Google’s chief of Artificial intelligence, Ray Kurzweil, insinuated in a recent interview that we needn't worry about climate change, poverty or neo-liberal capitalism because within a few years an army of Google robots will bring peace and prosperity to all. Kurzweil believes that singularity, and an artificial intelligence superior to humans ‘real’ intelligence, will be achievable within the next 20 years. According to Kurzweil the robots will be at least 1.5 times more intelligent than the average human, and 3.2 times faster and more efficient. Under Kurzweil’s predictions, we can let things go to rack and ruin as soon enough, those pesky robots will sort it out. Only they won’t be pesky, they will be everyone’s best friend. Google have assembled a crack team of scientists and engineers from throughout the globe in order to be the first organisation to turn what has been thus far considered science fiction into science fact, or at the very least a working scientific hypothesis.
Google are no strangers to pioneering technological advancement, they are credited with taking the national net international, the numericalisation of the alphabet and perhaps most surprising of all, the coining of the term Google. That is not to say the company has not had its failures. Goo-Goo glass, Google’s recent innovation, which seemingly allows users to pipe the internet directly into their face, came under harsh criticism when it transpired they are nothing more than ordinary glasses with mirrored undersides, giving the user a continuous view of their own eyes. In defence of the preposterous move, Google co-founder Larry Page said he thought mirrors, much like prisms, create an automated sphere of energy capturing any available internet surrounding the user for cerebral processing . He did admit that the product was only ever tested on dogs, and the gleeful barking and gnarled smile they produced on the test subjects, was probably not the result of a Pedigree Chum Google image search. In all likelihood they simply liked the look of their own eyes.
Kurzweil is not the only tech-head to make the news lately with outlandish predictions. James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis has some parallels with Kurzweil’s predictions. Insomuch as we should not waste our time on saving the planet or bringing humanity together, we should not even give our crusts to a homeless person or watch a protest on television and consider at some point maybe attending one. According to Lovelock it’s all utterly pointless as we already have a one way ticket to cataclysm, and it’s too late to do anything about it.
For many the Gaia hypothesis has come as a relief, no more sleepless nights over the accidental aluminium can in the general waste bin which landed in bean juice rendering retrieval impossible or wasted minutes contemplating the ingredients of the eco-soap they neither understand nor believe. Others prefer the idea of a world where the robots are so intelligent they can become simpering, useless wrecks and sit idly by whilst a calculator butters their toast and the robots comb their hair. Don’t worry if you are bald, the robots will invent a remedy, and probably a cure for cancer too, if they have time. I am guessing they will.