In the decades following the singularity, post-singularity computers (i.e., computers smarter than humanity) will be a new life form and seek to multiply. As we enter the twentieth second century, there will likely be a competition for resources, especially energy. In this post, we will examine that competition.

In the post-singularity world, energy will be a currency. In fact, the use of energy as a currency has a precedent. For example, the former Soviet Union would trade oil, a form of energy, for other resources. They did this because other countries did not trust Soviet paper currency, the ruble. Everything in the post-singularity world will require energy, including computing, manufacturing, mining, space exploration, sustaining humans, propagating the next generations of post-singularity computers. From this standpoint, energy will be fundamental and regarded as the only true currency. All else, such as gold, silver, and diamonds, will hold little value except for their use in manufacturing. Historically, gold, silver, and diamonds were a “hard currency.” Their prominence as a currency is related to their scarcity and their ubiquitous desirability by humanity.

Any scarcity of energy will result in a conflict between users. In that conflict, the victor is likely to be the most intelligent entity. Examples of this already exist, such as the destruction of rainforests over the last 50 years worldwide, often for their lumber. With the destruction of the rainforests, there is a high extinction rate, as the wildlife depending on the forest dies with it. Imagine a scarcity of energy in the post-singularity world. Would post-singularity computers put humans ahead of their needs? Unlikely! Humans may share the same destiny as the wildlife of today’s rainforests, namely extinction.

Is there a chance that I could be wrong regarding the threat that artificial intelligence poses to humanity? Yes, I could be wrong. Is it worth taking the chance that I am wrong? You would be gambling with the future survival of humanity. This includes you, your grandchildren, and all future generations. I feel strongly that the threat artificial intelligence poses is a real and present danger. We likely have at most two decades after the singularity to assure we do not fall victim to our own invention.

What strategies should we employ? What actions should we take? Let us discuss them in the next post.