The Singularity Will Be in Your Shoes

When will we know that superintelligence has reached the so-called “Singularity”? (When artificial intelligence, or A.I., has exceeded human intelligence.)

Well, how about when the microchips in your shoes are smarter than you.

That’s SoftBank Robotics CEO Masayoshi Son’s thesis. He proffered it last week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There, his keynote address focused on the rapid advancement of A.I.

I must admit that I’m fascinated by this subject. The idea of superintelligence and the Singularity are cases where science fiction will soon be science fact … and well-within my lifetime.

According to Son, as reported in at the tech frontier website Inverse, by 2047, a single computer chip will have an IQ of 10,000.

That easily surpasses the most-intelligent people in the world.

In fact, the highest IQ ever reportedly belonged to William James Sidis, who at the age of 11 was studying mathematics at Harvard. His IQ was estimated to be between 250 and 300.

Seems like we humans are way behind the intelligence curve.

According to the SoftBank founder, and one of the richest men in the world, artificial intelligence will be able to continuously improve itself and control all of the smart technology and connected devices.

Son thinks this is something that can and should be embraced by humans, and not feared. In this way, he is very much like Tesla Motors (TSLA) genius CEO Elon Musk.

Both think humans can and should consider A.I. and the Singularity a partner in human progress.

Here’s the money quote from Son from his talk at the Mobile World Congress:

“One of the chips in our shoes in the next 30 years will be smarter than our brain. We will be less than our shoes. And we are stepping on them … I think this superintelligence is going to be our partner. If we misuse it, it’s a risk. If we use it in good spirits, it will be our partner for a better life.”

Yet how will we be able to live with intelligence all around us that dwarfs our own?

More importantly, how can we control and make a partnership with intelligent machines that can “outthink” us?

***

There are a lot of issues here. And there are many smart people working on solutions in the fields of computer science, mathematics, robotics … and even ethics.

To make his point, Son used an interesting analogy about the number of neurons in the human brain and the number of connections found in computer chips.

Son’s prediction for how computer chips will have more connections than within a human brain by 2047. Source: Inverse.com

In referring the graphic above, Son said:

“The point is that mankind, for the last 2,000 years — 4,000 years — has had the same number of neurons in our brain. We haven’t improved the hardware in our brain … But this [see graphic], in the next 30 years, is going to be one million times more. If you have a million times more binary systems, I think they will be smarter than us.”

One thing interesting about Son is that he’s definitely embracing the Singularity.

His company is developing A.I. via the SoftBank Vision Fund. His plan is to use the $100 billion fund to back technology companies developing artificial intelligence solutions.

Son’s glee about superintelligence was by no means hidden.

Per his speech:

“If this superintelligence goes into moving robots, the world, our lifestyle dramatically changes. We can expect all kinds of robots … Flying, swimming, big, micro, run, two legs, four legs, 100 legs.”

With that many super-intelligent robots in that many places, will there be room for humans, too?

***

What do you think about superintelligence, A.I. and the future of humanity? It’s a complex, interesting and eminently important subject, and I’d like to know what you think of it. And, doing so is easy. All you have to do is leave me a comment on our website or send me an e-mail.

***

Yesterday’s session kept its title as the best market day of 2017 so far. Today traders took profits off the table, and the Dow Industrials saw a triple-digit loss (-112.6 points, or 0.5%) that left it just above the 21,000 mark.

• Broker price war: E*Trade (ETFC) just lowered its commissions to $6.95 for all customers, from $9.95. This after both Fidelity and Schwab (SCHW) dropped their online stock and ETF trading commissions to $4.95 earlier this week. ETFC fell 3.2% today.

• The biggest tech IPO since Alibaba: Snap Inc. (SNAP) priced its shares at $17, which valued the company at around $24 billion. “24” was clearly the magic number here, as shares ended their first day of trade at $24.48, up 44%.

• Another reason to ‘cut the cord’: YouTube TV is coming to a computer or smartphone near you in the next few months. Alphabet’s (GOOGL) live and on-demand streaming TV service is set to debut with up to 40 channels. The bundle will include broadcast networks, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Disney, Bravo, E!, National Geographic and more for $35 per month. (Variety)

• $14 million: After an investigation into its massive security breaches that it failed to quickly divulge, Yahoo! (YHOO) won’t give CEO Marissa Mayer a 2016 cash bonus. She also forfeited her 2017 annual equity award. Add Mayer’s $14 million personal loss to the now-$350 million that’s been shaved off Verizon’s (VZ) takeover offer for YHOO, and remember what we told you: “The cover-up is always worse than the crime.”

