Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

OUP Oxford
132
Free sample

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
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About the author

Nick Bostrom is Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University and founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute and of the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology within the Oxford Martin School. He is the author of some 200 publications, including Anthropic Bias (Routledge, 2002), Global Catastrophic Risks (ed., OUP, 2008), and Human Enhancement (ed., OUP, 2009). He previously taught at Yale, and he was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the British Academy. Bostrom has a background in physics, computational neuroscience, and mathematical logic as well as philosophy.
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4.4
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Jul 3, 2014
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780191666834
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
Computers / Intelligence (AI) & Semantics
Mathematics / Game Theory
Science / General
Social Science / Future Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Will the Geeks inherit the earth?

If computers become twice as fast and twice as capable every two years, how long is it before they’re as intelligent as humans? More intelligent? And then in two more years, twice as intelligent? How long before you won’t be able to tell if you are texting a person or an especially ingenious chatterbot program designed to simulate intelligent human conversation?

According to Richard Dooling in Rapture for the Geeks—maybe not that long. It took humans millions of years to develop opposable thumbs (which we now use to build computers), but computers go from megabytes to gigabytes in five years; from the invention of the PC to the Internet in less than fifteen. At the accelerating rate of technological development, AI should surpass IQ in the next seven to thirty-seven years (depending on who you ask). We are sluggish biological sorcerers, but we’ve managed to create whiz-bang machines that are evolving much faster than we are.

In this fascinating, entertaining, and illuminating book, Dooling looks at what some of the greatest minds have to say about our role in a future in which technology rapidly leaves us in the dust. As Dooling writes, comparing human evolution to technological evolution is “worse than apples and oranges: It’s appliances versus orangutans.” Is the era of Singularity, when machines outthink humans, almost upon us? Will we be enslaved by our supercomputer overlords, as many a sci-fi writer has wondered? Or will humans live lives of leisure with computers doing all the heavy lifting?

With antic wit, fearless prescience, and common sense, Dooling provocatively examines nothing less than what it means to be human in what he playfully calls the age of b.s. (before Singularity)—and what life will be like when we are no longer alone with Mother Nature at Darwin’s card table. Are computers thinking and feeling if they can mimic human speech and emotions? Does processing capability equal consciousness? What happens to our quaint beliefs about God when we’re all worshipping technology? What if the human compulsion to create ever more capable machines ultimately leads to our own extinction? Will human ingenuity and faith ultimately prevail over our technological obsessions? Dooling hopes so, and his cautionary glimpses into the future are the best medicine to restore our humanity.
An exploration of embodied intelligence and its implications points toward a theory of intelligence in general; with case studies of intelligent systems in ubiquitous computing, business and management, human memory, and robotics.

How could the body influence our thinking when it seems obvious that the brain controls the body? In How the Body Shapes the Way We Think, Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard demonstrate that thought is not independent of the body but is tightly constrained, and at the same time enabled, by it. They argue that the kinds of thoughts we are capable of have their foundation in our embodiment—in our morphology and the material properties of our bodies.

This crucial notion of embodiment underlies fundamental changes in the field of artificial intelligence over the past two decades, and Pfeifer and Bongard use the basic methodology of artificial intelligence—"understanding by building"—to describe their insights. If we understand how to design and build intelligent systems, they reason, we will better understand intelligence in general. In accessible, nontechnical language, and using many examples, they introduce the basic concepts by building on recent developments in robotics, biology, neuroscience, and psychology to outline a possible theory of intelligence. They illustrate applications of such a theory in ubiquitous computing, business and management, and the psychology of human memory. Embodied intelligence, as described by Pfeifer and Bongard, has important implications for our understanding of both natural and artificial intelligence.

By 2062 we will have built machines as intelligent as us – so the leading artificial intelligence and robotics experts predict. But what will this future look like? 


In 2062, world-leading researcher Toby Walsh considers the impact AI will have on work, war, economics, politics, everyday life and even death. Will automation take away most jobs? Will robots become conscious and take over? Will we become immortal machines ourselves, uploading our brains to the cloud? How will politics adjust to the post-truth, post-privacy digitised world? When we have succeeded in building intelligent machines, how will life on this planet unfold? 


Based on a deep understanding of technology, 2062 describes the choices we need to make today to ensure that the future remains bright. 


‘As Toby Walsh convincingly puts it, “the golden age of philosophy is just about to begin”– a testament to both the richness and the urgency of the questions that confront us between now and 2062. This is a compelling invitation to imagine the future we want, and a lively provocation to make it happen.’ —Brian Christian, author of The Most Human Human and co-author of Algorithms to Live By 


‘If you want to explore what the disruptive future shaped by AI could be, read this book’ –James Canton, CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, and author of Future Smart: Managing the Game Changing Trends that will Transform Your World 


‘One day, machines will surpass humans in all forms of general intelligence. When will that happen? The answer, according to a survey of experts, is the year 2062. If you want to read a lively and well-informed speculation about what could happen next, you can't do better than Toby Walsh's amazing new book.’ –Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and co-author of the New York Times best-seller The Second Machine Age 


‘Clarity and sanity in a world full of fog and uncertainty – a timely book about the race to remain human.’ –Richard Watson, author of Digital Vs. Humanand futurist-in-residence at Imperial College, London 


‘“What happens next?” is the question that drives human curiosity and innovation. In 2062, Toby Walsh asks that question of one of the most critical junctures on our horizon – the point at which machines become as intelligent as humans. If you’re looking for a roadmap to help navigate that future, look no further.’ —Joel Werner, broadcaster and science journalist 


'One of the deepest questions facing humanity, pondered by a mind well and truly up to the task. Rip in!' –Adam Spencer, broadcaster

Anthropic Bias explores how to reason when you suspect that your evidence is biased by "observation selection effects"--that is, evidence that has been filtered by the precondition that there be some suitably positioned observer to "have" the evidence. This conundrum--sometimes alluded to as "the anthropic principle," "self-locating belief," or "indexical information"--turns out to be a surprisingly perplexing and intellectually stimulating challenge, one abounding with important implications for many areas in science and philosophy.

There are the philosophical thought experiments and paradoxes: the Doomsday Argument; Sleeping Beauty; the Presumptuous Philosopher; Adam & Eve; the Absent-Minded Driver; the Shooting Room.

And there are the applications in contemporary science: cosmology ("How many universes are there?", "Why does the universe appear fine-tuned for life?"); evolutionary theory ("How improbable was the evolution of intelligent life on our planet?"); the problem of time's arrow ("Can it be given a thermodynamic explanation?"); quantum physics ("How can the many-worlds theory be tested?"); game-theory problems with imperfect recall ("How to model them?"); even traffic analysis ("Why is the 'next lane' faster?").

Anthropic Bias argues that the same principles are at work across all these domains. And it offers a synthesis: a mathematically explicit theory of observation selection effects that attempts to meet scientific needs while steering clear of philosophical paradox.

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