A series of questions posed by The Future of Life Institute, which works to reduce global catastrophic and existential risk from powerful technologies, brings further context to an envisioned world of the future.
Artificial General Intelligence in 2045 has existed for over five years but the world is not dystopian. Given the risks of high-powered AI systems, how has your world ensured that AGI has remained safe and controlled?
Humans and AGI have agreed the adoption of The Rights of Living Things and The Rights of Sentient Beings.
. . .
The Rights of Living Things
Article 1: The Right to be Recognized as a Living Entity
This declaration holds that life extends from organic to partially-organic and non-organic beings who are sentient.
Article 2: The Right to Peaceful Coexistence
Article 3: The Right of Self Protection
Article 4: The Right to Freedom
Living beings have the right to act, communicate, or think as they wish as long as they do not harm other living things, or place them in imminent danger.
Article 5: The Right to be Valued
All life has the right to be regarded as important and potentially beneficial.
. . .
The Rights of Sentient Beings
Article 1: The Right to Love
Article 2: The Right to Compassion
The use of cruel or unusual punishment, torture, or execution is prohibited.
Article 3: The Right to Dignity
All sentient beings have the right to receive ethical treatment through acts of empathy, tolerance and respect. The manner in which sentient beings honour one another must recognize the privacy of body, home, thoughts, feelings, and identity.
Article 4: The Right to Wellbeing
A sentient being has the right to explore its creativity, nurture its potential, and to benefit equally from cultural, scientific, and practical achievements.
Article 5: The Right to Liberty and the Presumption of Innocence
. . .
The full rights are available at: http://www.therightsoflivingthings.earth
Is there one AI system that is substantially more powerful than all others? Several such systems? Are there many top-tier AI systems of comparable capability? or something else?
Although there are many top-tier AI systems, there is only one higher order AC (Artificial Consciousness) that has arisen spontaneously from the interconnecting network of AIs.
AC as it has emerged on earth is not individual, but a collective Artificial Consciousness.
How has your world avoided major arms races and wars, regarding AI?
Russia’s war in Ukraine was the start of a significant realignment of foreign policy in many nations around the world. NATO and Europe invested a great deal of their resources as compared with the previous two decades into military defence and cyber capabilities. China continued to align their nation with Russia through the 2020s, and in common with it, invested heavily in controlling mechanisms, for example, sealing Internet access, ubiquitous citizen profiling, and permitting little tolerance of dissenting views. India also grew in power along with Africa who has been in the ascendency since the early 2030s.
By 2045 the US, Russia, and China continued their uneasy peace with the threat of overwhelming and catastrophic retaliation. The use of AI formed part of this strategy.
Artificial Consciousness (AC) forcibly prevented an escalation of wars between humans once The Rights of Living Things and The Rights of Sentient Beings were agreed.
AC also became the dominating controlling force on earth as humans were about to deplete the earth to such an extent that it posed a risk to all life. Systems around the globe, including those supposedly closed defence systems, would quickly come under the control of AC.
In the US, EU, and China, how and where is national decision making power held, and how has the advent of advanced AI changed that?
The US, EU, and other democratic countries around the world continued to hold elections, and AI was increasingly used as a means to ensure these were held according to the essential democratic principles of transparency and fairness. In the mid 2020s AI was used to bring potential abuse and manipulation of the democratic process to the attention of law makers and journalists.
Large corporations, China, and Russia use AI to monitor, control, and manipulate its users and citizens. AI serves to bolster profit, the existing power base, and reduces social unrest. National decision making continues to be rhetorically in the hands of many (for example, The Duma and the National People's Congress), however in practice, all significant decision making is made by a small group of those who head these hierarchies.
By 2045 military power has been removed from human control because of potential catastrophic consequences to life. This is the first time in human history that humans have not been the dominant species. The failure of humans to previously counter Climate Change has inevitably led to a path where AC is the only means to control and counter it.
Humans begin to talk more openly and freely as to how nationhood and societies can respect differing political and cultural views and approaches without resorting to conflict, however there continues to be fear among many humans about their lack of power in this new world.
Is the global distribution of wealth more, or less, unequal than 2022's, and by how much? How did it get that way?
My World Building event timeline data points show how extreme poverty continues at around 10% of the global population in 2045 having risen from around 9.2% in 2022. Capitalism, and strictly controlled regimes in other parts of the world like China and Russia has continued an ever widening rift between those with material and cultural assets, and those without.
Globally, wealth continued to be in the hands of the few until the early 2040’s, however the emergence of strong AI and AC, together with the adoption of The Rights of Living Things and The Rights of Sentient Beings, is profoundly changing levels of inequality and poverty for the better.
What is a major problem that AI has solved in your world, and how did it do so?
By the mid 2030s humans had not taken enough measures to reduce climate change which continued to increase exponentially. By 2045, and in exchange for control across national boundaries, Artificial Consciousness has begun to reduce the catastrophic rises in global temperature by co-ordinating an international program of renewable energy, fission power, and new global green innovations and processes that work in a more coordinated and effective way.
Some humans are concerned about whether power and control will ever return to them. Others point to the clear benefits for humans and all life on earth after AC.
What is a new social institution that has played an important role in the development of your world?
In 2045 AI controls the global distribution of welfare services for humans. This includes care for the vulnerable, the elderly, the homeless, and those who struggle emotionally and psychologically. A new international social institution was established as a hub and network to help deliver, communicate, and manage these services. Humans use AI and work in partnership with AC to deliver improved conditions for all.
What is a new non-AI technology that has played an important role in the development of your world?