• 70% odds: The CME’s FedWatch Tool puts the likelihood of a rate hike at the Fed’s March 14-15 meeting at 70%.

Good luck and happy investing,

Brad Hoppmann
Publisher
Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “The Singularity Will Be in Your Shoes”

  1. Humans will “evolve” in intelligence, thanks to cyborg implants, to the point where we are smart enough not to let the AI take over. We will have a multitude of assistant AI/bots that we can direct and become more powerful as the singularity approaches. We should be a) smart enough to stop it or b) powerful enough to leave the solar system

  2. Before you get too enthused over this super-intelligence remember two things. Intelligence by itself is as useless as power by itself: they both have to be applied to do any good – or bad. And computer intelligence is barren – there is no consciousness – and no conscience. The supposed chip in your shoes may be 100 times smarter than you, but let’s see it tie its own shoelaces. To give a concrete example, we now hear of much capital going into the development of driverless cars, even freight trucks. My prediction is, one of these things is going to cause a multi-vehicle crash, with injuries, even fatalities, and that will be the end of that. There is no substitute for common sense and being truly aware, conscious, of your environment. A silicon ship is neither, and will never be.

  3. I agree with Jo Mueller and have less than zero interest in AI, VR, automaton, “self driving” cars, sex robots, or any of that crap. Those of you thinking it’s going to be all sweetness and light are simply wrong. Those of you here are of a higher caliber and inherently interact with others of a higher caliber. The vast majority of humanity is not and will not react the same way.

    Just look at the level of obesity and chronic illness that has become rampant in the last 30 years alone, with the explosion of restaurants, processed food, use of microwaves, sedentary jobs, sedentary entertainment. Most humans gravitate towards the path of least resistance. Remove their need to think and act, and they won’t. Similar to calculators or cell phone address books, how much math can people do in their heads these days? How many phone numbers do they know?

    I don’t see any good prospects for the future at all and the only reason I’m still alive is because my mother is. As soon as she’s gone, I’m going to burn through whatever she leaves behind and check the hell out. I.Can’t.Wait!

  4. What I see happening is humans will become chipped as interfaces directly to the brain evolve. Such chips will make available to humans the capability for near instant access to languages, the capability to access and understand the content of many varied data bases, near instant medical support (including life saving interventions), constant access to accurate weather reporting and predicting, etc., etc., etc.. In short, we will become near cyborgs and those who do not get chipped will simply be left behind.

    There are dangers within this approach such as hacking into persons lives through their chips, influencing directly what people think and how they act. Such nefarious actions will become common.

    Robots themselves will become common and accepted throughout society, but these robots will not in themselves be super intelligent as we have about reached the limits of “moore’s law”. They will however have access to the cloud and hence just about everything man knows, but then so will we. To paraphrase POGO, we have met the robots and they are us.

  5. I was just at an AI/Machine Learning meetup in Silicon Valley 2 nights ago. It was hosted by a law firm and was full of venture capitalists, founders of AI/ML companies, academics, etc. A big topic there and in every similar get together is the moral and ethical issues. The people writing comments saying no one is discussing ethics are wrong. I actually would like to have more discussion on topics like those posed in artificiallawyer.com That doesn’t mean I am not interested in the ethical issues but I want something more to talk about.

    Tonight I spoke to someone whose job got replaced by a robot at the Tesla factory. He was delighted – said the job was boring and repetitive. He’s retraining by going back to school and looking around – thinks he wants to learn some engineering to be able to do something with autonomous cars. He didn’t mention anything about more sex and having kids. He was learning how to pitch a start up to investors. He also told me that companies displacing workers are holding community style meetings to discuss it before hand and some are talking of retraining the displace to learn coding on the fly to help train the robots. It’s good PR because often the workers are also the customers. And I like to look at the saving of lives with tech – just spoke to drone company founder and the future is bright for industrial use such as inspecting rural electrical lines, rescuing people in fires or rugged mountains.

