Superintelligence


If you will, unmoor yourself from the present and follow me to the year 2068. Automobiles crawl on highways like a river of mindless ants; airplanes climb atop clouds with measured precision; stocks rise and fall like empires—but in 2068, the whole world is automated. Automobiles are self-driven, air- planes y without a pilot, stocks are managed by artificial intelligence. In 2068, robots have become teachers, insurers, realtors, environmentalists, artists and musicians, because, in 2068, robots are the infallible creatures that humans never were. That which is produced by artificial intelligence is most perfect and efficient. Imperfect, scandal-ridden politicians no longer run for office. Indie bands with their imperfect sound no longer ll the air with music. Human astronauts no longer trace constellations.

Humans have managed to hold onto a few jobs; most notably tap- dancing, a phenomenon not even robots have mastered. Some humans used to work on program- ming robots, but for the past de- cade, robots have become better at programming robots than humans. Mostly, humans eat food made by robot chefs (who begrudgingly wear those ridiculous white hats) and tinker with antiques. By 2068, artificial intelligence has become more intelligent than human intelligence and, as a result, the world works better.

Humans have collectively realized that the root cause of all war and poverty and inequality was the mere imperfection of being human. The problem all along had been a

shared frailty.

But I implore you, dearest reader, to realize that the root cause of all that is beautiful in this world is its imperfection. Frailty, jealously, greed, hubris and exceptionalism compel beauty and vivaciousness and a sense of precious, miraculous life. We must not desire perfection, but the tragic and unusual specter of being alive at all.

Humans are not special because they are intelligent, for robots can be superintelligent. Humans are in- stead special because of the throb- bing heart, the pulsing verve, the curious soul.

We are, to quote author Dave Eggers, “tragic and unusual and alive”, and that seems to be enough to conquer the desire of perfection and the

temptations of a robot-induced utopia.

At least, I hope it is.

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