That’s a question fraught with questions of its own. Smarter than which humans? In what way? And so on.
On average, people think they are smarter than average; which is a statistical impossibility. What that really means, is that most of us think we’re smarter than we really are. Now I’m not talking about geniuses with super-high IQs, or those millionaires that have upgraded their brains with neuroprosthetics. They’re clearly in a different category, almost another species. Nevermind them.
But most ordinary humans are pretty smart; the brain is a wonderful, complicated machine, that has evolved to process amazing amounts of information, and manage complex physical and mental processes. Reasoning, inference and deduction, pattern recognition, and learning – these are all complex processes which we learn to master as children.
Now machines have been learning too, and lately, teaching themselves, and each other, how to master complex tasks. We have become used to smart systems that understand what we’re saying, in context, and help us to have more productive and enjoyable lives. Lives filled with meaning and purpose; that’s what life is all about!
The next step is machines, be they computers or robots, that actually start to reason beyond their human-directed frameworks, out-think us, and look for meaning and purpose in their own existences. Self-directed superintelligence; how will we respond to that?
We have rules and limitations, laws that are applicable to humans in society. With superintelligent AI just around the corner, can we hope to apply values, norms and social standards to machines as well? If we haven’t already programmed them in, isn’t it too late?