14 Aug
Should We Give Robots Human Qualities? Should We Give Robots Human Qualities?

Should We Give Robots Human Qualities?

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The founding director of Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute seems to think so -- with a caveat.

In his book, Superintelligence, Nick Bostrum suggests that a robot equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) -- which mimics the workings of the human brain beyond carrying out tasks -- will, when effected, take the concept of superintelligence to a much higher level. And much more quickly than predicted.

Currently, says the Financial Times, about half of AI experts worldwide believe that true humanoid AI will become a reality by 2040. 9 out of 10 specialists believe that AI will be here by 2075. Bostrum doesn't dwell so much on the timing of AI as much as its impact, which be says could work out really well for humanity. Or really badly.

As he writes in his book, “Machines have a number of fundamental advantages, which will give them overwhelming superiority. Biological humans, even if enhanced, will be outclassed.”

How, exactly, might that happen?

For one thing, AI would probably possess amazing abilities to hack into other computing systems, allowing it to be in charge of various labs and machines. AI could also be much better at playing the game of life, which includes persuading humans to become collaborators in any grand AI takeover plan.

Such a scenario, Bostrum observes, could result in “A society of economic miracles and technological awesomeness, with nobody there to benefit. A Disneyland without children.”

Rather than dwell on that gloom and doom scenario, society should begin to start thinking now about how best to avoid such an outcome. Better to plan for giving AI positive human values, Bostrum says, than waiting to see which way things turn out.

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Read 3721 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:52
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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