What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever have to make.

- Nick Bostrom

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Machines are becoming smarter and smarter. And it’s quite possible that within a generation or two we’ll reach the era of what Nick Bostrom calls superintelligence. That means, he says, we’re currently living through a unique period – a period of unparalleled significance for our future.

Listen to the Philosophy 24/7 episode on Superintelligence

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When we look at the rise of artificial intelligence, it’s easy to get carried away with dystopian visions of sentient machines that rebel against their human creators. Fictional baddies such as the Terminator’s Skynet or Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey have a lot to answer for.

However, the real risk posed by AI – at least in the near term – is much more insidious. It’s far more likely that robots would inadvertently harm or frustrate humans while carrying out our orders than they would become conscious and rise up against us. In recognition of this, the University of California, Berkeley has this week launched a center to focus on building people-pleasing AIs.

Continue reading Olivia Salon's article: The rise of robots: forget evil AI – the real risk is far more insidious 

Further Reading

Though there are fundamental limits imposed on the capabilities of intelligent systems by the laws of physics and computational complexity, human brains and societies of human brains are probably far from these limits. It is reasonable to think that ongoing research in AI, machine learning, and computing infrastructure will eventually make it possible to build AI systems that not only equal, but far exceed human capabilities in most domains. Current research on AI and machine learning is at least a few decades from this degree of capability and generality, but it would be surprising if it were not eventually achieved.

Superintelligent systems would be extremely effective at achieving tasks they are set...

Continue reading the Global Priorities Institute article: Three areas of research on the superintelligence control problem

Bonus Webcomic

Deception - SMBC

Related Topics

If you’re interested in artificial intelligence, check out some of the following related topics for more resources:

 Automation | EnhancementThe Future | Global Catastrophic Risks | Philosophy of Technology

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