Time for humans to get smarter

I was apprehensive upon reading that AlphaGo, the artificial intelligence system built by Google subsidiary DeepMind, vanquished human champion Lee Se Dol in the strategy game Go ("Learning how far computers Go in defeating humans"; March 17).

It was an iconic breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), but spells only one thing for the human race: trouble.

It seems that we have now unlocked the mystery of humans' innate learning ability. In the inexorable march towards the even smarter AI, the golden age of the intelligent, intuitive and dynamic human being may be nearing its end.

The irony is that while AI improves our quality of life, it also renders much of our human existence superfluous.

The question beckons: Where does this leave us - the "most intelligent species" on earth?

The answer: Humans need to get smarter.

What AI does, we need to do better. What AI cannot do, we need to excel at.

Only in this way will we outsmart our "alter beings" and be able to use them to augment our quality of life.

AI has already encroached on many aspects of intelligence.

It is in our best interests to let go of the "technology kills humans" mantra and work towards developing more complex intelligence, answering our "higher calling" as the "master race".

Otherwise, our next invention could well be our last.

Emma Goh En-Ya, 17

First-year junior college student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2016, with the headline 'Time for humans to get smarter'. Print Edition | Subscribe