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Extraterrestrial First Contact: Perhaps We’re Smarter Than We Thought?

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I often bring up the subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on this blog. I do so primarily because it seems possible that if we meet representatives of an extraterrestrial civilization someday, in-person, those representatives could be machine based intelligence. My assumption is that any aliens with the technology to travel to our solar system would be much more advanced than humans, since we don’t have the ability to go very far, very fast, currently. Machine based intelligence would certainly have an advantage over biological beings when it comes to space travel.

But when estimating how quickly human AI is developing, the media has been sharing a new theme recently: perhaps we are not as far along in AI development as we thought. It’s come to light that it may take much longer for human AI to reach long term goals, such as driverless cars. Check out this article in the New York Times. Auto manufacturers once stated that the first commercial driverless cars could be on roads in just a few years. Now most engineers agree that it may be a decade or more for that to happen. One AI entrepreneur, Kai-Fu Lee, questions whether achieving human intelligence is even possible for a machine. Our brains are apparently more complex than we thought.

So, where does that leave us in terms of extraterrestrial First Contact? If aliens have been waiting for us to progress in areas of AI, so that we could better understand them as machine based intelligence, perhaps contact day is far-off. In the meantime, I will send an email using Siri voice control from my car and laugh at the ridiculous results. I hope we can fix that soon.

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