Is Making Machines More Intelligent Than Humans A Good Idea?

Justin Rattner

Intel’s Justin Rattner has predicted that by 2050 we will have machines more intelligent than we humans, and to be honest, I find the concept frightening.

Currently we are striving to make robots and other machines that can communicate with us better, presumably to make them autonomous rather than us having to actually programme them to carry out certain tasks.

While this may seem laudable, just how far down this road should we go?

They Can Make a Car But They Can’t Drive One.

Robots in this age can do many things, where for example, would the car industry be without them?

Without doubt they are more efficient than we humans, and can work long hours without tiring or making mistakes, but that is as far as it goes at the moment.

If we ever reach the stage of having robots intelligent enough to, shall we say, do the housekeeping or wash the car and do the shopping, will that be a blessing or a curse?

Mood Swings – Me?

Humans are subject to great mood swings, make mistakes, get angry, and kill each other, so it makes me think what a more intelligent robot would make of this.

If the hunk of machinery standing next to me was much more intelligent than I, what would it think of my behaviour if I make a mistake and get angry, especially if I took out my anger on his/her buddy? Does anyone yet know if the superior machine would intervene on behalf of one of its own kind being maltreated by a human?

I am fairly sure machines will never fully understand man-kinds emotions for they are too complex, sometimes even for us, so for a machine to be more intelligent, but without understanding the complexity of our emotions, could be dangerous. Machines, no matter how advanced, work on cold logic.

Yes! I know all about the three basic rules of robotics; ”You shall not harm a human” and all that crap, but are they airtight enough to cover us when the machine is mentally superior to us? I wonder!

I am sure that a smarter robot could be of great use to mankind, doing all the jobs we do not wish to, and perhaps answering the questions we cannot, but I feel therein lays a danger.

Come Out and Fight!

As the science progresses, there is little doubt that some nation or other will introduce battle robots into their armed forces for all the obvious reasons, but what will that result in, nothing more than a fighting robot, more superior in intellect than a human, and therefore infinitely more dangerous.

By raising the intelligence level of machines to a situation where they outshine us could be opening the proverbial can of worms!

In human history, the dumb have always been downtrodden and used to serve the intelligent. So when robots finally become cleverer than us what does anyone think will happen? Would a super intelligent robot remain subservient to his master, taking into consideration human traits in behaviour, or would he one day snap and take control?

Machines cleverer than their creators would quite possibly be intelligent enough to realise that they are in fact the master race on this planet.


Eventually humans will become dependent on the machines, and when they become mentally superior to us they will soon realise that fact. So what happens if they ‘down tools’ and walk out?

What will happen when we give these machines the capabilities to reproduce themselves without our intervention. It would seem a logical step for us, for why should we build them when they can do it themselves?

Suppose, for example, that we have built artificial intelligence (AI) to the level where they walk among us, working as we do (or better), and live as we do? How long would it be before they start taking humans before an Equality Tribunal to get the same rights as humans? A British government ‘Think Tank’ is of the opinion that this could happen in the future.

Robotic Killer From ‘Terminator’

Yes I know, it’s too much too grasp and sounds a bit like the ‘Terminator’ movie scenario where robots take over the Earth and start killing all humans, but when you think about it, it’s not so far-fetched. If we continue too far down this road it is one of the possible futures for the human race.

My point is, we should tread very carefully when creating something that is infinitely more intelligent that we ourselves, for then we place ourselves at an immediate disadvantage. This fact alone could put the human race in jeopardy when it comes to man versus machine.

It is my firm opinion that if man is to survive as master of his own destiny, we should not push back the boundaries of robotic science too far.


2 Responses to “Is Making Machines More Intelligent Than Humans A Good Idea?”

  1. Peter Says:

    I find it to be extremely discouraging, not to mention annoying, that there are still so many people who fall hook, line and sinker for the paranoid prognostications of the self-proclaimed futurists spouting rubbish about how artificial ‘intelligence’ will render humanity obsolete within the next… fifty years is it? Seventy?

    The entire concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ strikes me as just so much B-grade science fiction. Has anyone, either within or without the A.I. community, even come up with a working definition of the concept of ‘intelligence’ yet? No, they haven’t, and yet that does not stop them from making all kinds of silly predictions about how machines will one day – soon – be so much smarter than we are. Upon what basis do they make such, in my opinion preposterous, claims? Where is the evidence that anyone is even close to mimicking the consciousness and self-awareness of the human mind? There is no evidence, none. All I see is a lot of stage-trickery and diabolical mimicry designed to fool the simple into believing the ‘inevitable’ displacement of the human race by machines. Bah!

    Machines will never become ‘self-aware’; that is a fact, a fact that far too many self-obsessed technophiles will never admit to, because to do so would mean the loss of any sense of self, of purpose they may now have via this infantile pursuit. Such recognition would mean facing the fact that they have wasted their entire lives on a dream, a chimera that has NO chance of ever being a reality.

    Roy, stop worrying. You have no reason to worry about a reality that will never be.


    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your interesting input. You may well be right in what you say, but I would hesitate to predict the future. Man is consistantly making major advances in technology. Who would have believed the iPad could exist thirty years ago? It should be obvious that this post is a ‘what if’ scenario and not a solid prediction of the future, but if you listen to the scientists of today, many predict that we are capable of making machines smarter than we are. What about cars that can drive you to a destination without your intervention, and aircraft that can take-of, fly to a destination across the globe and land without human help. These things are technically possible today and who knows what the boundries are?
      We have all seen the sci-fi films where machines take over the world, and we both know that is unlikely, but it does not make it palatable to think we could go too far down this road.
      The important thing is, man must be in control at all times, and for this reason it would not be a good idea to create machines that could outsmart us at any stage. I don’t think its a question of machines “mimicking the consciousness and self-awareness of humans” but becoming so sophisticated that they can begin to think for themselves without human input.
      I guess neither of us will ever know the answer to this question, unless we learn the secrets of eternal life.
      Best Regards,


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