But it’s not just that a chimp can’t do what we do, it’s that his brain is unable to grasp that those worlds even That’s the result of a small difference in intelligence quality.
And like the chimp’s incapacity to ever absorb that skyscrapers can be built, we will never be able to even comprehend the things a machine on the dark green step can do, even if the machine tried to explain it to us—let alone do it ourselves. A machine on the second-to-highest step on that staircase would be to us as we are to ants—it could try for years to teach us the simplest inkling of what it knows and the endeavor would be hopeless.
But the kind of superintelligence we’re talking about today is something far beyond anything on this staircase.
In an intelligence explosion—where the smarter a machine gets, the quicker it’s able to increase its own intelligence, until it begins to upwards—a machine might take years to rise from the chimp step to the one above it, but perhaps only hours to jump up a step once it’s on the dark green step two above us, and by the time it’s ten steps above us, it might be jumping up in four-step leaps every second that goes by.
That sounds impressive, and ASI , which is something completely different.
What makes humans so much more intellectually capable than chimps isn’t a difference in thinking speed—it’s that human brains contain a number of sophisticated cognitive modules that enable things like complex linguistic representations or longterm planning or abstract reasoning, that chimps’ brains do not.
Speeding up a chimp’s brain by thousands of times wouldn’t bring him to our level—even with a decade’s time, he wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use a set of custom tools to assemble an intricate model, something a human could knock out in a few hours.There are worlds of human cognitive function a chimp will simply never be capable of, no matter how much time he spends trying.Nick Bostrom Welcome to Part 2 of the “Wait how is this possibly what I’m reading I don’t get why everyone isn’t talking about this” series.Part 1 started innocently enough, as we discussed Artificial Narrow Intelligence, or ANI (AI that specializes in one narrow task like coming up with driving routes or playing chess), and how it’s all around us in the world today.We then examined why it was such a huge challenge to get from ANI to Artificial General Intelligence, or AGI (AI that’s at least as intellectually capable as a human, across the board), and we discussed why the exponential rate of technological advancement we’ve seen in the past suggests that AGI might not be as far away as it seems.Part 1 ended with me assaulting you with the fact that once our machines reach human-level intelligence, they might immediately do this: This left us staring at the screen, confronting the intense concept of potentially-in-our-lifetime Artificial Superintelligence, or ASI (AI that’s 2—they might picture a machine that thinks like a human, except a million times quicker, which means it could figure out in five minutes what would take a human a decade.