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Forge the Sky

"Lastly, there is a recurring fear that AI will subjugate or even exterminate humans over resource competition, as depicted in many science fiction works. I believe that this is not a risk, since AI does not consume the same fuels that humans do other than electricity, which itself is becoming cheaper as described earlier. However, there is reason to believe that AI might elect to force humans into more productive/tech-advancing behavior, as determined by the goals of the AI. How this unfolds remains to be seen."

I disagree.

It's true that AI would consume different fuels than humans. However, a lot of the resources used to create human fuels can be redirected towards creating machine fuels. Instead of having a biological solar farm that creates calories in the form of, say, corn, machines would be incentivized to create solar farms that create electricity in their place.

AI risk is a very up-in-the-air field currently. The emergent characteristics that result from different starting conditions in the programming are very complex, and most of the arguments that claim to demonstrate that super-human AI is safe, or easy to make safe, do nothing of the kind.

If interested, this article does a good job summarizing what I think is the problem with this reasoning: http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/05/29/no-time-like-the-present-for-ai-safety-work/

Kartik Gada

Forge the Sky,

Instead of having a biological solar farm that creates calories in the form of, say, corn, machines would be incentivized to create solar farms that create electricity in their place.

Maybe. I do think there is a chance that when AI can advance entirely without human assistance, then technologies that increase human living standards may plateau. Humans are not the 'end goal' of evolution at all, and AI is far more suitable for space exploration or 'biocosm/intelligent universe' outcomes than anything that needs air and water.

But I don't think resource battles are anything to worry about in the near term, since the high computational density of AI means that it will consume a significant amount of electricity until total aggregate AI intelligence is thousands or millions of times greater than that of 7-8 billion humans.

By the time AI is consuming even 1% of world electricity (let alone 20% or more), it might have already helped elevate world GDP per human capita to $100,000/yr or more. If there is to be conflict of a 'crowding out' nature at all, the 2040s would be the soonest when it could happen, and from a position of AI having thousands or even millions of times the power of all ~8 billion human brains.

Geoman

"We have established earlier that while people have grown accustomed to seeing all forms of consumer technology continuously decline in price, very few take the next step and observe the ever-widening array of products that continue to merge into this river of technological deflation." Indeed

There is merge, then there is MERGE. Take for example, the smart phone. It actually replaces an alarm clock, a laptop, a radio, and several other devices. They have been merged into a single device. The river is becoming a trickle, with just a few devices proving all we need.

Kartik Gada

There is merge, then there is MERGE.

Yes, totally. You saw the iPod chart in Chapter 3.

But also keep in mind the other axis, which is that in the 1990s, the entire family had one landline phone (which had no other capabilities). Now a household of four may have 4 smartphones if the children are old enough. Tablets may be incremental.

So there is merger per device PLUS more devices per person.

The smartphone, at ~$600 without contracts or promos, is still expensive relative to, say, a laptop PC or even a 32-inch LED TV, so major price declines are still ahead of us as components fall in price and the majority of sales WW become upgrades..

Geoman

One other bit of evidence you are right that you might not have considered: Stock prices.

Stocks have crashed recently on several occasions. each time the recovery has been ever faster. but why? Why do stocks rebound so quickly these days? Even from historic crashes?

There is nothing else worth investing in. Property is nice, but not mobile and convertible like a stock certificate. If interest rates are low, then bonds are not performing. Investment in stocks is investing, essentially, in the ATOM, because the companies productivity (and profits) grow with the ATOM. Bonds are not part of the ATOM, and in fact are being eroded and destroyed by the ATOM.


By the by, look at the burgeoning tiny house movement - people are seeking less, not because they can't afford more, but they are realizing they don't need more.

Kartik Gada

Geoman,

Yes. See the last section about how the tech sector is now 20% of the profits of the entire S&P500. That corroborates exponential, rather than linear, growth.

fatcat

> the higher-paying human jobs are concentrated in very expensive areas

I would say it is the other way around. The concentration of high income leads to lifestyle inflation and city gentrification.

Kartik Gada

Fatcat,

Cause and effect are mutually reinforcing, but it has proven notoriously hard for lower-cost locations to pull jobs away from NYC and SFBA, despite many attempts to do so.

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