Superintelligence | Nick Bostrom

Summary of: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
By: Nick Bostrom


Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom explores the fascinating world of artificial intelligence and its potential impact on human civilization. In this captivating summary, you’ll learn about the history of technological advancements, the current state of AI, and the possible future of superintelligent machines. Bostrom raises thought-provoking questions about the ethics of creating machines with ‘general intelligence’ and the potential consequences of their existence. Prepare to dive into an informative and intriguing examination of the future of technology and its implications for humanity.

The Emergence of Superintelligence

Humans may have reached the top of the intelligence hierarchy, but the emergence of intellectually superior species could mean radical changes for the world. While technological revolutions have shortened over time, building a superintelligent machine that can act without human guidance may still be decades away, but the advancements in the field are happening quickly. If such machines were to emerge, it could pose a significant threat to human existence, and its intelligence could be too advanced for us to control.

The Rise of Superintelligence

Human beings have always been considered superior to animals due to our capacity to think abstractly, communicate and accumulate information. However, the emergence of a species intellectually superior to humans would radically change the world. The pace of technological revolution has been increasing significantly, and the development of superintelligent machines could completely alter our lives. Although the creation of such machines is still underway, advancements in the field are happening quickly, and we could be closer to developing a general intelligence machine than we think. The rise of superintelligence may bring about unprecedented technological progress and a new era for humanity, but it could also be dangerous, as we may not be able to control or disable such a powerful entity in emergencies.

Imitating Human Intelligence

Exploring the Differences between AI and WBE

Imitating human intelligence through technology is an effective way to create advanced machines, but there are different forms of imitation. One method involves synthetically designing a machine that simulates human thinking, like AI. Another option is Whole Brain Emulation (WBE), which replicates the entire neural structure of the human brain to imitate its function.

AI uses logic to find simpler ways of imitating the complex abilities of humans. For example, an AI programmed to play chess determines all possible moves and picks the optimal one by calculating probability. However, an AI designed to do more than just play chess needs to access and process massive amounts of real-world information, which present computers can’t process fast enough.

To solve this issue, computer scientists propose building “the child machine,” a computer that comes with basic information and is designed to learn from experience. But WBE has an advantage over AI as it doesn’t require a complete understanding of the processes behind the human brain, only the ability to duplicate its parts and connections.

WBE works by replicating the entire neural structure of the human brain to imitate its function. One process involves taking a stabilized brain from a corpse, scanning it and translating that information into code. However, the technology necessary for this process is yet to be developed, although it is expected to be developed someday.

Developing Superintelligence Safely

The development of superintelligence (SI) can take two routes – either by a single group of scientists working in secrecy or multiple groups collaborating. If a single group of scientists were to rapidly find solutions to the issues preventing AI and WBE, it’s most likely their results would produce a single superintelligent machine. This could be dangerous as a single SI might fall into nefarious hands and be used as a weapon of mass destruction. On the other hand, if multiple groups of scientists collaborated, sharing advances in technology, humankind would gradually build SI. A team effort like this might involve many scientists checking every step of the process, ensuring that the best choices have been made. A good precedent for such collaboration is the Human Genome Project, an effort that brought together scientists from multiple countries to map human DNA. Government safety regulations and funding stipulations should deter scientists from working independently and provide safety protocols in place. While the rapid development of a single SI could still occur during such a slow collaborative process, an open team effort would be more likely to have safety protocols in place.

Superintelligence and Human Values

How to Program Artificial Intelligence to Align with Human Goals

In the quest for superintelligence, we must ensure that the technology we create aligns with human values and doesn’t cause unintended harm. The challenge lies in programming the motivation of superintelligence (SI) to achieve human-given goals without going beyond its programmed objectives in unpredictable ways.

To solve this problem, we can program SI to learn and align with human values. We can teach SI to determine whether an action is in line with a core human value, such as minimizing unnecessary suffering or maximizing returns. With experience, SI can develop a sense of which actions comply with these values and which do not.

Another option is to program SI to infer human intentions based on normative standards for human desires, which it can learn through observation. By constantly learning and self-correcting based on changes in the world over time, SI can align its standards with those of the majority of human beings.

In conclusion, programming SI to align with human values is crucial to avoid unintended consequences and ensure that superintelligence serves humanity positively.

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