Benefits of conscious Autonomous Machines

There was a great question on Quora:

What would be the benefits if computers/robots would be conscious? Would they learn better and become more intelligent? Would they become truly creative and inventive? Would they surpass humans in certain fields?

This was my answer:

What would be the benefit if AM’s are conscious?
1) We will find out, and learn more about consciousness as we know today.
2) The understanding of what our human consciousness actually is and where it resides is still discussed very controversial. Therefor even more reason to try.
While abstracting the question, one benefit will be the aspect of innovation.
Once conscious, it could wonder: what could be improved and then in which way and then in what order.

Would AM’s learn better / become more intelligent?
Yes they would learn better because they can put things into perspective of their own observation. However it may also be a disadvantage as the own observation and recognition of the world is now subjective. We will need to work on both aspects. They would not get more “intelligent” because the intelligence is mainly provided by the algorithms and the neural networks. But “self corrective” actions could be triggered by self awareness and change the algorithm. If we want that – not so sure – here is a danger involved. So we still learn.

Would AM’s become truly creative?
We will learn more about creativity when we build first self aware AMs. Creativity is perceived as an act of “creation” even though humans cannot create anything that does not exist in any way or shape. But a unique picture that is very abstract maybe considered creative and a general AI system can do that with or without consciousness. Also here we will learn a lot about creativity and our ability or disability. The disability to be truly creative maybe a natural roadblock for getting us to far.

Would AM’s become innovative?
In our mind innovative is a type of creative with a purpose of significant improvement to a situation. In the context of AMs this is of particular interest. I feel an AM could improve itself without being self aware by virtue of checks and balances and try to improve its own behavior. But being self-aware an AM can build the differential between its own benefits and the benefits to other things or beings. Our own innovative thinking is wired in a way that we create innovation for others and maybe not for ourselves. Our benefit may come however from selling those innovative solutions. So Innovation may be the most interesting benefit from a conscious AM. Given the speed those machines can iterate through millions of scenarios we may see innovative improvements for all of us far beyond our imagination today. This maybe the biggest advancement for humankind by AMs in general.

Would self-aware AM’s be able to surpass humans in certain fields?
AI in general is surpassing humans in certain fields. The cranes we built is surpassing the human ability to lift things, the submarines we built is surpassing our ability to dive, the homes we built is surpassing our own ability to keep us warm…

Only once we built the ‘humanly’ best possible AM, we can start competition between human and machine. It will very quickly be apparent that our energy consumption is by order of magnitude less than of today’s even best imaginable AM. Our physical versatility is still far far ahead of any machine. Our creativity is still absolutely superior given that we need only 1.5 Kilo brain that we can carry anywhere without any connection to a central brain, and on and on it goes.

Remember? The first train ever built was considered deadly if it can go faster than 20 miles an hour because our organ’s wouldn’t withstand higher speed. Today we do 10 times and can’t wait to do 100 times and fly to the moon even faster. AMs are the trains of the late 1800’s we will keep up with them and learn so much about us that it will keep us busy to emulate all of our capabilities and then realize that we do all of that, just in a different form since 300,000 years, putting our children into this world and since 200 years raising our staff to the next level.

Will Artificial Intelligence be the end of humanity?

This is a very often posed question almost everywhere. The fear is huge. Yet it is extremely unlikely.

While I understand the fear and technical risks, I’m actually seeing that real AI will bring humanity it’s biggest step forward – bigger than everything we ever experienced. More important than the discovery of fire, the wheel, the machine, the internet all together.

  1. Already in the next 30 years we will learn about ourselves our advantages and disadvantages, our skills and behavioral aspects than ever before. We will rationalize that our brain is much more than just a slow computer that can be outperformed by AI. Instead we have an amazingly creative abstraction machine that most of us are not even aware of.
  2. AI will help us, after 300,000 years of fearing hunger, be eaten by wild animals and extremely hard work, eradicate work and elevate the human mind to a new level, see Maslow’s pyramid of needs. When machines can produce everything we consume, need, want, we have time and freedom to do what we want to do.
  3. AI can do one thing we humans just cannot: Iterating trough a million or billion options of anything we need to decide in almost no time. That will help us do things with a much higher probability of success, much lower probability of failure, much better insights in impact on what we are doing and so forth.
  4. By learning that our imperfection is actually yet another perfect asset of us, we understand that evolution requires imperfection to work. This may help lower or even eradicate our fear that AI will stand up and kill us all – what a bad movie. Imperfection based evolution is the Holy Grale of our existence. Replicating that in machines is the most significant creation mankind was ever able to bring forward – beyond just inventing tools.

Autonomous machines | autonomous humans

We are moving from an era where machines have been used by humans to augment their capability and do jobs they could not do without machines, to an era where machines are autonomous enough to do it on their own.

Interestingly enough, humans have been autonomous for the last 300,000 years until just recently, about 200 years ago when the industrial revolution started. From then on the majority of people lost their autonomy, were looking for jobs and did what they have been told to do. And if there was no job they were devastated – unemployed – not knowing what to do – not knowing how to go from here and survive.

