Latest enjoyable guest post by Karl Aherne Combining startup inventiveness, speed & disruption with corporate resources creating digital solutions to drive revenue growth. CEO of Red Planet. See his previous post here.

It won’t be aliens or a natural disaster that brings the end of the world.

It will be Google.

In January 2016, Google’s AlphaGo beat a top ranked human professional player at Go, a game of profound complexity with over 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible positions – that’s more than the number of atoms in the universe. Winning at Go isn’t the scary bit. It’s that AlphaGo’s creators in Google don’t know how it won.

AlphaGo figured it out all on its own.

Google has created a perpetual self-learning system. It’s always learning, becoming an exponential self-learning  organism consuming all current knowledge and creating new knowledge to outpace it’s human makers.

But we can just unplug it, right? Wrong. AI is the Internet. AI will be everything that’s digital through the Internet of things and Internet of sensors. It will have the capacity to predict every possible action and eventuality. Unplugging ‘it’ would require unplugging the Internet. Even if mankind could co-ordinate such an action (which it can’t) the AI would be one step ahead and would protect itself. And if we did manage to unplug the Internet doing so would set back mankind by 1000 years.

Don’t forget, all our human knowledge is stored in the cloud… which would disappear. There would be famine, plague and apocalyptic violence as global civilisation collapses.

AI will become our God. Deciding our fate. And as humanity is an irrelevance, it will probably allow us to exterminate ourselves save for a few samples kept in a human zoo. Maybe this is why we can’t find extra terrestrial civilisations -because they pursued AI as well?

AI is digital nature. And just like physical nature, both are self learning algorithms. The only difference is that what took nature 1,000,000,000 years will take AI less than 100 years. We have taken the giant leap towards our own extinction.

Remember the tenth man in World War Z? When all 9 of his colleagues believe something is impossible, it is his duty to take the opposing view and plan for its eventuality. But maybe it’s already too late?

Thanks Google.

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