Nick Bostrom - Philosopher, Author of Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

06 Sep 2022 • 42 min • EN
42 min
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Nick Bostrom is a Swedish-born philosopher with a background in theoretical physics, computational neuroscience, logic, and artificial intelligence, as well as philosophy. He is the most-cited professional philosopher in the world under the age of 50. He is a Professor at Oxford University, where he heads the Future of Humanity Institute as its founding director. He is the author of some 200 publications, including Anthropic Bias, Global Catastrophic Risks, Human Enhancement, and Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, a New York Times bestseller which helped spark a global conversation about the future of AI. He has also published a series of influential papers, including ones that introduced the simulation argument and the concept of existential risk. Bostrom’s academic work has been translated into more than 30 languages. He is a repeat main TED speaker and has been on Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list twice and was included in Prospect’s World Thinkers list, the youngest person in the top 15. As a graduate student he dabbled in stand-up comedy on the London circuit, but he has since reconnected with the heavy gloom of his Swedish roots. "I do think though that there is a real possibility that within the lifetime of many people who are here today, we will see the arrival of transformative AI, machine intelligence systems that not only can automate specific tasks but can replicate the full generality of human thinking. So that everything that we humans can do with our brains,  machines will be able to do, and in fact do faster and more efficiently. What the consequences of that are, is very much an open question and, I think, depends in part on the extent to which we manage to get our act together before these developments. In terms of, on the one hand, working out our technical issues in AI alignment, figuring out exactly the methods by which you could ensure that such very powerful cognitive engines will be aligned to our values, will actually do what we intend for them to do, as opposed to something else. And then, of course, also the political challenges of ensuring that such a powerful technology will be used for positive ends. So depending on how well we perform among those two challenges, the outcome, I think, could be extremely good or extremely bad. And I think all of those possibilities are still in the cards."

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