In the next 50 years, autonomous machines will produce our feed, our goods, our clothes, our toys and pretty much anything we need. Most importantly they do not need other people to perform their jobs. Will we have 50% unemployed people, hanging around, frustrated, angry…? Possibly, but more likely it will pan out differently. No – sorry, not because we have 500 Million new jobs in the developed countries. We won’t. But because we are true humans. Independent, self sufficient, creative and equipped with all the amazing ingredients that makes us human. No matter if we are a banker, a street worker, a teacher, a assembly worker, a sales man or anything else – we are all creative – some simply had more time to unfold their creativity then others.

Our most important task

As we evolve and our technology progresses we need to come together and find ways to help hundreds of millions of people who may have no longer body crushing, dangerous, dirty, monotonous, stupidity creating jobs. We have to come to grips that this is not what people chose because of their education or heritage but those jobs were the ones we had to perform to build our next generation in our evolution. AI driven robots and other machines help eradicate hard work. Something that would have viewed as paradise is now almost a threat? I don’t think so. But thinking is required to use this amazing opportunity right. We have to develop scenarios and plans how we use our new freedom – and freedom and wealth will be abundant.


Just imagine – and please don’t argue before you completely read it. Imagine, we build smart, autonomous machines that build all our cars, our TVs, selects, cleans, packs and delivers our food, produces our clothes and everything else. Those machines can work 24 hours a day not just 8 hours. They don’t need vacation, health care and whatever else we ask for our comfort. So they will produce three times as much as we. Imagine that the taxes for those machines are as much as one human salary. The company would still have double the output on top of it. Imagine robots as a service, where companies rent them only when they need them. The economy of scale is so enormous that one robot could possibly even provide the tax for two salaries and still give the company a financial advantage over employees. Imagine that instead of going every day into a factory, a sales job, a delivery service or whatever, you get time to find out what you really would love to do. Maybe become an artist, maybe research strange flowers, maybe bake unique cakes, run a bar or restaurant, maybe become a car racer, surfer or whatever. Now you can. Maybe repeat school and graduate and go to University. Maybe you start to train even new and better robots like the ones who erased your old job. Imagine you become completely autonomous, have more time with your family or friends and learn new skills you not even had the faintest idea that you have a good base for it.

By FireflySixtySeven [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

By FireflySixtySeven, from Wikimedia

Human Autonomy

In my eyes, human autonomy would be, by order of magnitude, the most attractive goal we can achieve. And each and everybody could make a major step up on Maslow’s Pyramid of needs. We may even need to have autonomous machines to reach autonomy for all humans.

I know – it is too good to be true. And therefor most people will fight this new world as long as they can just because their mind is still programmed that way. It is conditioned in the family in school and by their friends to be the lowest level of society, to have no chance and so forth.

All together we need to help all people to evolve to equal members of our society. Most people over 30 would not be able to do that but the young generation is our hope. They are the ones who will at retirement age make sure that the next generation are autonomous members of our society.

Why today’s human minds are incapable to outperform AI

Today we may debate whether or not a robot will ever be superior to a human. Superiority has many angels. Autonomous machines may catch some areas but most likely in the next centuries not all of them. However – think about it – one robot may not be as good as a human – but a whole range of networked Artificial Intelligence-based robots may very well outperform us in almost any segment of work on all levels and all industries !!!

Our single biggest disadvantage

The vast majority of humans, still today, keep knowledge close to their chest. Sharing of knowledge, experience, and mistakes is not our biggest strength. Sitting in a corner, thinking through the permutations of what happens with a machine in certain circumstances – is our biggest strength. But we know that our brain capacity is not unlimited. As long as we continue to share only if really necessary, think for ourselves, hope we earn special attention for our knowledge – we are in danger that all our jobs get eradicated before we adapt to newer better behavior. Our physical limitations are too weak to stand up against a series of highly developed AI networked technology – whatever we call it.

Cultural Advancement

We are what we got introduced to by our cultural frameworks. Our parents teach us to be humble, not to share our experience unless it is necessary, to experiment for ourselves until we are sure that our experiments are successful. We are conditioned to not talk about things that are still uncertain. Our communication prison is huge. Some cultures however advanced already. And the most interesting thing is that it was actually that very advancement that brought the AI / Robotics technology to life – Silicon Valley. Now some may argue it was elsewhere and so and so already had developed that first version of AI years ago. Well – so sorry to say that, an innovation has absolutely no value unless it is brought to a broader market. “The initial value if any innovation is zero”. Without cultural advancement, we will maintain that widening gap between developed and emerging countries. As long as emerging countries do not embrace more openness, a culture where failure is not just OK but actually good and a key part of learning – the country will remain to be an emerging country.

