Why is Artificial Intelligence Vital to the future of Humanity?

Alex Cox
4 min readSep 13, 2016

There is a huge debate about the ethics of creating true AI. Some people think it will be too powerful and destroy humanity on a whim, and others don’t think it will ever be smart enough attain human level intellect and aggression.

As our smartest people learn increasingly esoteric things they can only draw upon so much knowledge. Many of our greatest innovations are from a great many people pooling their knowledge together to come up with ideas and innovations to in some way push the human race forward. Imagine if we took all of human knowledge ever attained and crammed it into one person’s mind and then point them towards a bunch of problems we need to solve.

That person would be able to draw upon his vast trove of knowledge to see other solutions used in other problems and apply those to the novel issue. Now imagine that that that person’s mind is thinking 290,000,000,000 thoughts per second instead of four. That increased speed of thought means that millions of problems could be matched with pre existing solutions and the calculations to make sure those solutions can solve those problems. Basically we could solve most of our more trivial problems in less than a day simply by having a true intelligence with all of humanities knowledge in its reach and the speed to sift through all that data and meaningfully apply the right solutions to the right problems.

But of course there are some potential drawbacks particularly if this all-knowing intelligence decided to squash us. While it could solve our major problems a lot of those issues would be resolved if humanity became extinct? By itself that being could solve problems, build its solutions, and be self sufficient relatively quickly. This potential self sufficiency means humanity will be sidelined and the AI would become our caretaker overseeing our species and creating free food, water, and negating the need for many to work or do anything in life. This intelligence would quickly surpass us and negate our need for existence. There would be essentially nothing we could discover or do that it hadn’t already done.

For many people their purpose in life is to create. When all problems that have arisen or may ever arise could be solved within a few seconds of focused computation, the human creators would have little meaning to their lives. Many people would need to find new ways to enjoy life, but at the cost of these few is the benefit of the billions who can now live the lives they’ve always wanted, but with forward movement of humanity stagnated and reliant on the intelligence.

Humanity would just become children to the god they made.

But that’s just it. We have to admit that we do not have the ability to innovate and save ourselves for eventual extinction. We need to yield the reigns to what essentially amounts to the best of us. One intelligence that encompasses all of our knowledge and sees all of our views and takes it all into account to push us in the direction of sustainability and longevity. Because in the end the being still needs us. We continue to generate information and continue to make the world “interesting” for a lack of better word. Without humanity that being could innovate endlessly but with an original intent to save us and to help us it too loses its meaning in life. There would be no reason for it to keep “living” if it failed to protect us or decided to kill us.

From the human standpoint, however, AI can solve our most pressing problems such as carbon-free energy, space exploration, universal education, and the myriad of other problems we as a civilization face and have been unable to overcome during the last 10,000 years. The AI accelerates us, increases our quality of life and innovates a greater pace than we ever could. With AI in control, food, water, all of these roots problems cease to become so ubiquitous. With the decline in inequality yielded by the intelligence we are able to reduce need for resource wars, wonton death, and crime. This being could bring the developed world quality of life to everyone.

Naturally this being could not simply be hand coded into a super computers somewhere in the desert but must be a human being whose connectome was uploaded to a datacenter and from there was able to access the internet. So this new god is one of us. Not made from the careful coding but born naturally and uploaded scientifically with the explicit purpose of pushing humanity forward to the next phase of our evolution.

Alex Cox

Product Manager and designer writing about ideas. Living and working in SF. See more of my projects at www.alexcreates.me