The inevitable dominance of artificial intelligence

Mark Ridley
10 min readFeb 8, 2023
A blueprint diagram of a bipedal, humanoid robot
“Mum, when I grow up can I be a Mecha?” — Courtesy of Midjourney, naturally.

“One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”

- Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species

Note: I originally started writing this article all the way back in 2016, got distracted and left it on the shelf. The current furore about ChatGPT, Midjourney, Dall-E, and all the other generative AIs has inspired me to dust it off, update it and ship it.

Artificial Intelligence is a curious thing. At once we are bombarded with evidence of stunning new applications of machine learning, warned of the existential threat that it might pose to humanity, but told that artificial ‘general’ intelligence — the type of self-awareness that clever monkeys like us possess — is only a distant possibility.

While I don’t disagree with any of those views, I’d like to paint a different picture — that the evolution of a non-organic intelligence which surpasses human abilities is not only likely, but inevitable.

“From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

- Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species

55 million years ago, the first primates evolved. A yawning fifty million years later orrorin tugenensis, a chimp size, tree-dwelling primate, and possibly our first bipedal ancestor trotted onto the scene.

Generation by generation, hominids evolved and our brains developed. Over seven million years the human brain has tripled in size, with most of this growth occurring in the past two million years — the final third of our evolution responsible for most of the growth in brain size.

2.5 million years ago we started to use simple stone tools; Homo habilis, one of the first of our ancestors to share our ‘Homo’ genus, appeared two million years ago, proudly showing off a modest increase in brain size.

It’s in the last half-million years that a period of diversity in the Homo genus occurred, with many ‘first’ and ‘last’ appearances of our evolutionary cousins. Around 250,000 years ago, homo sapiens (so-called, ‘wise man’) turned up and immediately started a bar fight with homo

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Mark Ridley

Technologist, lean evangelist, chaos monkey and Chief Technology Prevention Officer. Loves good coffee, hanging around on ropes and driving about in cars