What might superintelligences value?

If there were superintelligent beings – creatures as far above the smartest human as that person is above a worm – what would they value? And what would they think of us? Would they treasure, tolerate, ignore, or eradicate us? These are perennial questions in Western thought, where the superior beings are Gods, angels, or perhaps extraterrestrials. The possibility of artificial intelligence gives these old questions a new life. What will our digital descendents think of us? Can we engineer human-friendly artificial life? Can we predict the motivations or values of superintelligence? And what can philosophers contribute to these questions? Philosophical debate about the relationship between beliefs and values is dominated by two eighteenth-century thinkers: David Hume and Immanuel Kant. Humeans draw a sharp divide between belief and desire. Beliefs…


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