Showing posts with label General and Narrow AI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General and Narrow AI. Show all posts

Artificial Intelligence - Who Is Sherry Turkle?

 


 

 

Sherry Turkle(1948–) has a background in sociology and psychology, and her work focuses on the human-technology interaction.

While her study in the 1980s focused on how technology affects people's thinking, her work in the 2000s has become more critical of how technology is utilized at the expense of building and maintaining meaningful interpersonal connections.



She has employed artificial intelligence in products like children's toys and pets for the elderly to highlight what people lose out on when interacting with such things.


Turkle has been at the vanguard of AI breakthroughs as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the creator of the MIT Initiative on Technology and the Self.

She highlights a conceptual change in the understanding of AI that occurs between the 1960s and 1980s in Life on the Screen: Identity inthe Age of the Internet (1995), substantially changing the way humans connect to and interact with AI.



She claims that early AI paradigms depended on extensive preprogramming and employed a rule-based concept of intelligence.


However, this viewpoint has given place to one that considers intelligence to be emergent.

This emergent paradigm, which became the recognized mainstream view by 1990, claims that AI arises from a much simpler set of learning algorithms.

The emergent method, according to Turkle, aims to emulate the way the human brain functions, assisting in the breaking down of barriers between computers and nature, and more generally between the natural and the artificial.

In summary, an emergent approach to AI allows people to connect to the technology more easily, even thinking of AI-based programs and gadgets as children.



Not just for the area of AI, but also for Turkle's study and writing on the subject, the rising acceptance of the emerging paradigm of AI and the enhanced relatability it heralds represents a significant turning point.


Turkle started to employ ethnographic research techniques to study the relationship between humans and their gadgets in two edited collections, Evocative Objects: Things We Think With (2007) and The Inner History of Devices (2008).


She emphasized in her book The Inner History of Devices that her intimate ethnography, or the ability to "listen with a third ear," is required to go past the advertising-based clich├ęs that are often employed when addressing technology.


This method comprises setting up time for silent meditation so that participants may think thoroughly about their interactions with their equipment.


Turkle used similar intimate ethnographic approaches in her second major book, Alone Together

Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (2011), to argue that the increasing connection between people and the technology they use is harmful.

These issues are connected to the increased usage of social media as a form of communication, as well as the continuous degree of familiarity and relatability with technology gadgets, which stems from the emerging AI paradigm that has become practically omnipresent.

She traced the origins of the dilemma back to early pioneers in the field of cybernetics, citing, for example, Norbert Weiner's speculations on the idea of transmitting a human person across a telegraph line in his book God & Golem, Inc.(1964).

Because it reduces both people and technology to information, this approach to cybernetic thinking blurs the barriers between them.



In terms of AI, this implies that it doesn't matter whether the machines with which we interact are really intelligent.


Turkle claims that by engaging with and caring for these technologies, we may deceive ourselves into feeling we are in a relationship, causing us to treat them as if they were sentient.

In a 2006 presentation titled "Artificial Intelligence at 50: From Building Intelligence to Nurturing Sociabilities" at the Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence Conference, she recognized this trend.

She identified the 1997 Tamagotchi, 1998 Furby, and 2000 MyReal Baby as early versions of what she refers to as relational artifacts, which are more broadly referred to as social machines in the literature.

The main difference between these devices and previous children's toys is that these devices come pre-animated and ready for a relationship, whereas previous children's toys required children to project a relationship onto them.

Turkle argues that this change is about our human weaknesses as much as it is about computer capabilities.

In other words, just caring for an item increases the likelihood of not only seeing it as intelligent but also feeling a connection to it.

This sense of connection is more relevant to the typical person engaging with these technologies than abstract philosophic considerations concerning the nature of their intelligence.



Turkle delves more into the ramifications of people engaging with AI-based technologies in both Alone Together and Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (2015).


She provides the example of Adam in Alone Together, who appreciates the appreciation of the AI bots he controls over in the game Civilization.

Adam appreciates the fact that he is able to create something fresh when playing.

Turkle, on the other hand, is skeptical of this interaction, stating that Adam's playing isn't actual creation, but rather the sensation of creation, and that it's problematic since it lacks meaningful pressure or danger.

In Reclaiming Conversation, she expands on this point, suggesting that social partners simply provide a perception of camaraderie.

This is important because of the value of human connection and what may be lost in relationships that simply provide a sensation or perception of friendship rather than true friendship.

Turkle believes that this transition is critical.


