The ad­vent of ‘sin­gu­lar­ity 99’

JoongAng Daily - - Views - Roh soh-yeong

Pan­dora’s Box is fi­nally open: 2014 is likely to be recorded as the year that hu­man­ity has crossed the river of no re­turn. Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) has come out of the box. With the name tag, “Deep Learn­ing,” the AI tech­nol­ogy that re­sem­bles the hu­man think­ing and decision-mak­ing process has been in­tro­duced. Just as a net­work of count­less neu­rons per­ceives, pro­cesses and judges in­for­ma­tion, a com­puter can per­ceive, in­fer and de­cide by it­self. The fu­ture when a com­puter sur­passes hu­man think­ing is ap­proach­ing.

How ex­cit­ing is it? Just as the in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion freed much of hu­man­ity from phys­i­cal la­bor, the in­for­ma­tion revo­lu­tion will free us from the men­tal la­bor of work­ing our brains, right? Com­put­ers can take care of most white-col­lar jobs, and they would largely take over ser­vices that re­quire ad­vanced pro­fes­sional knowl­edge, such as medicine and law. When tremen­dous com­put­ing power is com­bined with an AI al­go­rithm, hu­man­ity will ex­pe­ri­ence a max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency that we never could have imag­ined.

In the fu­ture, when ma­chines re­place all phys­i­cal and men­tal labors, hu­mans are not re­quired. Com­put­ers can pro­duce, sell, teach, learn, seek, choose and im­prove them­selves. Aside from emo­tional, aes­thetic or eth­i­cal de­ci­sions, all other de­ci­sions can be made by com­put­ers with rel­a­tively weak AI. Per­haps, as we saw in the movie “Her,” strong AI can even make emo­tional de­ci­sions, like whom we should or should not date.

As AI be­comes more ad­vanced, there will be an in­tel­lec­tual ex­plo­sion, or an ad­vent of su­per-in­tel­li­gence that sur­passes hu­man in­tel­li­gence.

Sci­en­tists call it “sin­gu­lar­ity.” Just like a black hole, the fu­ture after sin­gu­lar­ity is beyond hu­man de­duc­tion.

In­deed, will this day come? Most peo­ple seem to con­sider it a theme out of a sci-fi novel. But what was once a mere sci­en­tific the­ory is in­creas­ingly com­pelling to schol­ars. It’s a mat­ter of tim­ing, and the ad­vent of sin­gu­lar­ity is the log­i­cal con­clu­sion of a com­puter’s progress.

It is a ver­sion of fu­ture that most peo­ple don’t wel­come. The ser­vant we hire to do chores grad­u­ally be­comes smarter and even­tu­ally drives us out. Ac­cord­ing to Ray Kurzweil, the di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing at Google who over­sees AI de­vel­op­ment, this day will come in 2045. While schol­ars have dif­fer­ent views, the dom­i­nant pre­dic­tion is that sin­gu­lar­ity will ar­rive within the cen­tury. Com­put­ers are lead­ing hu­man­ity into a whole new world.

We can al­ready see signs of sin­gu­lar­ity around us. While the world is ex­pand­ing thanks to the tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment, many peo­ple are lost. Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment guar­an­tees end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties and ben­e­fits to the 1 per­cent, who own the tech­nol­ogy, while the re­main­ing 99 per­cent are likely to be­come part of the sur­plus. In fact, many col­lege grad­u­ates are strug­gling to find jobs.

Gov­ern­ments are spend­ing astro­nom­i­cal sums to boost the mar­ket, but the econ­omy shows no sign of re­bound­ing. The cul­prit of po­lar­iza­tion is tech­nol­ogy.

Un­til now, dis­cus­sions on tech­nol­ogy have mostly fo­cused on con­ve­nience and the im­proved hu­man ca­pac­ity that tech­no­log­i­cal progress brings. How­ever, there hasn’t been a dis­cus­sion on the majority of mankind who pos­sess the func­tions that are be­ing re­placed by tech­nol­ogy. In a world where 1 per­cent are pro­gram­mers and su­per-man­agers, what will the re­main­ing 99 per­cent do?

Will they just con­sume what ma­chines pro­duce? Where will they de­rive an in­come? What will be­come of the fu­ture of a democ­racy sup­ported by the mid­dle class? How will they be taxed? Will business gi­ants like Google pro­vide so­cial in­fra­struc­ture on be­half of the state, wherein we be­come the cit­i­zens of Google?

We can­not give up. We can­not let less than 1 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion de­cide the fu­ture of hu­man­ity. It is im­por­tant to use new tech­nolo­gies to make money and make the coun­try richer and stronger.

But at the same time, we need to study the ef­fect of new tech­nol­ogy on our lives. There needs to be an eth­i­cal, po­lit­i­cal, le­gal, philo­soph­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional dis­cus­sion.

What prob­lems will we have in a world where drones fly ev­ery­where? Who is li­able when a driver­less car gets into an ac­ci­dent? How far should brain-en­hance­ment tech­nol­ogy be al­lowed to ad­vance?

There are so many is­sues that mankind needs to re­solve.

Sin­gu­lar­ity 99 is a plat­form that seeks ways for the 99 per­cent of the hu­man­ity to live along­side tech­nol­ogy and keep hu­man dig­nity. We are not tech­nol­ogy haters. Rather, we want to do our best to seek and de­velop tech­nol­ogy that ben­e­fits hu­man­ity. There is no fu­ture with­out tech­nol­ogy. But it is still our share to choose which tech­nol­ogy to de­velop and adapt, and come to­gether, re­fus­ing to give up on the sliver of hope for the fu­ture. We be­lieve that hu­man hearts are more im­por­tant than Pan­dora’s Box.

We need new ed­u­ca­tion for the new era. The ed­u­ca­tion of the in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion pe­riod can­not nav­i­gate the fu­ture. The in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion-era ed­u­ca­tion that fo­cused on read­ing, writ­ing and cal­cu­la­tion wouldn’t be help­ful in the in­for­ma­tion era. The stan­dard­ized ed­u­ca­tion that “pro­duces” stu­dents from a con­veyer belt would be ac­tu­ally harm­ful. It will just kill cre­ativ­ity. In­dus­trial man­u­fac­tured goods will not sell in the mar­ket any­more.

New ed­u­ca­tion should be fresh in terms of con­tent and the method of de­liv­ery. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on lan­guage arts, English and math­e­mat­ics, a cur­ricu­lum that builds on cre­ativ­ity should be de­vel­oped. One-way, stan­dard­ized teach­ing should be re­placed by in­ter­ac­tive learn­ing. To­day, ex­per­i­ments and re­search on new ed­u­ca­tion are pur­sued around the world. The di­rec­tion of fu­ture ed­u­ca­tion should fo­cus on three ma­jor el­e­ments: per­son­al­iza­tion, net­work and cre­ativ­ity. Now, we set out on our jour­ney in search of new ed­u­ca­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Korea, Republic

© PressReader. All rights reserved.