intellectually for tens of thousands of years in parallel with improvements in technology and the complication of civilization as a whole.

The higher the level of scientific and technological progress, the more complex society we have managed to create.

And this, in turn, forces our intellectual thought process to become more complex and sophisticated. Which, in turn, leads to another round of progress. And so it spirals upwards.

By creating a truly intelligent, creative AI, we will simultaneously have the best "intelligence simulator" in our history. Moreover, for the first time in history, we will find ourselves in a situation of joint evolution of minds based on different principles. No one can predict what we will be able to achieve through this dynamic. As we see it, the possibilities that await us from the singularity’s arrival are far from dystopian scenarios.

The article was created in collaboration with Andriy Tkachenko

Feature image created with Microsoft Copilot