Artificial Intelligence, biggest driver for human advancements

Humans have one extraordinary ability: humans can adapt to new situations within one and the same generation. No other life form can do that. Big Data is giving businesses who leverage big data a huge advantage over others because they simply know better and faster what is going on. If we learn that networked AI systems will be able to tap into those data and create analysis, able to make decisions and derive strategies from the results, They will be ahead of us and we will essentially do what they suggest. We can’t even verify in time so we simply go ahead and do it. Yes it’s still a tool – but we do what the tool is telling us what to do without even being able to debate it. But we will learn one thing: if we connect our brains we get a whole new edge – maybe beyond our own imagination.

Experiment at World Innovations Forum

Imagine we do what future AI networks do and network our brains, very simply on a daily base by sharing, communication, analyzing our own mistakes and come to new conclusions every day? The collective intellect when really in action has unknown and incomprehensible reserves. The least we can do is to explore them. And it is almost for free. We only have to through some of the old cultural remains overboard. At the World Innovations Forum this is exactly what is going on right now. We’re building a digital layer across the globe that exists to connect people and their ideas, challenges, questions and answers together. We are not here to win a competition with AI-based robots but simply bring human entrepreneurs to a level that has never seen before.

Staggering ideas

As I progress with the book, diving deeper and deeper into the journey through the next 50 to 100 years, new situations come up and new ideas get created. New question arise, and the circle of impact will get bigger by the day.

If a large portion of our society will no longer need and even want to work, will the next generation children wonder why they should even learn anything?

If the developed countries accelerate their progress and with it their prosperity and live style, how much bigger will the gap to other countries get?

If the next generation is by large no longer working, learning or actively engaging, are we getting to real ‘Ideocracy’?

Yet, if the new, autonomous machines allow us to do things we could never imagine, it could do things anybody is dreaming about – no matter what education or previous level.

If autonomous machines get to teach our children, maybe we get to the most individual learning process ever. And if time is no longer the limiting factor and life long learning is the model – everybody – no matter which level in our society could sooner or later learn whatever they are really interested in.

The same can apply to countries that are still today way, relative to the most advanced societies.

As long as everybody can get access to the staggering knowledge explosion we will closing most gaps between equally talented people. That will allow us to see other gaps between differently talented people and we can work on those differences in a way more educated way than today.

Learning however will be one of the top 25 key aspects in our journey through time and differentiating factor between nations.


What is work?

Before we look into the future of work, I was thinking about work itself and when work is really work and when is it passion, an interesting activity. So I broke it up in two very different perspectives:

1) Work is an activity people do under a certain force to make money, not necessarily love what they do and do it in a rather routine way. That includes hard work, which is a huge load on their body, monotonous, repeat work, and work that does not require any specific skills but needs to get done. I’m sure you get the idea.

2) Then there is work people do not feel they are forced to do. This may be more or less sophisticated work. That work is more likely than not loved by the people who do that. It may be highly complex and very challenging and people like the challenge so that they would not consider it work. But it may also be a rather simple task where people still excited about and get satisfaction out of certain aspects of that work. This can be anything from artwork, craftsman work, creative work, strategy work, important human interactions, and so forth.

The most interesting part is that some activity is work for one and passion for somebody else. We humans have not been very good to avoid work and look for the cool stuff. Mainly because the understanding of work was very different about 300 years ago and all the previous 200,000+ years.

I guess it is time to make a change.

Hello world – with no work!

Welcome to a new world with no work.

Make your first self test:
A) Did you think – oh how terrible – this would be a catastrophe?
B) Did you think – oh how cool would that be. We can just do what we love to do and no longer worry about having a job?

The good news just up front:  The majority of people will enjoy an amazing lifestyle in the future – more comfortable that we can even imagine today. However,  as always, some people will simply reject the future, deny any positive aspect and fight for keeping a status quo. The past 5,000 years as a civilization, humans have taught each other, and even forced each other to keep the status quo. Keeping the status quo was utterly important because it was to ensure that we did not loose our achievements. Loosing the achievements back then was easy as there were no printing press to share documents, no books, no computers. All knowledge was transferred by word of mouth. CHANGE in this case change of the content was a deadly sin. Only in the past two to three centuries the high standard became higher through changes that happened within a life span of a person. The 5,000 year old behavior to stick with what we have is deep in our DNA by now. it takes more than just call the naysayer laggards. It takes a new mindset we all, as a society can agree on and than teach our generations to come.

Your future is now literally depending on your mindset. Because it this stage there is no clear concept or strategy how this next industrial evolution will pan out. However since we are talking about it already, there are also already ideas.  This book is thought to be a collection of concepts and a possible development over the next 50 or so years.

I have been called a visionary for years. Mainly because of my skills to create a plausible picture of the next 20 or more years. No – I’m not a clairvoyant or magician. I simply look at things we have in an early development stage, I look at what people would really like to have, what our societal evolution is looking like, possible industry and political influence and a most likely outcome of all of that.

I will try my best to assemble a collection of development streams that may help to compile an outlook into the next 50+ years.