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Jeruba's avatar

What will happen when catastrophic warming meets the AI apocalypse?

Asked by Jeruba (55323points) 2 months ago

This account of the latest UN report on climate change
says that we have only a very few years to make some very big changes: ”...after decades of disregarding scientific warnings and delaying climate efforts, the window for action is rapidly closing.”

Meanwhile, this assessment of the potential of the current leap in AI capability and its appropriation of human language
threatens the collapse of human culture:
“The time to reckon with A.I. is before our politics, our economy and our daily life become dependent on it…. If we wait for the chaos to ensue, it will be too late to remedy it.”

What will happen when these two seemingly unstoppable forces meet in battle?

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16 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We won’t need Jim Cantore to go to the Outer Banks when a Cat 5+ hurricane is about to hit North Carolina.

Ai can do it !

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

We will have small very sophisticated groups of independent people. While most die off the remaining will thrive.

Dig_Dug's avatar

Well with the current thinking of our politicians that can’t even commit to where to set the freaking clock, they are gonna screw around and let us all burn! They can’t think themselves out of a wet paper bag, so with their interest in big oil and $$$ they don’t care about our planet. Until we are up to our necks in pollution and undrinkable water then they may want to do something. (hint) too late!

gondwanalon's avatar

Lots of predictions of what “could” happen by 2100. A monster asteroid “could” touch down or a nuclear war “could” break out or the Sun “could” explode.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the warming is going to cause significant migration; migration within countries and across boarders. It will be significant in many parts of the world.

My guess is the advancements in AI will either create incredibly scary times, or help usher in a great time of peace and health. AI will be able to aid in finding solutions for so many things, which was touched on in the article.

Maybe AI is just in time to solve some serious problems that we are heading towards, including approaching a tipping point regarding climate change.

I believe a lot has to happen at once for the world to go in a positive direction regarding climate and AI. As the article says, some of this needs to be thought out ahead of time and put into place.

It could easily become a time of the haves and the have nots even more extreme than we have seen before. If we plan ahead, hopefully it would not be so extreme, but we need the will to want it to not be extreme.

Some topics to think about are: Access to shelter, technology, and food. Also, work weeks and wages. I’d add geo-political relations between countries will be critical too.

Right now, the world feels very precarious.

All we can do is keep pushing towards what seems to be correct according to the experts, and tweak as we go. Keeping that momentum includes voting for politicians with integrity and a long term mindset. That probably sounds like a joke.

AI regarding sharing knowledge among scientists and inventors is not like social media AI in my opinion. Scientists collaborating to improve the world isn’t the same as people sharing selfies and forwarding destructive memes full of lies.

NoMore's avatar

I don’t know about AI, but considering what I have seen on the news lately about all the snow in California and the East Coast I’m not very concerned about global warming. I know that climate change is real, but I think it’s more likely that the Ice Man Cometh.

Jeruba's avatar

Honestly, what I’m really wondering here is this: what if, as the article says, AI gets hold of our systems and gets the better of us? And then it discovers that we—and, by extension, it—are on a path of destruction due to the climate crisis? What will AI, turned loose, do to defend itself and its own existence against catastrophic warming? That’s the battlefield in my question.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I hope we don’t get a Terminator type situation where AI takes over and hastens destruction. I’m going to go with that won’t happen. AI will and does change the culture though. It seems to me almost every advancement in technology affects the culture from washing machines to facial scans.

I went to a presentation about the Singularity, I didn’t see that word in the article, but maybe I skimmed it too fast. Futurists use the term Singularity for when we’ll all be connected through technology and technology gains its own momentum and “control” changing society and culture. The lecture made most of us in the audience pretty nervous.

Here’s a Wikipedia on Singularity.

If you Google Singularity or use some links from the Wikipedia, you’ll find people who really think about these things in depth and really understand where the technology is going and what it can do. Maybe there is some thought from the experts about AI and climate change.

Forever_Free's avatar

It won’t matter at that point. There will be no turning back.

It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature

Kropotkin's avatar

Climate change is an empirically verified existential threat to human civilisation that could change the face of the Earth for millennia.

Concerns and fears over AI are entirely speculative, not based on any evidence, and seem to be motivated by people who don’t want to be inferior to machines, or have machines be better at their jobs than they are.

I cannot wait for AI to boom and be an accessible tool for everyone.

I can only hope that AI in the near future really will shake things up and radically change our politics and economy—because those institutions are not fit for purpose, and headed by the biggest fools imaginable.

kritiper's avatar

Nothing. Shit is shit when it hits the fan.

flutherother's avatar

The greatest threat to man is man himself. The climate crisis is due to man and the threat from AI also comes from man and how he will use this power. AI itself is only a tool.

I believe that very soon AI will become extremely adept at manipulating human beings. We will be rounded up like sheep and we will never know it.

Dig_Dug's avatar

I also think the whole AI taking over mankind thing is ridiculous! AI can not function without us. We can control it and we can shut it down if needed. AI is very limited in what it can do and when people realize that they may not be so scared of it. Oh yeah it can talk and say stuff that may sound all impressive some may even move around and look like us in many ways. So?

Can an AI go out into a jungle and find the materials to make it’s self? Build a factory to engineer the parts needed to construct another AI and make it’s own semiconductors? Forage for the copper, iron make steel, plastic, wires etc.? How about the electricity it takes to supply the factories, are the AI’s gonna build hydroelectric dams or wind turbines?

See people have to do all these things, your AI can’t do this stuff so how the hell are they gonna take over mankind?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Once I found out that burning things like coal release aerosols that cool the planet slightly less than we are heating it up with said activity I changed my positive future outlook. We are fucked. If we just stop using fossil fuels, those aerosols go away and we heat up even more… for a brief period. That’s going to be enough to wipe us out.
AI is not a huge threat yet. We probably need to accelerate it so it takes off on it’s own. We will die, but we may be the progenitors of A.I. life.

Kropotkin's avatar

@Blackwater_Park I agree we’re fucked

Though there’s basically nothing being done to reduce GHG emissions and atmospheric CO2 on any meaningful scale, I do think governments will eventually act when shit really starts hitting the fan, and that’ll be with quick and desperate geoengineering solutions—one of which will be to artificially inject and maintain aerosols in the atmosphere.

A.I. life is an interesting speculation. It’s possible it could be an entirely unconscious life that is still intelligent and progresses technologically, just because that’s the aim of its algorithms.

RocketGuy's avatar

” If the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the Earth survives.”

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