OUT THERE, in a not so distant future lays a hypothetical point in time, when machines will have reached a status of intelligence and versatility so that they can improve themselves better and faster than humans can do. This point is frequently called singularity.
What comes after singularity?
After singularity, machines will very likely also own a form of consciousness and many other “human” characteristics e.g. the tendency to build societies. Hence, the question arises which kind of societies machines would create.
There is a very good TEDxTallinn Talk from Robin Hanson about machine societies. Robin Hanson is a Professor of Economics at the George Mason University and a researcher of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. During the talk we learn some of the key features of intelligent machines in the near future, including no loss of memory due to death, sharing of impressions, learned rules, memory and thoughts, and most interestingly, the ability to transport consciousness from one machine (body) to another one, even on distant planets (Scotty, beam me up…)
Hanson’s focus lies on the categories of information processing machines related to their processing speed. But what happens if those machines start structuring a society?
Which societies would machines form?
Intelligent machines would very likely start to form some type of societies for collaboration. How would such structures look like? Would machines keep the current human model of one-body-one-mind, or would machines break the body barrier and build structures with single minds and many bodies?
A look into our recent history of human societies gives us interesting clues on the matter. The first clue can be taken from the historical development of communist societies, its typical signature being the removal of individuality. Members of such societies claim to have suffered from the loss of perspective for personal development. The second hint comes from egoistic societies which suffer from the loss of motivation in those segments of the society that have no perspective to succeed. And a final clue is taken from monocratic societies which suffer severely, when the leading mind is unhealthy.
What does it tell us?
Considering those clues and assuming that intelligent machines would try to avoid those human errors, it can be speculated that machines would form an alternative structure. A decentralized and highly networked structure with no single points of failure with enough space and perspective for individual development could be one bet in the question for a future structure of machine societies. And funnily enough, such a structure would fit us humans too.
Humanity with almost 7.5 billion individuals has the urgent need to find new and more suitable structures for societies. We are still sitting in nations instead of decentralized highly networked structures and many of us have no perspective for individual development. This has to change. Otherwise machines will find nothing to learn from us. And that could have severe consequences in the not so distant future.