Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

· OUP Oxford
206 reviews

About this ebook

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.

Ratings and reviews

206 reviews
A Google user
December 4, 2014
the book is fine, but Google Play doesn't make it obvious that this is their "flowing text" version and not the scanned version. the scanned version sucks for reading (or at least for reading quickly as the font size is super tiny on hi-res screens) other than that, the content seems good so far. i'm a fan of AI and especially of Kurtzweils Singularity, but recent comments by Elon Musk (another hero) made me question how AI could be bad. the answer (though i'm not sure if it's addressed in this book, as i've just started it) is in a demo that Deepmind gave about their Atari-game-playing AI that learned to play, then learned to be good, then learned to be better than any human, then learned to "ruthlessly exploit" each games idiosyncrasies and weaknesses to win in an "Epic Fashion". watching the video (search for "Deepmind artificial intelligence @ FDOT14") made me think "this could destroy something like the stock market". but i digress. it's a good read so far.
46 people found this review helpful
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Jake Brown
February 15, 2017
Nick Bostrom has an astonishing mind. This book and his related papers really spell things out clearly, and provide academic and philosophical frameworks for musings you;ve probably had internally for a long time. Impressive book if a bit dense, but it will quickly ensnare you.
26 people found this review helpful
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September 5, 2016
Bostrom should be the wise owl mentioned in the start of the book.. Many proposals from Bostrom, like the Simulation Hypothesis, has sparked the brains of many, like Elon Musk. Any way, nice book. Hope an I.Q 3525 being we become in the future (maybe Brain Machine interfaces)
11 people found this review helpful
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About the author

Nick Bostrom is Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University and founding Director of the Strategic Artificial Intelligence Research Centre 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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