We would like to know when we may expect thinking computers that are smarter than we are.
First, we need sufficient affordable computer power. In an article by Tim Urban, he says that Kurzweil suggests that we think about the state of computers by looking at how many cps you can buy for $1,000. Moore’s Law is a historically-reliable rule that the world’s maximum computing power doubles approximately every two years. Looking at how this relates to Kurzweil’s cps/$1,000 metric, we’re currently at about 10 trillion cps/$1,000. This puts us on pace to get to an affordable computer by 2025 that rivals the power of the brain.
But this assumes that we need the power of the brain to do Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI). If we can get an economical computer to think more efficiently than the way evolution created by trial-and-error, then indeed the 2025 date is a worst case scenario. Even if an AI computer exceeds our thinking ability in only narrow fields, it will be disruptive. I have already mentioned how ASI will devastate the stock market if it learns to predict stock changes that we mere humans cannot predict. And what will happen if a rogue country gets an ASI ability as to how to beat us in wars? Or if an ASI computer decides that it would be more secure with less humans screwing around with nuclear weapons and global warming?
We are looking at a possible scenario of ASI, at least in a few narrow fields, sooner than 2025! Maybe in as little as 5 years!