She claims that although connections with AI-enabledtechnologies may have certain advantages, they pale in contrast to what is missing: 

  • the complete complexity and inherent contradictions that define what it is to be human.


A person's connection with an AI-enabled technology is not as intricate as one's interaction with other individuals.


Turkle claims that as individuals have become more used to and dependent on technology gadgets, the definition of friendship has evolved.


  • People's expectations for companionship have been simplified as a result of this transformation, and the advantages that one wants to obtain from partnerships have been reduced.
  • People now tend to associate friendship only with the concept of interaction, ignoring the more nuanced sentiments and arguments that are typical in partnerships.
  • By engaging with gadgets, one may form a relationship with them.
  • Conversations between humans have become merely transactional as human communication has shifted away from face-to-face conversation and toward interaction mediated by devices. 

In other words, the most that can be anticipated is engagement.



Turkle, who has a background in psychoanalysis, claims that this kind of transactional communication allows users to spend less time learning to view the world through the eyes of another person, which is a crucial ability for empathy.


Turkle argues we are in a robotic period in which people yearn for, and in some circumstances prefer, AI-based robotic companionship over that of other humans, drawing together these numerous streams of argument.

For example, some people enjoy conversing with their iPhone's Siri virtual assistant because they aren't afraid of being judged by it, as evidenced by a series of Siri commercials featuring celebrities talking to their phones.

Turkle has a problem with this because these devices can only respond as if they understand what is being said.


AI-based gadgets, on the other hand, are confined to comprehending the literal meanings of data stored on the device.

They can decipher the contents of phone calendars and emails, but they have no idea what any of this data means to the user.

There is no discernible difference between a calendar appointment for car maintenance and one for chemotherapy for an AI-based device.

A person may lose sight of what it is to have an authentic dialogue with another human when entangled in a variety of these robotic connections with a growing number of technologies.


While Reclaiming Communication documents deteriorating conversation skills and decreasing empathy, it ultimately ends on a positive note.

Because people are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their relationships, there may be a chance for face-to-face human communication to reclaim its vital role.


Turkle's ideas focus on reducing the amount of time people spend on their phones, but AI's involvement in this interaction is equally critical.


  • Users must accept that their virtual assistant connections will never be able to replace face-to-face interactions.
  • This will necessitate being more deliberate in how one uses devices, prioritizing in-person interactions over the faster and easier interactions provided by AI-enabled devices.


~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram


You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.



See also: 

Blade Runner; Chatbots and Loebner Prize; ELIZA; General and Narrow AI; Moral Turing Test; PARRY; Turing, Alan; 2001: A Space Odyssey.


References And Further Reading

  • Haugeland, John. 1997. “What Is Mind Design?” Mind Design II: Philosophy, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, edited by John Haugeland, 1–28. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Searle, John R. 1997. “Minds, Brains, and Programs.” Mind Design II: Philosophy, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, edited by John Haugeland, 183–204. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Turing, A. M. 1997. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Mind Design II: Philosophy, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, edited by John Haugeland, 29–56. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.



Artificial Intelligence - What Is The Turing Test?

 



 

The Turing Test is a method of determining whether or not a machine can exhibit intelligence that mimics or is equivalent and likened to Human intelligence. 

The Turing Test, named after computer scientist Alan Turing, is an AI benchmark that assigns intelligence to any machine capable of displaying intelligent behavior comparable to that of a person.

Turing's "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" (1950), which establishes a simple prototype—what Turing calls "The Imitation Game," is the test's locus classicus.

In this game, a person is asked to determine which of the two rooms is filled by a computer and which is occupied by another human based on anonymized replies to natural language questions posed by the judge to each inhabitant.

Despite the fact that the human respondent must offer accurate answers to the court's queries, the machine's purpose is to fool the judge into thinking it is human.





According to Turing, the machine may be considered intelligent to the degree that it is successful at this job.

The fundamental benefit of this essentially operationalist view of intelligence is that it avoids complex metaphysics and epistemological issues about the nature and inner experience of intelligent activities.

According to Turing's criteria, little more than empirical observation of outward behavior is required for predicting object intelligence.

This is in sharp contrast to the widely Cartesian epistemological tradition, which holds that some internal self-awareness is a need for intelligence.

Turing's method avoids the so-called "problem of other minds" that arises from such a viewpoint—namely, how to be confident of the presence of other intelligent individuals if it is impossible to know their thoughts from a presumably required first-person perspective.



