“Humanity is just a passing phase for evolutionary intelligence.”

By Joseph Raczynski

At MIT EmTech Conference – Cambridge, MA

This is not a joke.  Our time is short here on Earth, according to Geoffrey Hinton Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto; Engineering Fellow, Google, “Humanity is just a passing phase for evolutionary intelligence.”  In other words, we don’t have much more time.  This is a stunning statement, and what I just witnessed was one of the most impactful sessions I have seen in many moons. The MIT Lab was speechless and bewildered. 

Geoffrey Hinton, just resigned from Google as the Head of AI.  He made his first comments today after leaving Google during the MIT EmTech Digital Conference to a room full of executives, scientists, technologists, and educators from around the world.  Some consider him to be the godfather of AI.  He has been in the space his entire career as he retires at 75.  He is also the winner of the Turing Award, referred to as the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” the most highly prized award in computing. 

RJ Jaczko/Halo Creative for MIT Technology Review

In what he outlined to the standing room only crowd of attendees; this is a new concern for him, which came about over the last few months.  While Google has had this technology since 2018, OpenAI’s release of GPT4 has completely changed his mind on what is next, which is honestly, frightening.  He has seen evidence that ChatGPT can reason at a lower rate.  That is the beginning, but something he did not expect to see in the wild.  In the not-too-distant future, he expects this to only become a better reasoning machine.  He used the example of humans being a two-year-old and asked by its parent if it would like peas or apple sauce.  In other words, we will not know when it will become more powerful than us.  Hint, it is soon.  He went on to describe what OpenAI has done with 1 trillion connections whereas a human brain has 100 trillion connections – yet the 1 trillion from OpenAI are likely more intelligent, at this very moment.  When the 1 trillion grow, which they are now, it will certainly surpass human knowledge soon.

Questions were posed about how we might be able to stop this, and honestly, he did not have any positive answers.  The genie is out of the bottle, and it would take a worldwide effort of every country to stop this progression.  While I have been talking and writing about this moment for many years, I thought we were still decades away from artificial superintelligence or the singularity, but in fact, according to one of the best minds in the world on this, it is much closer than any of us know.

With permission from MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital, May 3, 2023 here is the video:

MIT Legal Forum on AI & Blockchain Busts Open New Thinking

By Joseph Raczynski

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab – Cambridge MA – October 2017 – In one of the more unique and unusual conferences I have participated, the inaugural MIT Legal Forum on AI & Blockchain was a meeting of 200 minds from across academia, law firm, and corporations big and small.  It included IBM Watson as well as CodeX, NASA scientists, Baker & Hostetler, a host of other Am Law firms, and startups galore.  Led by the gregarious MIT visiting scientist, Daniel “Dazza” Greenwood, who served as the master of ceremonies for the two day workshop.


Dazza Greenwood – MIT Scientist – summarizing the day

What was so unusual was that after the keynote each day, the planning for the remainder of the breakouts happened in real-time.  Dazza asked the crowd who would like to run a session and to describe the topic.  Once that individual did so, Dazza then asked who would like to join that working session.  The sessions were added to the agenda immediately followed by the commencing of those sessions.  From the attendees the following topics bubbled up on day one:

  • Identity Management & Records Keeping – Chris Jagers and Joseph Raczynski
    • How do we begin the discussion of digital records on blockchain?
  • Automated LLC – James Miller and Harrison Perl
    • Project to checklist requirements to incorporate or register legal entities in all 50 states
  • VAT Coin – Joseph Kessler and Brian Ulicny
    • Governance is 75% of entities. Is that correct?  Does it fit this context?
  • Energy Utility Token – Jonathan, Michael, and Harrison
    • How can such a process be securitized and how do we get the revenue back in a way that is sustainable and trusted by investors?
  • Supply Chain – Jaipat and Gurvinder
    • Is there a need for a new area of law called, “Provenance Law”?
  • Bankruptcy – Bob Craig and Nina Kilbride
    • With cryptocurrency as collateral, how do you classify the property? How do you perfect ownership rights?

I had the opportunity to join several of these discussions over the two days.  Honestly there were one or two slight misses, where the tables were large and attendees from various backgrounds of familiarity on blockchain and AI led to a mixed conversation.  However, the hits – they were transformative.  How often do you have top legal minds from Am Law firms, NASA engineers, MIT data scientists and nonprofits mix together on a process surrounding “smart contracts” that leverage algorithms to develop an automated workflow?  The session called ditDIY Composable Smart Contracts, Modular Law – led by Vienna Loi, was a hit.  The NASA scientist and her team are actively building this concept out.  Think of it as code (smart contract) that when a certain event is triggered kicks off another event which continues to invoke other acts, all of which are recorded and maintained on a blockchain.  It is the future of this space.

The excitement was palpable.  You could see the evolution that is beginning to take place in Legal as we go from a general awareness of these technologies, to conceptual design of possible solutions.  MIT is fostering the creativity through this platform in their first attempt at bringing all parties to the table.

In the next post, I will dive deeper into Digital Identity using blockchains.