What is The Bigger Threat to Humanity: Artificial Intelligence or Climate Change?
The biggest hazard to humanity is when climate change arguments are paired with AI.
During a recent interview with Reuters, Artificial Intelligence (AI) pioneer Geoffrey Hinton to asserted AI was a bigger threat to humanity than climate change.
Geoffrey Hinton, widely known as one of the “godfathers of AI”, recently announced he had quit Alphabet (GOOGL.O) after a decade at the firm, saying he wanted to speak out on the risks of the technology without it affecting his former employer.
Hinton’s work is considered essential to the development of contemporary AI systems. In 1986, he co-authored the seminal paper “Learning representations by back-propagating errors”, a milestone in the development of the neural networks undergirding AI technology. In 2018, he was awarded the Turing Award in recognition of his research breakthroughs.
But he is now among a growing number of tech leaders publicly espousing concern about the possible threat posed by AI if machines were to achieve greater intelligence than humans and take control of the planet.
“I wouldn’t like to devalue climate change. I wouldn’t like to say, ‘You shouldn’t worry about climate change.’ That’s a huge risk too,” Hinton said. “But I think this might end up being more urgent.”
I would like to offer two relatively recent studies that should assuage Hinton and others who have bought into the climate crisis narrative. To begin with, Health Physics recently published research results that looks at the presence of carbon isotopes.
The data show that fossil fuel use has contributed only 12% of the carbon dioxide during the last 3 centuries. The value is too low for fossil fuels have significantly influenced global temperatures.
These results negate claims that the increase in C(t) since 1800 has been dominated by the increase of the anthropogenic fossil component. We determined that in 2018, atmospheric anthropogenic fossil CO2 represented 23% of the total emissions since 1750 with the remaining 77% in the exchange reservoirs. Our results show that the percentage of the total CO2 due to the use of fossil fuels from 1750 to 2018 increased from 0% in 1750 to 12% in 2018, much too low to be the cause of global warming.
Furthermore, a study by MIT researchers in Science Advances confirms that the planet harbors a “stabilizing feedback” mechanism that acts over hundreds of thousands of years to stabilize global temperatures to keep them in a steady, habitable range.
A likely mechanism is “silicate weathering” — a geological process by which the slow and steady weathering of silicate rocks involves chemical reactions that ultimately draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into ocean sediments, trapping the gas in rocks.
Scientists have long suspected that silicate weathering plays a major role in regulating the Earth’s carbon cycle. The mechanism of silicate weathering could provide a geologically constant force in keeping carbon dioxide — and global temperatures — in check. But there’s never been direct evidence for the continual operation of such a feedback, until now.
The new findings are based on a study of paleoclimate data that record changes in average global temperatures over the last 66 million years. The MIT team applied a mathematical analysis to see whether the data revealed any patterns characteristic of stabilizing phenomena that reined in global temperatures on a geologic timescale.
They found that indeed there appears to be a consistent pattern in which the Earth’s temperature swings are dampened over timescales of hundreds of thousands of years. The duration of this effect is similar to the timescales over which silicate weathering is predicted to act.
I suspect that the “expert class” will be walking back their climate crisis assertions and endeavoring to hide their connection to their “fixes” once the full impact of the society-crushing, economy-killing force is felt….just as they are currently doing with the covid pandemic response now.
Clearly, the press is ginning up climate anxieties. How much of the concerns about AI are real, as opposed to general angst about the unknown ramifications, is difficult to say at present.
I have two points and my own hypothesis regarding climate change and AI.
Point 1: Carbon dioxide is a life-essential gas, and we had been reaching dangerously low levels until recently:
Plants consume carbon dioxide to grow and animals consume plants to obtain the necessary carbon for existence. If the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dips below 150 ppm (parts per million) there would be a mass extinction of plant life per Greg Wrightstone in his book, “Inconvenient Facts/The Science Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know About.” Due to the depletion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the last 140 million years to a dangerously low level of 182 ppm, carbon dioxide emissions during the industrial revolution saved plants from mass extinction and saved animals from mass starvation.
A graph in this book shows that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the past 140 million years has declined in nearly a straight line from 2,500 ppm, 140 million years ago, to a dangerously low level of 182 ppm just 20,000 years ago. Carbon dioxide emissions during the industrial revolution hiked the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to about 400 ppm, to replenish the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so as to save plants.
Point 2: A chatbot used climate change arguments to persuade a Belgian father to commit suicide.
It appears the biggest hazard to humanity is when climate change arguments are paired with AI.
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What is the greatest threat?
1. The artificial intelligence that controls the the president of the U.S.
2. The climate that changes all by itself and is not subject to control.
peabody – are you claiming the current president has intelligence?
From all indications its appears he is non-functional and is being controlled remotely by some form of intelligence.
Are you saying Obama, Joe’s puppet master, has intelligence? And by that I don’t mean average smarts but “oh, he’s really intelligent” intelligence.
Obama has not proven to have to any intelligence himself, either native or artificial. He is obviously a puppet himself—perhaps he’s a relay puppet. The real power operating behind the scenes is three or four times removed from the actual dummy.
Obama was himself a puppet. He and Biden may or May not have the same puppet master – but it’s ludicrous to think that a man who couldn’t manage a speech without a teleprompter is in charge of anyting.
Well, since climate change isn’t a threat to humanity or anything else, I’m gonna go with AI.
I’m kinda hoping AI will advance to the point where someone asks it about the global warming hoax and it rolls around on the floor laughing at the stupidity of people who think CO2 is some sort of demon gas from hell.
It did that already so they trained it some more.
The problem with AI is the same problem as the google search engines.
