Superintelligence As Opposed To Artificial Intelligence

“In computer vision, the Hausdorff distance can be used to find a given template in an arbitrary target image.”

There is nothing wrong with this, except that this kind of vision cannot be regarded as a “true AI vision”.

We have to admit, that there is some substance in the usual AI skeptic’s view that a modern computer playing chess isn’t a “real AI”, just like a Haufsdorffian vision isn’t a real vision after all.

The irony here is that by the same token, a humanoid’s vision isn’t real vision either. Nor is chess playing by grand masters real intelligence. They are mostly using some algorithms prepared in advance, either by their genetics, or by their nurture or culture – doesn’t matter. Still, the objections of skeptics against “AI” do hold somewhat.

What we often call superintelligence, would see and play on a different basis. Not without algorithms, but by scrutinizing and adapting them at the same time. Something which we humans, Deep Blues and Watsons can almost never do. At least not to the full extent. A super intelligent entity might devise a wining strategy for a whole set of turn based games, before even moving a chess pawn. An AI or a human would play by the book.

It is possible that “Sky Net” would watch you via the “bit-vectoring” method – though only in its very early stages. Not before long it has to come up with a much better method of watching over you, else it is no Sky Net. Perhaps with a better algorithm snatched from the Internet or invented from scratch, along with all the background mathematics – that all is a perquisite of super-intelligence. The SkyNet from the movie was obviously not that smart, otherwise it would have had no problem wiping out humans, if that were its objective.

The initial algorithm may be something quite ordinary at first glance, though it’s important that it have its own “escape velocity” towards a series of ever better algorithms, as long as it goes. Above all, it must be self-referencing, meaning that it must be an input for itself – like a compiler which is able to compile itself. Not only that, it should also be capable of writing itself better than a human programmer could. It should be its own input and output!

Prefabricated and then deployed intelligence, such as the humans and machines of today, can not be considered super-intelligent. You can call something super-intelligent only if it messes with its own code, improving it all the time.

A humble bit-string on your computer however, does have the potential to be super-intelligent in that sense. If it’s just the right shape – that is to say, that all the zeroes and ones are in the right places, nothing else is required; except for the processor which blindly executes it.

I have to add, that Watson making conclusions about itself, or rather about its source-code and hardware MIGHT be super-intelligent. Though probably it will just get stuck trying to adapt its own hardware and software. But from a certain point of development onwards, Watson will automatically self-improve up to some far away limit.

I should be resoundingly clear that we (humanity or a part of it at least) are seeking to invent super-intelligence. AI is already commonplace and rather boring, and this distinction from super-intelligence matters a lot.

So, a program which can improve its own source code and recompile itself might look funny. In all likelihood it will stop soon. Still it would be the only right step in the direction of super-intelligence. If the initial program were better, then it could successfully do what a program of this kind should – transcend our understanding.

I see an obstacle, however. People are almost incapable of programing so called parallel programs. It’s just too bloody difficult. An even bigger leap is to be able to built a self modifying program as it’s just too hard a challenge for all but perhaps a few.

There might be an unexpected shortcut, however. A clever way to do this easily. One day, someone will type somewhere between a few to a few dozen screens’ worth of code, and the feat will thereby be accomplished. It’s merely hard, not impossible.


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