Spikosauropod, now known as Zox, on the KurzweilAI forums raised a very, very good point that fit in line with what I've always suspected.
It's actually a basic, beautiful truth now that I think of it.
The Singularity will happen, whether we want it to or not. And the reason why?
China is proof that the Technological Singularity is inevitable and unavoidable. Trust China to force the global hand.
China is willing to accept any risk in order to become powerful. This will force the rest of the world to follow suit. The world may wish to approach AI cautiously, but China is obviously throwing caution to the wind. Therefore the world has a choice between accepting China as its overlord or risking AI as its overlord. I expect the world to favor the uncertainty of AI.
As I've said, I've always suspected it. I said about as much in another post here...
"Scientists Argue the US Ban on Human Gene Editing Will Leave It Behind"
Fuck. Yes. Fuck. Yes. Yes. Yes. Fuck.
Seriously, when will people ever learn that banning something here only means it's not banned over there, and that's where everyone will take their business? It's why I keep harping about technological unemployment and the necessity of Vyrdism— companies that don't automate will go out of business, and not everyone can afford to be "Pro-Human Hands" when it's a basic market reality that the average consumer will choose the lower price over higher quality 90% of the time.
It's why gun control will always have limited effectiveness. Sure, it'll prevent your children from accidentally shooting you, and it'll reduce some levels of gun violence, but if someone wants to kill you, they're going to kill you. If they have to fly halfway around the world to get a gun to make it so, they will.
That's why drug laws will always fail. Sooner or later, the prohibition will crack. The first place that legalizes drugs then gets an economic boom and also gets to enjoy destroying preconceived notions about drug use. These economies thus become healthier while those that remain prohibition-friendly just hafta resort to either losing taxpayers or becoming more totalitarian in their methods.
You can't just develop something and then ban it and think it's gone away forever, or that you're the only authority on the matter. See: US in 1948 involving nuclear weapons.
China's probably two decades ahead of the US when it comes to genetic engineering, and that's factoring in their inferior-quality laboratories. We already know they're well ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to geoengineering.
The fact of the matter is, China's probably going to rule the world simply because they are not offended by so many things as we are. Things like playing God. They'll eagerly screw with genes, with artificial intelligence, with the environment, if it means they get ahead. We've been top dog for so long, we've forgotten what it takes and have even begun working to debilitate ourselves.
In fact, I've been saying such things for a few years now, but it's always been in reference to biotechnology and designer babies. I had never taken the time to consider that it applies for just about any futurist sci-tech.
It's literally Realpolitik 101— don't let the enemy have an advantage to you. Don't even let them have a theoretical advantage to you.
The reason why the West has not developed things like human cloning or artificial general intelligence yet is because we've controlled the world for so long that our will be done. Western leaders want to carefully control what is and isn't developed based on neoliberal, egalitarian ideals. The idea that Growth = Good, Employment = Good, Egalitarianism = Good, Individualism = Good is rooted in Western civilization, and is one reason why we're content with letting computers get faster and phones get smarter, but we draw the line at anything 'unethical.'
to our effete, liberal Western ideals.
They don't give a fuck about whether or not we'd like human cloning, ASI, or designer babies. They're going to develop these things, and if we don't follow suit, they'll eagerly use our weakness to bend us over. All we can do is meekly beg for it gentle, and hope they don't harbor any resentment for things like the Opium Wars or the Korean War.
But you don't actually think the West would allow ourselves to be bent over, right?
That's why, as soon as it's clear that China will not respect our bans on things such as
- Genetically engineered humans
- Killer Autonomous Robots
- Nuclear power
... Western powers will conveniently forget we pursued banning such things as well.
Remember when China continued burning coal despite our climate agreements? It raised the question of why we, the West, bothered with such an act if it meant China wasn't going to honor the commitment? What stopped China from continuing coal usage wasn't anything we did. No, we couldn't had 20 Paris Agreements and China still would've laughed at us. No, it was because China was choking under smog that they turned away from coal. They realized that solar's cheap enough to provide some energy, but they're really looking forward to nuclear power to provide what they need.
Oh noes, Greenpeace will be so triggered by Chin— no one gives a fuck. Least of all, China. Greenpeace can cry until they've filled up all the dried up lakes from all that climate change they helped to cause by opposing nuclear— China won't give them the time of day.
Same deal with AI. We've been taking it relatively slow with AI, and we've been trying to ban killer robots outright. China? Fuck that noise, they'll gladly replace their entire military with a nigh-invincible mechanized blitzkrieg of death that could crush the world in a week.
Fact of the matter is, one of us is going to get to the Singularity first.
Would you rather it be the West, or would you rather it be China?