Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

And This is How it Starts

Keywords: quantum computing, AI, and 2020.

Something profound is happening…

There’s a very big news story making the rounds right now, but like so many advances in technology it probably won’t register much in the cultural zeitgeist. But make no mistake: it has the potential to change everything.

Quantum computing just went from something that might happen to something that is happening now. Google has announced the results of it’s first definitive example of functional quantum computing, and it looks like ground zero for the next phase of technological development. According to their report: Google’s first quantum computer just finished a task in 200 seconds that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years to complete.

It is the moment of proof of concept. Richard Feynman was right.

William Oliver of MIT compared the feat to the Wright Brothers maiden voyage at Kitty Hawk. It is the moment where human culture takes an exponential leap forward instead of following the easier to understand linear trajectory.

But the through-line that jumps out at me is the massive global push to develop General AI, now coupled with the apparent successful demonstration that Quantum computing actually works.

You don’t have to be a genius to see where this is going. If Ray Kurzweil is right and we are hitting the knee of an exponential curve of technological development (indeed, technology has been developing exponentially from the beginning – it just began so slow we didn’t see it), then breakthroughs are going to continue to happen in all sectors at an ever accelerating pace…

Where all this is going to end up is anyone’s guess, but if I were a betting man I would say that General AI is the next step in human evolutionary terms. Exactly what part humans are going to play once that moment arrives will determine the fate of the species.

Carbon based evolution may very well just have been an evolutionary tool for technology. It needed us to create something that in the end would be more powerful than we are.

The question is: Did we create our own existential threat, or will we go along for the ride?