If the real life Tony Stark and technology golden boy, Elon Musk, is worried that AI is an existential threat to humanity, are we doomed? Can mere mortals do anything about this when the issue is cloaked in dozens of buzzwords and the primary voices on the subject are evangelists with 180 IQs from Singularity University? Fortunately, you can get smart and challenge them without a degree in AI from MIT.
There are good books on the subject. I like James Barrat’s “Our Final Invention” and while alarmist, it is thorough and provides a guide to a number of resources from both sides of the argument. One of those was the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) founded by Eliezer Yudkowsky. This book was recommended on the MIRI website and is a good primer on the subject.
“Smarter Than Us – The Rise of Machine Intelligence” by Stuart Armstrong can also be downloaded at iTunes.
“It will sharpen your focus to see AI from a different view. The book does not provide a manual for Friendly AI, but its shows the problems and it points to the 3 critical things needed. We are evaluating the best way for ai-one to participate in the years ahead.” Walt Diggelmann, CEO ai-one.
In Chapter 11 Armstrong recommends we take an active role in the future development and deployment of AI, AGI and ASI. The developments are coming; the challenge is to make sure AI plays a positive role for everyone. A short summary:
“That’s Where You Come In . . .
There are three things needed—three little things that will make an AI future bright and full of meaning and joy, rather than dark, dismal, and empty. They are research, funds, and awareness.
Research is the most obvious.
A tremendous amount of good research has been accomplished by a very small number of people over the course of the last few years—but so much more remains to be done. And every step we take toward safe AI highlights just how long the road will be and how much more we need to know, to analyze, to test, and to implement.
Moreover, it’s a race. Plans for safe AI must be developed before the first dangerous AI is created.
The software industry is worth many billions of dollars, and much effort (and government/defense money) is being devoted to new AI technologies. Plans to slow down this rate of development seem unrealistic. So we have to race toward the distant destination of safe AI and get there fast, outrunning the progress of the computer industry.
Funds are the magical ingredient that will make all of this needed research.
In applied philosophy, ethics, AI itself, and implementing all these results—a reality. Consider donating to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), or the Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER). These organizations are focused on the right research problems. Additional researchers are ready for hire. Projects are sitting on the drawing board. All they lack is the necessary funding. How long can we afford to postpone these research efforts before time runs out? “
About Stuart: “After a misspent youth doing mathematical and medical research, Stuart Armstrong was blown away by the idea that people would actually pay him to work on the most important problems facing humanity. He hasn’t looked back since, and has been focusing mainly on existential risk, anthropic probability, AI, decision theory, moral uncertainty, and long-term space exploration. He also walks the dog a lot, and was recently involved in the coproduction of the strange intelligent agent that is a human baby.”
Since ai-one is a part of this industry and one of the many companies moving the field forward, there will be many more posts on the different issues confronting AI. We will try to keep you updated and hope you’ll join the conversation on Google+, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. AI is already pervasive and developments toward AGI can be a force for tremendous good. Do we think you should worry? Yes, we think it’s better to lose some sleep now so we don’t lose more than that later.