Nonetheless, the Turing Test, at least insofar as it considers intelligence in a strictly formalist manner, is bound up with the spirit of Cartesian epistemol ogy.

The machine in the Imitation Game is a digital computer in the sense of Turing: a set of operations that may theoretically be implemented in any material.


A digital computer consists of three parts: a knowledge store, an executive unit that executes individual orders, and a control that regulates the executive unit.






However, as Turing points out, it makes no difference whether these components are created using electrical or mechanical means.

What matters is the formal set of rules that make up the computer's very nature.

Turing holds to the core belief that intellect is inherently immaterial.

If this is true, it is logical to assume that human intellect functions in a similar manner to a digital computer and may therefore be copied artificially.


Since Turing's work, AI research has been split into two camps: 


  1. those who embrace and 
  2. those who oppose this fundamental premise.


To describe the first camp, John Haugeland created the term "good old-fashioned AI," or GOFAI.

Marvin Minsky, Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, Terry Winograd, and, most notably, Joseph Weizenbaum, whose software ELIZA was controversially hailed as the first to pass the Turing Test in 1966.



Nonetheless, detractors of Turing's formalism have proliferated, particularly in the past three decades, and GOFAI is now widely regarded as a discredited AI technique.

John Searle's Minds, Brains, and Programs (1980), in which Searle builds his now-famous Chinese Room thought experiment, is one of the most renowned criticisms of GOFAI in general—and the assumptions of the Turing Test in particular.





In the latter, a person with no prior understanding of Chinese is placed in a room and forced to correlate Chinese characters she receives with other Chinese characters she puts out, according to an English-scripted software.


Searle thinks that, assuming adequate mastery of the software, the person within the room may pass the Turing Test, fooling a native Chinese speaker into thinking she knew Chinese.

If, on the other hand, the person in the room is a digital computer, Turing-type tests, according to Searle, fail to capture the phenomena of understanding, which he claims entails more than the functionally accurate connection of inputs and outputs.

Searle's argument implies that AI research should take materiality issues seriously in ways that Turing's Imitation Game's formalism does not.

Searle continues his own explanation of the Chinese Room thought experiment by saying that human species' physical makeup—particularly their sophisticated nerve systems, brain tissue, and so on—should not be discarded as unimportant to conceptions of intelligence.


This viewpoint has influenced connectionism, an altogether new approach to AI that aims to build computer intelligence by replicating the electrical circuitry of human brain tissue.


The effectiveness of this strategy has been hotly contested, although it looks to outperform GOFAI in terms of developing generalized kinds of intelligence.

Turing's test, on the other hand, may be criticized not just from the standpoint of materialism, but also from the one of fresh formalism.





As a result, one may argue that Turing tests are insufficient as a measure of intelligence since they attempt to reproduce human behavior, which is frequently exceedingly dumb.


According to certain variants of this argument, if criteria of rationality are to distinguish rational from illogical human conduct in the first place, they must be derived a priori rather than from real human experience.

This line of criticism has gotten more acute as AI research has shifted its focus to the potential of so-called super-intelligence: forms of generalized machine intelligence that far outperform human intellect.


Should this next level of AI be attained, Turing tests would seem to be outdated.

Furthermore, simply discussing the idea of superintelligence would seem to need additional intelligence criteria in addition to severe Turing testing.

Turing may be defended against such accusation by pointing out that establishing a universal criterion of intellect was never his goal.



Indeed, according to Turing (1997, 29–30), the purpose is to replace the metaphysically problematic issue "can machines think" with the more empirically verifiable alternative: 

"What will happen when a computer assumes the role [of the man in the Imitation Game]" (Turing 1997, 29–30).


Thus, Turing's test's above-mentioned flaw—that it fails to establish a priori rationality standards—is also part of its strength and drive.

It also explains why, since it was initially presented three-quarters of a century ago, it has had such a lengthy effect on AI research in all domains.



~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram


You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.



See also: 

Blade Runner; Chatbots and Loebner Prize; ELIZA; General and Narrow AI; Moral Turing Test; PARRY; Turing, Alan; 2001: A Space Odyssey.


References And Further Reading

Haugeland, John. 1997. “What Is Mind Design?” Mind Design II: Philosophy, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, edited by John Haugeland, 1–28. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Searle, John R. 1997. “Minds, Brains, and Programs.” Mind Design II: Philosophy, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, edited by John Haugeland, 183–204. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Turing, A. M. 1997. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Mind Design II: Philosophy, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, edited by John Haugeland, 29–56. Cam￾bridge, MA: MIT Press.



