Nikola Tesla Predicted The Rise Of AI Over 100 Years Ago With Scary Accuracy

The pioneering genius of the inventor Nikola Tesla continues to astound us even a century after his time. New explorations into his writings reveal startling precognitions, none more significant than his musings that foreshadow the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI).

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Tesla, renowned for his innovations in electricity and technology, demonstrated an uncanny ability to perceive the future of scientific development. In a document dated June 1900, he stated, “I purpose to show that, however impossible it may now seem, an automaton may be contrived which will have its ‘own mind,' and by this, I mean that it will be able, independent of any operator, left entirely to itself, to perform, in response to external influences affecting its sensitive organs, a great variety of acts and operations as if it had intelligence.”

This comes in striking similarity to the modern-day trend surrounding artificial intelligence. The technology continues to grow in capabilities and features. And modern society is becoming increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence despite any potential future implications. ChatGPT is one of the most popular programs in the world currently, with AI startups like AtomBeam continuing to raise millions from retail investors and grow in prominence.

This remarkable statement featured in an essay titled “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy” published in “The Century Magazine”. This “philosophical treatise” was Tesla’s attempt to elucidate the means of satisfying humanity's burgeoning energy needs.

Born in the Austrian Empire in 1856 and later relocated to the U.S., Tesla’s impact on modern technology is incalculable. His legacy includes the invention of hydroelectric power, the Tesla coil, and fundamental contributions to the development of radio. His prescient envisioning of wireless technology and what we now recognize as mobile phones underscore the breadth of his futurist vision.

The recent reexamination of Tesla’s essays reveals a striking anticipation of contemporary AI capabilities. He envisioned autonomous machines capable of learning and adjusting their actions based on external influences, distinguishing between right and wrong actions, and even recording experiences that would inform future actions.

Joseph Sikorski, a History & Collection Committee Member at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, commented, “Tesla did foresee an age of machines thinking independently of humans. Perhaps his most famous example is his teleautomaton, a remote-controlled boat that contained the fundamental patents for radio, robotics, and the Nano A.N.D. gate – a primitive logic gate which is a fundamental part of every computer.”

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Tesla's insight into independent, intelligent machines was not a solitary thought. He expressed this idea in an 1890s letter to Purdue University professor Benjamin Franklin Miessner, predicting that he would soon “show an automaton which, left to itself, will act as though possessed of reason and without any willful control from the outside.”

Tesla’s foresight has become even more relevant with the rapid evolution of AI technologies. Today, artificial intelligence embodies Tesla's vision of autonomous machines, simulating human intelligence, and executing complex tasks on human prompts. AI has opened up immense possibilities and, at the same time, has stirred debates about its potential to surpass human intelligence.

Tesla’s foresight continues to resonate in modern society, particularly in the tech world. He had envisioned a wireless world, a global brain connected through the ether. Today, with the rapid advancement of AI and the global connectivity achieved through the internet, Tesla's prediction of machines with their “own mind” seems less a prophecy and more a reality. The challenge for us now is to harness this capability responsibly, building on Tesla’s visionary groundwork.

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