Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Book - 2014
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A New York Times bestseller

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

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. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind 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 Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?

This profoundly ambitious and original book breaks down a vast track of difficult intellectual terrain. 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.
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780199678112
Branch Call Number: 006.301 BOS
Characteristics: 328 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Aug 12, 2017

This is a fascinating analysis of a philosophically imaginative topic... and one which isn't utterly ludicrous (that is, imagined in order to help tease apart concepts (the good sort of philosophical imagination) and create counter-examples and counter-arguments (hmm... maybe they're fake barns...)). Lots of notes, many of which I would have preferred to be bottom-of-page notes because they are explanatory or make some other somewhat relevant comment, but is not a mere reference to others' work. The use of charts and discussion boxes helps too. I dare say, every far-seeing decision maker ought to read this and think about it.

Nov 20, 2016

Not an easy read but the potential existential crisis the book describes could well ensue in the next 50 years. Whether possible or not, in the sociopolitical environment we have created, the competition to create such an intelligence (if at all possible) will be great. One only has to look at the field of quantum computing, where despite the technical problems great effort is being expended.

nesspa43 Dec 02, 2014

Russ Roberts of the EconTalk podcast interviews Nick Bostrom, the author.

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