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A superintelligence, hyperintelligence or superhuman intelligence is a hypothetical entity which possesses intelligence surpassing that of any existing human being. Superintelligence may also refer to the specific form or degree of intelligence possessed by such an entity. The possibility of superhuman intelligence is frequently discussed in the context of artificial intelligence. Increasing natural intelligence through genetic engineering or brain-computer interfacing is a common motif in futurology and science fiction. Collective intelligence is often regarded as a pathway to superintelligence or as an existing realization of the phenomenon.
Superintelligence is defined as an “intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.” The definition does not specify the means by which superintelligence could be achieved: whether biological, technological, or some combination. Neither does it specify whether or not superintelligence requires self-consciousness or experience-driven perception.
The transhumanist movement distinguishes between “weak” and “strong” superintelligence. Weak superintelligence operates on the level of human brains, but much faster. Strong superintelligence operates on a superior level, as a human brain is considered qualitatively superior to a dog's.
In plain language, profoundly gifted people or savants are called superintelligent. Clever search algorithms or the Semantic Web are sometimes considered to be superintelligent. While these outstanding people or machines have an advantage over average human brains, they don't qualify as superintelligence, as they don't have superior abilities in cognition or creativity. The scientific community is heterogeneous, not a singular entity, and cannot be called a superintelligence.
In Transhumanism, different currents disagree on the way to create a superintelligence. Roughly three different paths are outlined:
- A Strong AI, which can learn and improve itself, could after several self-improvements achieve superintelligence.
- Biological enhancements (breeding, genetic manipulation, or medical treatments) could in several iterations induce the state of superintelligence or other superhuman traits.
- Cybernetic enhancements could increase the capabilities of the human mind considerably, at least in terms of speed and memory. Technical realization of neural human–computer interfaces have begun in the field of prosthetics. Real enhancements of a human brain are still unimplemented.
- Bostrom, Nick (2006). "How long before superintelligence?". Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 5 (1): 11–30.
- Transhumanist Conference "Transvision": What is superintelligence?
- Michael Anissimov 2003: Forecasting Superintelligence: the Technological Singularity
- Paul Sajda et al.: In a Blink of an Eye and a Switch of a Transistor: Cortically Coupled Computer Vision