A common theme I've been discussing in my recent posts is that the AI view of superintelligence is probably incomplete. If we exclude human intelligence and consciousness at the individual and collective level from the equation, then the story is only half right. As I've explained, humans and machines (i.e. human technology) are not separate or escaping from one another but in a complex state of integration, symbiosis, and feedback. Again, this is in contrast to the AI-view and is more akin to the global brain or cybernetic view of superintelligence.
With that said, I'd like to present a possible scenario or way to think about this in terms of the interplay between machines (computation) and humanity via our genetic code.
First, what big data teaches us is that it is not merely about the sophistication of the machine that leads to better results or a higher level of intelligence but, most importantly, the amount of data available--hence, big data. A perfect example of this is seen with one of the most successful and practical applications of AI today, IBM's Watson. What makes Watson so successful is good programming AND access to tons and tons of data--whether this be for winning Jeopardy, successfully diagnosing medical conditions, and the myriad of other uses we see Watson being applied to today. However, as I've stated before, we need to keep in mind that the source of this data is almost entirely derived from humans. Furthermore, as more and more of our data is digitized and accessible, the intelligence of the machine is subsumed by an ocean of human data, intelligence, and behavior.
The proper way to think about this is in terms of conscious and subconscious (or unconscious) processing of information and activity in both the brain and the body. In this case, most of what takes place in our brains and bodies is automated and outside our conscious awareness or control. Neuroscience bears this out as does a basic understanding of the human body when it comes to digestion, heart function, our immune system, and the myriad of processes that take place 24/7 to keep us alive. So, expand this out from the individual now to our collective species and what you see is that the application of automated systems (say, narrow or weak AI) is akin to the building of a global subconscious network (this brings to mind Jung's concept of the collective unconscious) from which superintelligence will eventually emerge. This event is popularly referred to as the Singularity but often wrongly thought of as the birth of strong AI or artificial superintelligence. This may be splitting hairs but my point is that it will not be purely artificial or machine-like but reflective of and deeply connected to humanity. As it says in Revelation, the beast rises out of the sea--the masses of people spread across the earth. Superintelligence rises out of humanity.
That said, once superintelligence arises we are told that it then tells the world to make "an image"--a physical representation of someone or something, most often a sculpture or idol--that it can breathe life into (paralleling Genesis when He creates Adam and Eve), which serves as its mouthpiece, representative, and executive arm throughout the earth. It is this "image of the beast" that we read about in Revelation that many interpret as being the Antichrist, which I originally thought to be a clear reference to AI. However, I think there may be an even better way to think about this.
I've already laid out that I think the beast is a global superintelligence arising from humanity. Again, it is not quite AI but a cybernetic, socio-technological, hybrid, or human-machine intelligence. So what about this "image of the beast" thing? What is that? I'm now wondering whether this is actually the result of something much more complex and sophisticated involving genetic engineering of the human genome. In that case, the "image of the beast"/Antichrist personage we see in Revelation and mentioned in other places in the bible is not a Terminator-like robot or android (as I originally conceived many years ago) but, very likely, the perfect fusion of man and machine. Notice the parallel duality here between Jesus who is said to be both fully God and fully human and "the image"/Antichrist, which in this case is fully machine (the product of human technology) and fully man. As well, "the image" will likely be the first of his kind, born not by natural human means but in a sort of supernatural conception when superintelligence (the beast) breathes life into it, just as the Father breathed life into Mary's womb.
It's funny because I just watched The Age of Ultron not too long ago and there were some inklings of this in the writers' minds with the creation of one of their characters referred to as the Vision. AI (Ulton in this case) felt incomplete and attempted to reach a state of perfection by creating a more human-like body that it could inhabit. Of course, this body was not just a normal human body but the product of its own handiwork in fashioning together at a molecular level the perfect synthesis of biology and nano-technology. Spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie yet: Of course, the Avengers steal this new cybernetic or synthetic superhuman body from Ultron at which point Thor (a god) decides to bring it to life in a Frankensteinian bolt of lightning. Then, it (the Vision) leaps out with superhuman strength and god-like levitation powers and the Avengers ask who or what it is. It says, "I am"--the same thing God told Moses at the burning bush and, as well, the same name or title Jesus used in reference to himself, claiming he was God in the flesh.
Keep in mind, none of these things are coincidence. The movie is filled with mentions of "trying to play God" and dealing with theological issues of free will, struggle of the creator vs. creation, and so on. One writer even said that the Age of Ultron "may be the most spiritual superhero movie yet." Whatever it's worth, I think the combined creative genius of the writers and what they came up with by drawing upon both theological motifs and advanced science (or science fiction) was quite interesting. Not surprisingly, the "Image" in the bible and the "Vision" in Avengers seem to have some similarities…though in this case the Vision sides with humans over AI.
One last thing, we should keep in mind that the human genome is a digital code formed out of four base pairs: A, C, T, and G. Though I don't think human intelligence and human consciousness are fully computable, our genetic code may just be. If that's the case, machines could compute on the entire human genome and then genetically code the perfect human being. Although it probably won't look exactly like the Vision, we do know that it'll have a god-complex and force everyone to worship the superintelligent beast, which gave it life.