Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

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Oxford University Press, 2014 - Computers - 328 pages
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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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - 064 - LibraryThing

Five stars for the message, but I should have deducted one point for the flabby, often impenetrable academic writing style. Interesting overview and insightful perspectives of the future of AI. Cover ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Paul_S - LibraryThing

An exercise in bike-shedding of epic proportions. More charitably, it's a very interesting book about ethics, progress and society. It's no more about AI than astrology is about planets. Read full review


1 Past developments and present capabilities
2 Paths to superintelligence
3 Forms of superintelligence
4 The kinetics of an intelligence explosion
5 Decisive strategic advantage
6 Cognitive superpowers
7 The superintelligent will
8 Is the default outcome doom?
11 Multipolar scenarios
12 Acquiring values
13 Choosing the criteria for choosing
14 The strategic picture
15 Crunch time

9 The control problem
10 Oracles genies sovereigns tools

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About the author (2014)

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), and a forthcoming book on Superintelligence. 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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