Humanity is just a tiny spark. If we survive the next few decades and successfully develop superintelligence, that spark will grow into a tremendous fire on the scale of a supernova. If we fall prey to existential risk, that spark will be forever extinguished.
Our present culture, accomplishments, and intelligence are little in comparison to what we have the potential to become by the end of this century. We have the potential to become so radically intelligent that our current selves are mere insects by comparison. This doesn’t mean we should hate or belittle ourselves, just realize that our greatest potential lies in our future as a civilization rather than our present.
The potential for this superlative transformation rests on three simple precepts: that radically greater-than-human intelligences are physically possible, that the speed cognitive activity is dictated by the speed of the underlying processing elements, and that intelligence can exist on a substrate other than proteinaceous neurons. I’ll briefly address these three.
Is greater-than-human intelligence possible? We have no physical evidence for this, because human beings are the only form …