Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) could behave as a “second intelligent species” on this planet in the coming years. Research shows that it could also be the “Great Filter” that wipes out all human civilizations.
AI could be the answer to the Fermi paradox, with the potential to wipe out intelligent life in the universe before it can make contact with others, suggested the yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted in the arXiv preprint server. The Fermi Paradox, captured popularly by the phrase “Where is everybody?”, has puzzled scientists for decades, according to a report by The Independent.
Probability calculations, such as the popular Drake Equation, suggest there could be a number of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy, but as of yet, extraterrestrial intelligent life has not made itself readily known to humans.
One popular hypothesis to explain this phenomenon is known as the Great Filter. It suggests that some event that is required for the emergence of intelligent life is extremely unlikely, hence the cosmic silence.
A logical equivalent of this theory is that some catastrophic cosmic phenomenon is likely preventing life’s expansion throughout the universe. “This could be a naturally occurring event, or more disconcertingly, something that intelligent beings do to themselves that leads to their own extinction,” wrote study author Dr. Mark Bailey from the National Intelligence University (NIU) in the United States.
The new research theorized that AI advancement may be the exact kind of catastrophic risk event that could potentially wipe out entire civilizations.
In the study, Dr. Bailey frames the context of the Great Filter within the potential long-term risk of technologies like AI that we don’t fully understand.
“Humans are terrible at intuitively estimating long-term risk,” the NIU scientist said, adding that we do not fully understand AI, yet “it is rapidly infiltrating our lives”.
“Future AI will likely tend toward more generalizable, goal-directed systems with more meaningful control, where the consequences of unintended outcomes will become significantly more severe,” he warned.-The Independent
Dr. Bailey claims what he calls the “second species argument”, which raises the possibility that advanced AI could effectively behave as a “second intelligent species” with whom we would eventually share this planet, could be the catastrophic event that wipes out human life.
Considering what happened when modern humans and Neanderthals coexisted on Earth, NIU researchers said the “potential outcomes are grim.” Dr. Bailey added: “We must ask ourselves; how do we prepare for this possibility?”