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The Strange Link Between Global Climate Change and the Rise of the Robots

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A robot directs traffic in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A recent paper concluded that humans would not stand a chance against super-intelligent robots following a hypothetical mass extinction event.

Credit: Federico Scoppa/AFP/Getty Images

In a recent paper, computer scientists Joel Lehman and Risto Miikkulainen attempted to determine how humans might do in an evolutionary duel with super-intelligent robots following a hypothetical mass extinction event. The researchers concluded humans would not stand a chance against robots, because humans would evolve linearly, while the super-intelligent robots could evolve exponentially.

Although the researchers' paper was purely speculative and was not specific about what might bring on a mass extinction event, futurist Dominic Basulto says one could be on its way due to the effects of climate change. Basulto notes the United Nations has predicted the major consequences of climate change, if left unaddressed, could begin to manifest by 2050, about the same time that many artificial-intelligence (AI) researchers expect to see the emergence of super-intelligence. Basulto says the confluence of these two events, combined with advances in robotic technology, could lead to just the scenario pondered by Lehman and Miikkulainen in their paper, which does not bode well for humanity in the long run.

However, Basulto says it also might be possible that humans will use advances in AI to help mitigate climate change and avoid its worst effects.

From The Washington Post
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