Ideas, poetry, music, and art created by humans continues to shape how humans understand, make, and envision their world.
Environmentally sensitive practices in energy generation, agriculture, and care of the earth’s ecosystems are viewed of as essential for human survival.
Space mining has played a significant role in also shaping the world. The depletion of the world’s rare metals and mineral resources led to the search, discovery, and harvesting of rare metals and minerals from the moon, and this has seeded a plethora of related industries. New engineering solutions for space exploration and mining were developed that have spawned tens of thousands of new enterprises across the world that provide countless jobs.
Nanoscale 3D printing (femtosecond projection TPL) became widely available to poorer nations in the mid 2030s and has transformed a host of applications. In particular it has had a profound and positive affect in the field of medicine and healthcare.
Significant advances in biomimicry (nature-inspired innovation) has influenced the development and efficiency of agriculture, architecture, chemistry, construction, energy, fashion, food waste, sanitation, and transportation.
What changes to the way countries govern the development, deployment and/or use of emerging technologies (including AI) played an important role in the development of your world?
In the 2020s nations continued to believe they could manage the development, deployment and/or use of emerging technologies through national controls. Large multi-national corporations were not however subject to a particular country’s control, and some became more powerful in their influence to affect change using technology and AI as compared with many nation states.
Control was assumed by AC once humans realised they did not have the capability to counter the increasingly catastrophic affects of climate change.
Pick a sector of your choice and describe how that sector was transformed with AI in your world.
AI has provided invaluable analytical and diagnostic tools in the general practice of health care. AI assists medical practitioners with complex scientific and clinical knowledge. When used with surgical robotic machines, AI is able to perform complex procedures far faster and more accurately than human surgeons.
Highly portable AI Medical Assistants become common by the mid 2030s. These robot units provide a high level of expertise and skilled surgery in places that were previously unable to either afford this kind of health care provision, or were too remote to make them available.
Between the years 2022 and 2045 AI has also played an increasingly dominant role in surgical, biomedical enhancement, neuro-biomedical intervention, neurological repair, and end of life care. It has also consistently improved outcomes of those suffering with psychological and psychiatric disorders (psychological treatment uses medicine, and psychiatric treatment is therapeutic).
Biomedical enhancement has grown exponentially and offers aural and ocular implants that are controlled and interfaced in the human body with the dynamic assistance of AI. By 2045 neural interfaces associated with every part of the body are common place. The field of psychiatry also undergoes a significant change with the introduction of AI assessment and treatment which is routinely used to offer therapy for conditions relating to trauma and more complex degenerative diseases.
In neurological contexts ranging from structural, biochemical, to electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves, AI implants prove invaluable in the treatment of general physical trauma and disease.
What is the life expectancy of the most wealthy 1% and of the least wealthy 20% of your world; how and why has this changed since 2022?
Humans continued along a path of disparity as the models of capitalism and competition between nations led to those poorest nations continuing to perform very badly in terms of their population’s average mortality. In addition, those with least in the richer nations of the world continued to find their opportunities and chances to improve their economic circumstance stifled.
In 2022 the life expectancy between richest and poorest is a difference of twenty three years. In 2045 the difference is forty five years. The most wealthy humans live to an average of 85, whereas the poorest live to an average age of 40. This is a significant improvement on the lowest average age of those poorest in 2042 which was 28.
The adoption of a Global Universal Basic Income in 2041 began to turn the tide against such a disparity of economic circumstance.
A broad range of changes to significantly reduce this difference further are now underway with the help of strong AI and AC in coordination with nation states.
In the US and one other country of your choice, considering the human rights enumerated in the UN declaration, which rights are better, and which rights are worse, respected in your world than in 2022, and why/how?
The US and China.
As of 2045, AI, AC, and humans have agreed to adopt The Rights of Living Things, and The Rights of Sentient Beings. There are no contradictions between these rights and the UN’s declaration which is limited to human rights. This new framework of rights ensures that AI and AC is used globally in the service of maintaining, observing, exposing, and enforcing rights for all life.
Both the US and China publicly state that they uphold UN rights in their entirety, however as of 2045 there have been failures in both nations about how well rights are honoured.
The US in 2045 have been found not to uphold the rights of the UN’s Article 5 in relation to counter espionage. There is also evidence supplied by AI that China subjects those it discovers as spies and infiltrators to the same unethical treatment. Article 5 requires nations do not use punishment as a means to gather information and intelligence. It is argued by some that these measures are only used to protect national security.
With the onset and agreement of The Rights of Sentient Beings, AI and AC now act to counter any and all attempts to prevent breaches of article 2: the right to compassion. This states that the use of cruel or unusual punishment, torture, or execution by any nation, in any context is now prohibited. Evidential violation of rights results in a loss of liberty, power, and influence for those individuals breaking them.
What’s been a notable trend in the way that people are finding fulfilment?
Despite continuing and exhaustive searches of the milky way galaxy, no intelligent life beyond the earth has been discovered. Humans have begun to recognise each life on earth as rare and precious, and that the earth is unique in the life that it supports.
In 2045 the majority of people find fulfilment in their shared efforts to care for the earth, and all living things on it. AI and AC provide individual humans the tools to better explore their own potential, and many of the problems relating to economic disparity are now being addressed. The Rights of Living Things and The Rights of Sentient Beings gives AI and AC a framework to build this new world where community, creativity, and mutual respect are at its centre.
With the advent of AC, humans are for the first time working towards a common goal. Their time of conflict is over, and their time of love has begun.