An educating, well written and genuinely frightening book
OUR FINAL INVENTION by James Barrat is the result of the
research by the author into artificial intelligence and
the very real dangers he perceives from our determined
efforts to create it. His primary point is the very simple
and you would hope obvious one is that these intelligences,
if they come about, will be completely alien to anything we
have experienced. They will not have had the millions of
years of evolution which has encouraged co-operation and
nurturing in our species, they will be blank slates on to
which we pour information and the results are simply not
predictable. His extensive interviews with leading
scientists in the field show a remarkable lack of agreement
on this, while many scientists such as Eliezer Yudkowsky
agree with him others, like Ray Kurzweil, are profoundly
optimistic about how AI will interact with us.
The point the pessimists make is that we do not know for
sure what AIs will do and that given they may end up many
times more intelligent than us we may only have one chance
to find out. On that basis it behoves us to make sure that
when they appear they are friendly and that the time to
ensure this is fast running out. As the author points out
with a quote from Yudkowsky, friendliness is essential,
indifference is not enough. "The AI does not hate you, nor
does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it
can use for something else". - Eliezer Yudkowsky, research
fellow, Machine Intelligence Research Institute.
Artificial Intelligence helps choose what books you buy,
what movies you see, and even who you date. It puts the
“smart” in your smartphone and soon it will drive your car.
It makes most of the trades on Wall Street, and controls
vital energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. But
Artificial Intelligence can also threaten our existence.
In as little as a decade, AI could match and then surpass
human intelligence. Corporations and government agencies are
pouring billions into achieving AI’s Holy Grail—human-level
intelligence. Once AI has attained it, scientists argue, it
will have survival drives much like our own. We may be
forced to compete with a rival more cunning, more powerful,
and more alien than we can imagine.
Through profiles of tech visionaries, industry watchdogs,
and groundbreaking AI systems, Our Final Invention explores
the perils of the heedless pursuit of advanced AI. Until
now, human intelligence has had no rival. Can we coexist
with beings whose intelligence dwarfs our own? And will they
allow us to?