Artificial Intelligence - Who Was Alan Turing?

 


 

 Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS(1912–1954) was a logician and mathematician from the United Kingdom.

He is known as the "Father of Artificial Intelligence" and "The Father of Computer Science." 

Turing earned a first-class honors degree in mathematics from King's College, Cambridge, in 1934.

Turing received his PhD from Princeton University after a fellowship at King's College, where he studied under American mathematician Alonzo Church.

Turing wrote numerous important publications during his studies, including "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem," which proved that the so-called "decision problem" had no solution.

The decision issue asks if there is a method for determining the correctness of any assertion inside a mathematical system.

This paper also explored a hypothetical Turing machine (basically an early computer) that, if represented by an algorithm, could execute any mathematical operation.


Turing is best known for his codebreaking work at Bletchley Park's Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) during World War II (1939–1945).

Turing's work at GC&CS included heading Hut 8, which was tasked with cracking the German Enigma and other very difficult naval encryption.

Turing's work undoubtedly shortened the war by years, saving millions of lives, but it is hard to measure with precision.

Turing wrote "The Applications of Probability to Cryptography" and "Paper on Statistics of Repetitions" during his tenure at GC&CS, both of which were held secret for seventy years by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) until being given to the UK National Archives in 2012.



Following WWII, Turing enrolled at the Victoria University of Manchester to study mathematical biology while continuing his work in mathematics, stored-program digital computers, and artificial intelligence.

Turing's 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" looked into artificial intelligence and introduced the concept of the Imitation Game (also known as the Turing Test), in which a human judge uses a set of written questions and responses to try to distinguish between a computer program and a human.

If the computer program imitates a person to the point that the human judge cannot discern the difference between the computer program's and the human's replies, the program has passed the test, indicating that it is capable of intelligent reasoning.


Turochamp, a chess program written by Turing and his colleague D.G. Champernowne, was meant to be executed by a computer, but no machine with adequate capacity existed to test the program.

Turing instead manually ran the algorithms to test the software.

Turing was well-recognized during his lifetime, despite the fact that most of his work remained secret until after his death.


Turing was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1951 and was awarded to the Order of the British Empire in 1946.(FRS).

The Turing Award, named after him, is given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery for contributions to the area of computing.

The Turing Award, which comes with a $1 million reward, is commonly recognized as the Nobel Prize of Computing.


Turing was outspoken about his sexuality at a period when homosexuality was still illegal in the United Kingdom.

Turing was accused in 1952 under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 with "gross indecency." 

Turing was found guilty, granted probation, and was sentenced to a year of "chemical castration," in which he was injected with synthetic estrogen.


Turing's conviction had an influence on his career as well.


His security clearance was withdrawn, and he was compelled to stop working for the GCHQ as a cryptographer.

Following successful campaigning for an apology and pardon, the British government passed the Alan Turing bill in 2016, which retrospectively pardoned hundreds of persons imprisoned under Section 11 and other historical laws.


In 1954, Turing died of cyanide poisoning.

Turing's death may have been caused by inadvertent inhalation of cyanide vapors, despite the fact that it was officially considered a suicide.



~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram


You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.



See also: 

Chatbots and Loebner Prize; General and Narrow AI; Moral Turing Test; Turing Test.


References And Further Reading

Hodges, Andrew. 2004. “Turing, Alan Mathison (1912–1954).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-36578.

Lavington, Simon. 2012. Alan Turing and His Contemporaries: Building the World’s First Computers. Swindon, UK: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Sharkey, Noel. 2012. “Alan Turing: The Experiment that Shaped Artificial Intelligence.” BBC News, June 21, 2012. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18475646.



AI - What Is Superintelligence AI? Is Artificial Superintelligence Possible?

 


 

In its most common use, the phrase "superintelligence" refers to any degree of intelligence that at least equals, if not always exceeds, human intellect, in a broad sense.


Though computer intelligence has long outperformed natural human cognitive capacity in specific tasks—for example, a calculator's ability to swiftly interpret algorithms—these are not often considered examples of superintelligence in the strict sense due to their limited functional range.


In this sense, superintelligence would necessitate, in addition to artificial mastery of specific theoretical tasks, some kind of additional mastery of what has traditionally been referred to as practical intelligence: a generalized sense of how to subsume particulars into universal categories that are in some way worthwhile.


To this day, no such generalized superintelligence has manifested, and hence all discussions of superintelligence remain speculative to some degree.