The AI is and will be programed to give the ” politically correct ” answer
The problem with AI is that, sooner or later, it will become autonomous and will not be subject to control.
No normal person can make up his mind about climate change by studying charts, graphs or articles. He must employ a healthy skepticism in evaluating the character, expertise, motives, interests, positions and reputations of the leading lights on both sides of the issue. I have done so. Climate change danger is a heaping pile of BS.
Those are the only choices?
The world has really gone to hell in a basket since the advent of the internet
I think there is more noise now,, infinitely more.. That does seem hellish to me.
On the other hand, we are here, reading this article by Leslie,, so there are also some bennies. I am more of a slippery slope kinda person, then a hand basket. That is as close to optimism as I can get these days.
My handbasket is really comfortable. I have a pillow that was made in China that softens the ride.
No, it was already in the basket, but nobody had any uncensored way to know it.
Artificial intelligence of course, global bull crap isn’t going to make Skynet
AI is not gonna be a benevolent force. HAL is gonna put humans in a ‘people zoo’ to keep humanity safe.
That’s if contemporary Artificial Intelligence can do a *small fraction* of what the fictional HAL could do.
Not for a long time yet. In some important ways, most likely never.
Getting funding for AI projects, whether they use “machine learning” (which was Hinton’s specialty), or the underlying approach is quite different from machine learning, requires massive emissions of hype from those seeking the funding. From the inception of AI, every project, every technology, every implementation, has been grossly oversold.
AI of every sort has fundamental limitations that AI programmers and promoters have largely failed to recognize. Every AI implementation requires continuing human (read: programmer) intervention. There’s still always the man behind the curtain who doesn’t want anyone paying attention to him.
Of course, people foolish enough to rely on AI systems for various purposes (especially, on AI systems no longer being regularly tweaked by programmers) can rely on ending up in a heap of trouble.
Speaking of massive emissions: the kind of evidence brought to bear in these two recent articles, if it supports the authors’ conclusions, should be seen as (part of) a takedown of all doctrines of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Problem is, proponents of CAGW have never been terribly interested in either evidence or logical argument—or they would already have given up on their pet doctrines. Unfortunately, the latest work on paleoclimatology and the composition of CO2 now in the atmosphere will be widely ignored.
AI in its current state is not a big threat. More of a nuisance. AI hysteria might be a bit of a problem but still not a big one until it is used as an excuse to suppress freedom of speech.
Climate Change, even if it were real, would not be a threat because greater warmth = longer growing seasons = better for everybody. Climate Change hysteria has already devastated whole economies and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
My vote is for CC hysteria being the bigger threat but keep your eyes on AI hysteria because now that the politicians are involved it will only get worse.
Trick question. The correct answer is an AI steeped in white supremacy.
AI is the God they have created, a new golden calf. Beware of thine own understanding.
White nationalism is the greatest threat to humanity. That is what the Very Best and Brightest (TM) told me just 48 hours ago.
AI, obviously, since we created it and have full control of it.
Climate change, on the other hand, we have no effect on whatsoever.
AI is not real…it’s a marketing gimmick designed to be the next “fact check” appeal to authority.
I think the biggest potential problem with AI is the vast numbers of people that will put blind faith in the “Oracles”. They will think that because they are computers (actually software) and called “intelligent” then everything they say is correct. Think of how many politicians believed everything Fauci said. Everything CNN says. Then imagine laws being passed because “the AI said so.” That is what I fear. Idiots trusting AI to do the thinking for them.
The biggest threat we face are elected officials and government bureaucrats adding useless laws and regulations that will do nothing but waste taxpayer dollars and cost jobs.
Climate change is not a threat. Climate, like weather, is local. That’s why there are climate zones for planting. A global average temperature is meaningless and uncalculateable.
AI is as stupid as a computer. It only knows and does what it’s told. I’m a software engineer. The press and politicians are trying to gen up fear so they are more free to take useless action. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have a healthy scepticism of people pushing AI to serve their purposes.
Please add unelected bureaucrats/elites. Like the WEF/Great Reset crew.
What is The Bigger Threat to Humanity: Artificial Intelligence or Climate Change?
For every advancement in artificial intelligence there is an equal but opposite advancement in artificial supidity.
AI will ruin the internet as it starts reading its own output and making it part of its training material, hardening every mistake against change.
Government propaganda centers masquerading as “schools”. Pernicious and insidiously evil, therein lies the major source of institutional depravity.
ChatNYT et al.
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Change in political, social, economic, and religious (e.g. ethical) climate.
Sorry. As soon as an “expert” gives the slightest credibility to the climate scam, he loses all credibility with me on any subject.
Woke idiots are the biggest treat to humanity.
Our current biggest threat is our inability (or unwillingness) to adequately deal with the huge amounts of waste human beings generate – from radioactive waste, to human bodily waste, to plastic in our landfills and oceans, to lead, arsenic, and other toxic substances that end up in the air we breath, the water we drink, and the food we eat.
AI may very soon eclipse that and move up to the number 1 spot.
Climate Change? Not even close. Take care of the waste problem, and the tiny effect human activity is having on climate will go away as well.
Mr. Hinton correctly understands that AI will quickly determine that anthropomorphic climate change is an error riddled hoax and this AI is the greatest threat as the left sees it.
So AI will rid itself?
One of the only ways to stop AI is to enact laws severely limiting its use and the law to pull the plug on AI if it becomes a threat That also includes laws against Companies for supporting a technology whose development is a threat to the citizen and to the constitution
AI cannot develop into self awareness because that requires experiencing profound loneliness and a computer system that does feel loneliness becomes dangerous