Will artificial Intelligence help us predict the future of humanity, after analyzing the current situations mankind goes through?
Quora presented me with the above question, and here’s my answer:
A hypothetical superintelligent AI will be capable of keeping track of millions or billions of datapoints in its artificial mind, concurrently, continuously, whereas we humans can only keep track of a handful each moment. That AI will be able to find hidden connections between those datapoints, many layers deep, that humans alone will never find, not with all the time in the world. So much seems clear.
But will it be able to predict the future of humanity?
Well, it will be able to extrapolate the rate of technological progresss, because it is helping creating it. It will monitor and predict environmental changes long before they occur. It will compute different predictive paths for unknowable events (catastrophes, meteor impact, virus outbreaks, etc.) But most importantly, it will be able to predict the behavior of individual humans and of large groups of humans with uncanny accuracy. To us, humans seem unstable and unpredictable. To it, we are like automatons, operating within well-understood boundaries.
That hypothetical AI will be able to make predictions for individual trends and for the overall development of the world that hold true for years, or in some cases decades, maybe even more. However, it will not be able to predict the future indefinitely, because there will be hard limits to its capabilities. Even for a superintelligent AI, there is an upper bound for what it can know and predict; defined by a) its hardware, and b) the indeterministic nature of the world itself. The farther into the future the AIs predictions go, the farther they will diverge from reality. But since the AI is continuously updating its predictions with billions of datapoints, we humans will never catch it being wrong with anything in a big way. For us, it will seem like an oracle that knows everything, past, present and future.
Now to the original question: Will that AI help to predict the destiny of humankind, and make suggestions as to what needs to be changed for progress and survival? Yes, it will most certainly do that. And this is also where it becomes increasingly dangerous: Put that kind of power into human hands — the power to know, with certainty, how peoples react and how they can be directed and manipulated — put that into a human hand, and we’re going to meet our Dystopia in a tenth of a generation or less.