Whereas traditional theories of superintelligence have been limited to theoretical metaphysics and theology, recent advancements in computer science and biotechnology have opened up the prospect of superintelligence being materialized.

Although the timing of such evolution is hotly discussed, a rising body of evidence implies that material superintelligence is both possible and likely.


If this hypothesis is proved right, it will very certainly be the result of advances in one of two major areas of AI research


  1. Bioengineering 
  2. Computer science





The former involves efforts to not only map out and manipulate the human DNA, but also to exactly copy the human brain electronically through full brain emulation, also known as mind uploading.


The first of these bioengineering efforts is not new, with eugenics programs reaching back to the seventeenth century at the very least.

Despite the major ethical and legal issues that always emerge as a result of such efforts, the discovery of DNA in the twentieth century, together with advances in genome mapping, has rekindled interest in eugenics.

Much of this study is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the human brain's genetic composition in order to manipulate DNA code in the direction of superhuman intelligence.



Uploading is a somewhat different, but still biologically based, approach to superintelligence that aims to map out neural networks in order to successfully transfer human intelligence onto computer interfaces.


  • The brains of insects and tiny animals are micro-dissected and then scanned for thorough computer analysis in this relatively new area of study.
  • The underlying premise of whole brain emulation is that if the brain's structure is better known and mapped, it may be able to copy it with or without organic brain tissue.



Despite the fast growth of both genetic mapping and whole brain emulation, both techniques have significant limits, making it less likely that any of these biological approaches will be the first to attain superintelligence.





The genetic alteration of the human genome, for example, is constrained by generational constraints.

Even if it were now feasible to artificially boost cognitive functioning by modifying the DNA of a human embryo (which is still a long way off), it would take an entire generation for the changed embryo to evolve into a fully fledged, superintelligent human person.

This would also imply that there are no legal or moral barriers to manipulating the human DNA, which is far from the fact.

Even the comparatively minor genetic manipulation of human embryos carried done by a Chinese physician as recently as November 2018 sparked international outrage (Ramzy and Wee 2019).



Whole brain emulation, on the other hand, is still a long way off, owing to biotechnology's limits.


Given the current medical technology, the extreme levels of accuracy necessary at every step of the uploading process are impossible to achieve.

Science and technology currently lack the capacity to dissect and scan human brain tissue with sufficient precision to produce full brain simulation results.

Furthermore, even if such first steps are feasible, researchers would face significant challenges in analyzing and digitally replicating the human brain using cutting-edge computer technology.




Many analysts believe that such constraints will be overcome, although the timeline for such realizations is unknown.



Apart from biotechnology, the area of AI, which is strictly defined as any type of nonorganic (particularly computer-based) intelligence, is the second major path to superintelligence.

Of course, the work of creating a superintelligent AI from the ground up is complicated by a number of elements, not all of which are purely logistical in nature, such as processing speed, hardware/software design, finance, and so on.

In addition to such practical challenges, there is a significant philosophical issue: human programmers are unable to know, and so cannot program, that which is superior to their own intelligence.





Much contemporary research on computer learning and interest in the notion of a seed AI is motivated in part by this worry.


Any machine capable of changing reactions to stimuli based on an examination of how well it performs in relation to a predetermined objective is defined as the latter.

Importantly, the concept of a seed AI entails not only the capacity to change its replies by extending its base of content knowledge (stored information), but also the ability to change the structure of its programming to better fit a specific job (Bostrom 2017, 29).

Indeed, it is this latter capability that would give a seed AI what Nick Bostrom refers to as "recursive self-improvement," or the ability to evolve iteratively (Bostrom 2017, 29).

This would eliminate the requirement for programmers to have an a priori vision of super intelligence since the seed AI would constantly enhance its own programming, with each more intelligent iteration writing a superior version of itself (beyond the human level).

Such a machine would undoubtedly cast doubt on the conventional philosophical assumption that robots are incapable of self-awareness.

This perspective's proponents may be traced all the way back to Descartes, but they also include more current thinkers like John Haugeland and John Searle.



Machine intelligence, in this perspective, is defined as the successful correlation of inputs with outputs according to a predefined program.




As a result, robots differ from humans in type, the latter being characterized only by conscious self-awareness.

Humans are supposed to comprehend the activities they execute, but robots are thought to carry out functions mindlessly—that is, without knowing how they work.

Should it be able to construct a successful seed AI, this core idea would be forced to be challenged.

