Watch: How Arthur C Clarke Had Predicted ChatGPT In 1964

ChatGPT has stunned both casual users and technologists alike. Users are marveling at its capabilities, and technologists are amazed at the pace of its progress. But more than half a century ago, fiction writer Arthur C Clarke, who’s best known for his 1978 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, had make a remarkably prescient observation about how the future of the world would shape up. He had predicted “machines which would outthink their makers”, and even said that this outcome wasn’t depressing. Here’s the clip in its entirely.

The most intelligent inhabitants of that future world won’t be men or monkeys. They’ll be machines. The remote descendants of today’s computers. The present day electronic brains are complete morons. But this will not be true in another generation. They will start to think and will eventually complete outthink their makers. Is this depressing? I don’t see why it should be. We superseded the Cro-magnon and the Neanderthal men and we presume we’re an improvement. I think we should regard it as a privilege to be a stepping stone to higher things. I suspect that organic or biological evolution has about come to its end, and we’re now at the beginning of inorganic, or mechanical evolution, which will be thousands of time swifter. But even if the future does belong to the robots, our bodies and our brains still have immense untapped potentialities. For example, to cope with the information explosion, we may develop a machine for recording information directly on the to the brain, as today we can record a symphony on tape. So we may one day be able to become instant experts, learning Chinese overnight, for example. Or we may be able to recall completely memories of past events, so that we seem to relive them. In fact, techniques are already known for doing this in a rather limited way at the present. Alternatively, we may prefer to totally erase past unpleasant memories.