Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How should anticipated advances in AI change how we live right now?

Usually when we anticipate massive changes in the future it has a profound impact on how we are living right now.  Much of our daily lives are taken up preparing for the future: earning money, educating our children, exercising, preparing healthy foods, etc.  Each of those things has some immediate benefits, e.g. there is a certain amount of money I need right now to survive.  Only a small percentage is saved for next month, year, or retirement.  Similarly, educating my children brings some degree of immediate joy because I enjoy spending time with them and watching their joy at mastering new skills.  But a large fraction of educating my children has less to do with our immediate joy and more to do with planning for the future.  So, one would think, that a radically transformed expectation for the future would lead to some pretty significant changes to my daily life.  But for the most part it hasn't.  My daily routine (or depending on my mood, daily grind) is basically the same.

If I was solidly convinced that 20-30 years would bring the second coming of Christ, or a nuclear holocaust, or the collapse of civilization, or a social revolution that made property and money irrelevant, it would surely change my day-to-day priorities today.  The development of superintelligence is, in my estimation, without question an equivalent or greater change--a change that will have a more profound impact on what it means to be human, alive, me.  So why is my day-to-day mostly unchanged?

Part of the answer is probably that I'm not convinced about the timeline.  Perhaps the tipping point into superintelligence will come right after I die of old age instead of in my late 50s or 60s.  I don't want to be a pauper in my 70s and 80s.  Well... truth is I don't spend much time planning for retirement, but I do spend a lot of time trying to increase my wealth, in part because I think wealth might be an important factor in determining whether the singularity and the pre-singularity turn out well for me and my family.  So perhaps a large part of why my day-to-day remains the same is because my day-to-day without the expectation of the singularity is largely taken up with earning money, and it just so happens that earning money seems like it might be important even in light of the singularity.

So how should expectation of the singularity change how I live right now?

Here is one idea:  it should change what I'm teaching my kids.

What else?