The seed AI would demonstrate a level of self-awareness and autonomy not readily explained by the Cartesian philosophical paradigm by upgrading its own programming in ways that surprise and defy the forecasts of its human programmers.

Indeed, although it is still speculative (for the time being), the increasingly possible result of superintelligent AI poses a slew of moral and legal dilemmas that have sparked a lot of philosophical discussion in this subject.

The main worries are about the human species' security in the case of what Bostrom refers to as a "intelligence explosion"—that is, the creation of a seed AI followed by a possibly exponential growth in intellect (Bostrom 2017).



One of the key problems is the inherently unexpected character of such a result.


Humans will not be able to totally foresee how superintelligent AI would act due to the autonomy entailed by superintelligence in a definitional sense.

Even in the few cases of specialized superintelligence that humans have been able to construct and study so far—for example, robots that have surpassed humans in strategic games like chess and Go—human forecasts for AI have shown to be very unreliable.

For many critics, such unpredictability is a significant indicator that, should more generic types of superintelligent AI emerge, humans would swiftly lose their capacity to manage them (Kissinger 2018).





Of all, such a loss of control does not automatically imply an adversarial relationship between humans and superintelligence.


Indeed, although most of the literature on superintelligence portrays this relationship as adversarial, some new work claims that this perspective reveals a prejudice against machines that is particularly prevalent in Western cultures (Knight 2014).

Nonetheless, there are compelling grounds to believe that superintelligent AI would at the very least consider human goals as incompatible with their own, and may even regard humans as existential dangers.

For example, computer scientist Steve Omohundro has claimed that even a relatively basic kind of superintelligent AI like a chess bot would have motive to want the extinction of humanity as a whole—and may be able to build the tools to do it (Omohundro 2014).

Similarly, Bostrom has claimed that a superintelligence explosion would most certainly result in, if not the extinction of the human race, then at the very least a gloomy future (Bostrom 2017).

Whatever the benefits of such theories, the great uncertainty entailed by superintelligence is obvious.

If there is one point of agreement in this large and diverse literature, it is that if AI research is to continue, the global community must take great care to protect its interests.





Hardened determinists who claim that technological advancement is so tightly connected to inflexible market forces that it is simply impossible to change its pace or direction in any major manner may find this statement contentious.


According to this determinist viewpoint, if AI can deliver cost-cutting solutions for industry and commerce (as it has already started to do), its growth will proceed into the realm of superintelligence, regardless of any unexpected negative repercussions.

Many skeptics argue that growing societal awareness of the potential risks of AI, as well as thorough political monitoring of its development, are necessary counterpoints to such viewpoints.


Bostrom highlights various examples of effective worldwide cooperation in science and technology as crucial precedents that challenge the determinist approach, including CERN, the Human Genome Project, and the International Space Station (Bostrom 2017, 253).

To this, one may add examples from the worldwide environmental movement, which began in the 1960s and 1970s and has imposed significant restrictions on pollution committed in the name of uncontrolled capitalism (Feenberg 2006).



Given the speculative nature of superintelligence research, it is hard to predict what the future holds.

However, if superintelligence poses an existential danger to human existence, caution would dictate that a worldwide collaborative strategy rather than a free market approach to AI be used.



~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram


You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.



See also: 


Berserkers; Bostrom, Nick; de Garis, Hugo; General and Narrow AI; Goertzel, Ben; Kurzweil, Ray; Moravec, Hans; Musk, Elon; Technological Singularity; Yudkowsky, Eliezer.



References & Further Reading:


  • Bostrom, Nick. 2017. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Feenberg, Andrew. 2006. “Environmentalism and the Politics of Technology.” In Questioning Technology, 45–73. New York: Routledge.
  • Kissinger, Henry. 2018. “How the Enlightenment Ends.” The Atlantic, June 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/henry-kissinger-ai-could-mean-the-end-of-human-history/559124/.
  • Knight, Heather. 2014. How Humans Respond to Robots: Building Public Policy Through Good Design. Washington, DC: The Project on Civilian Robotics. Brookings Institution.
  • Omohundro, Steve. 2014. “Autonomous Technology and the Greater Human Good.” Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 26, no. 3: 303–15.
  • Ramzy, Austin, and Sui-Lee Wee. 2019. “Scientist Who Edited Babies’ Genes Is Likely to Face Charges in China.” The New York Times, January 21, 2019



What Is Artificial General Intelligence?

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is defined as the software representation of generalized human cognitive capacities that enables the ...