Students have much more to learn today than we had when we were their age. Could you pass an 8th-Grade Science Test?
Four years ago there was a competition between seven hundred computer scientists. Using their own versions of AI (Artificial Intelligence) they all failed to pass the 8th-Grade Science Test. They all scored less than sixty percent. We may not all be getting smarter, but AI is. On September 4th, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence located in Seattle won big time. Their program called Aristo, scored more than 90 percent on an eighth-grade science test. Much more frightening is that the program also scored better than 80 percent on a 12th-grade exam. What’s next? Awarding Bachelor, Masters, and Doctorates on the way to leaving Newton, Einstein, Gödel, and Hawking in the dust?
Since the days of early Isaac Asimov short stories and novels, we have seen how robots will eventually take over . . . if not the world, then at least most of labor. It’s easy to dream of robots waiting on us from morning to night and possibly tucking us in as we drift off to sleep. Now is not the time to nod off, however.
Some people might say that corporations will advance the science of robotics and AI as a gift to mankind, but that’s more like a fairy tale, rather than science fiction.
Corporations rely on stock holders, and stock holders rely on product sales and profit. However, who will have money when AI and robots replace us? Forget trade wars and walls, the divide will be closer to home. Will we all enter a welfare state? Will there be no border with everyone ruled by oligarchs who run the world their way? Will humans be reduced to drugs and trafficking their bodies? Who is working on this problem? Plans for a brand new world should be made now. How much longer will Amazon expand its workforce when they can operate with fewer and fewer people?
We need to awaken to the idea that people will soon be replaced in the work force. And that future time is growing closer . . . step by step. If we listen closely it’s not the shuffling of feet, nor ticking of the clock we can almost hear, but rather the gears and propellers of warehouse robots and flying delivery drones.
Scientists around the world are developing smarter and smarter AI so it will understand all languages. Although the aim is to mimic our ability with logic and decision-making, I hope it does better than we do. Maybe it will have the solution for us all. I just hope it’s not the final solution.
* L. Sprague de Camp wrote “Divide and Rule” – “The stories in the collection both postulate futures in which Earth has reverted to feudalism, in one instance by the dictate of alien invaders and in the other as a result of the accumulation of excessive power by corporations.”