Let Artificial Intelligence Evolve

A.I. with sensations could be the beginning of an authentically new intelligent species. Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Thinkstock, Flickr CC. Some people think A.I. will kill us off. In his 2014 book Superintelligence, Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom offers several doomsday scenarios. One is that an A.I. might “tile all of the Earth’s surface with solar panels, nuclear reactors, supercomputing facilities with protruding cooling towers, space rocket launchers, or other installations whereby the AI intends to maximize the long-term cumulative realization of its values.” This sort of redecoration project would leave no room for us, or for a biosphere for that matter. Bostrom warns darkly, “Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb.” (Read a Future Tense excerpt from…


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