By Mikhail Batin, Alexey Turchin, Sergey Markov, Alisa Zhila and David Denkenberger | 31 August 2017
This excerpt has been adapted (without endnotes) from Artificial Intelligence in Life Extension: from Deep Learning to Superintelligence.
Superintelligence and the distant future
1. Superintelligence finally solving problems of aging and death
We can use trends and polls to predict narrow AI and AGI. Superintelligence is by definition unpredictable. For expectations of its arrival and what it will be able to accomplish, we can refer to various futurists: Bostrom, Yamploskiy, Yudkowsky, Kurzweil, Vinge, and Goertzel all depict a future dominated by global superintelligence.
According to these futurists, the arrival of superhuman AI will enable solutions to the problems of aging, curing presently incurable diseases, designing universal medical nanorobots, and uploading an individual’s consciousness into a computer network.
In the past, it took decades to accomplish complex, globally valuable tasks such as the development of modern aeronautics, wireless communication, and noninvasive surgery; superintelligent AI will be able to solve such problems very quickly, perhaps in moments. With the arrival of superintelligent AI, achieving practical immortality for the majority of people will become feasible.
2. Simultaneous creation of superintelligence and advanced nanotechnologies
K. Eric Drexler’s book Engines of Creation and Robert A. Freitas Jr.’s Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility discuss nanotechnology as nanorobotics based on molecular manufacturing for medical treatment and intervention. According to Drexler, medical nanobots will:
- be self-replicating;
- be externally controlled;
- carry onboard computers;
- be capable of swarm behavior;
- be cell sized;
- be capable of 3-D printing organic structures; and
- be capable of sensing their environment and navigating in it.
If such nanobots arrive before AGI, they will quickly help us map the structure of the human brain and develop technology to create a very powerful supercomputer, leading to the advent of AGI. On the other hand, if AGI arrives first, it will create nanobots. The wait between nanorobotics and AGI will likely be no more than a few years.
Designing the first nanobot and controlling nanorobotic swarms will be a huge computational task, itself requiring the use of available AI.
When this technology matures, it may enable relatively quick (hours to weeks) and seamless replacement of living cells in a human body—with the possible exception of the neurons responsible for personal experiences—with fully controlled nanomachines by injecting a single self-replicating nanobot. Such a nanotechnological body will not age as it will be able constantly self-repair according to original plan.
3. Superintelligence and the solution to the consciousness problem: identity copying
On the one hand, it will be difficult to develop full-fledged AGI without first solving the problem of consciousness. On the other hand, nanotechnology and AGI will give us the means to carry out various experiments on the conscious brain and map its structure. For example, investigation of qualia is feasible through a gradual uploading process similar to the thought experiment performed by David Chalmers. This will enable detection of the brain parts and internal processes responsible for subjective experience.
There are two possible scenarios: either there is no mystery here and the problem of uploading consciousness to a computer is purely informational, or consciousness has a certain substrate. This substrate could be a quantum process, continuity of causal relationships, special particles, or similar—that provides identity, and its preservation and transfer is a separate technical task. In either case, the transfer of consciousness to a new carrier is possible: an ordinary computer can be used in the first scenario; the second scenario will require a specialized computer, such as an artificial neuron or a quantum computer.
This hypothetical consciousness-receptacle computer will need to be extremely resistant to damage and have advanced backing-up abilities in order to lower the risk of death.
4. Using advanced forms of superintelligence for the reconstruction of the dead people
Cryonics is the idea, introduced by Robert Chester Ettinger and Jean Rostand of using low temperatures to preserve human bodies after death until it becomes possible to return them to life. Currently around 250 people are cryopreserved by three cryocompanies. At first, it was thought that bodies could be gradually unfrozen upon the appearance of appropriate technologies. Later it was thought that nanotechnology could be used to repair damage in thawing bodies. A more recent view is that bodies can be scanned without thawing. Advanced tomography or slicing would be employed, and the data from the scans would be entered into a computer, where the human mind would be reconstructed. Currently around 250 people are cryopreserved by three cryocompanies and advanced nanotech created by AI could be used to scan and upload their minds.
In addition, highly evolved superintelligence will be able to reconstruct humans who lived in the past by modeling their lives in a simulation. A reconstruction would be based on a subject’s informational traces. It is called “digital immortality”.
For global resurrection of the dead, superintelligence may perform a large-scale simulation of the past. Then, based on all the data about the past, it will reconstruct everyone who ever lived.
Reprinted with permission from Mikhail Batin.
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