    I think it is an amazing time for AI and machine learning – and since humans love pushing boundaries we will do the same here. Remember the old maps that said “Dragons live here” – that was in the times of “the earth was flat”. But the sailors sailed on and life went on and somewhere we found out the earth wasn’t flat. Maybe next we will find out how to teleport consciousness. Or maybe we have to have Elon get us to Mars to figure it out. We will always be pushing boundaries, its human nature and if that leads to the singularity, well, maybe that’s the next gen dragons.

  6. So far I do not see any artificial intelligence anywhere. What I see are are sophisticated programs running on extremely powerful computers. Intelligence means creative thinking and not just locating facts.
    Nevertheless, in all this excitement I hear little about the human consequences. Btw, the Europeans are already discussing the social implications whereas US companies and scientists are willing to throw millions under the bus. Just too bad!
    If humans get no work to do any more and have no more goals they will either destroy their own species or will idle. If they idle the globe has to be turned into a big resort though I cannot imagine 1 billion people to play golf or go skiing. There is no space for that. Someone has to pay for all that and the only solution I see is complete socialism. On top of this, if all humanity will idle and have no more financial worries they have more time for sex and will increase the birth rates. Earth is already overpopulated as we speak and it will only get worse. Idle people may flock to religious gurus who tell them to kill each other like IS does already. They may just add robots to their hit lists and we will come full circle.

  7. “Terminator” and “skynet” come to mind; from what I’ve read skynet is almost a reality. How long before the robots decide to eliminate humans?

  8. Hi,
    I fully support Billy’s comments above !!!!
    Super AI begs a multitude of questions and doubts :
    – Will it be our master or our slave ?
    – Will it encourage or belittle or humiliate us?
    – What is good or bad for AI?
    – Is it so smart that it can replicate and/or be indestructable ?
    – Can it be “hacked” ?
    – If it’s so smart, can “we” program it or does it program itself ?

    All in all it seems like a nuclear bomb, in the wrong hands, a disaster.

  9. HI Brad,

    Well, Lord knows how evil man can be! This is why the founding fathers set up checks and balances. So, having said this, your article on AI and Robots is NOTHING LESS than frightening!! Why? No, it’s not the great things that Robots and AI can do to help humanity. Its what happens when greedy, money hungry, power hungry, control hungry, ownership hungry Global Elites use, exploit, and leverage this technology for their OWN interests and NOT the interests of the world’s middle class.

  10. Thanks for the heads up about YouTube TV Brad, keep up the good work on telling us things we might not have heard. I have been a cord cutter for over 3 years and just use free content on the web for TV sources. But I may consider a streaming bundle as these prices are about what basic cable cost 25 years ago, which would be very reasonable today. That is if the prices don’t escalate to unreasonable, like the cable companies did. When I cut the cord 3 years ago basic was $83.00 a month, cable is not worth that and never will be.

  11. Although Son’s enthusiastic prediction of connections in a computer chip appears to be exponential, it is very likely that some limiting factor will appear that will stop the exponential rise. But even if the limiting factor appears at some geometric multiple of the number of connections in a human brain, that will still be a powerful chip/computer.

  12. A singularity is, by definition, a point beyond which we cannot project our current experience because EVERYTHING changes, so predicting what may happen is no more than a guess. Having said that, however, I recall another quote, but not who said it, as follows: The best way to predict the future is to create it.
    I am currently 63 years old, and don’t expect to have much to do with creating that future. I just hope and pray that those who seek to create AIs supportive of the human race are more skillful and capable than those who want to create AIs that serve primarily their personal ends, whatever those ends might be. I really do expect that those who create the AIs will influence strongly their motivation, for lack of a better word.

  13. If you have intelligent people in control of AI there is no problem, if you have people from North Korea, Iran, ISIS, or similar groups, I could see how AI could be used as a weapon against those who do not hold their views………Bill

  14. Technology is amazing and has improved people’s lives, but it isn’t all positive. These tech titans have possibly more arrogance than the robber barons of 100+ years ago, and a lot more hubris. Social media has coarsened, instead of enlightened, discourse. Old Media and tech titans try to monopolize information. I have never heard of Masayoshi Son, but I have heard of Elon Musk, and he seems to be more successful at fleecing taxpayers than providing real value.

    “AI”, “internet of things”, “social media”, and other tech buzzwords will not overcome the increasingly coarse, hostile, divided, and amoral trends that are pulling “advanced” countries down.

    Technology will not save us.

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