Oxford philosopher and author Nick Bostrom (left) and DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis (right). Machines will quickly become significantly smarter than humans when they achieve human level intelligence, according to a high-profile panel of artificial intelligence (AI) leaders. A YouTube video released by the Future of Humanity Institute this week shows Elon Musk, the billionaire cofounder of Tesla, SpaceX and PayPal, talking on a panel earlier this month alongside the likes of DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, who sold his company to Google for £400 million in 2014, and Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom. "Once we get to human level-AI, how long before we get to where things start taking off?" asked MIT professor and panel moderator Max Tegmark, citing an "intelligence explosion." Tegmark added: "Some people say days or hours.
Like a film critic asked if the Oscars got it right this year, one has to feel a sense of standing too close to the frame, the field of vision too narrow to provide the context necessary for proper judgment. After spending an afternoon among the various installations that comprise "Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age: 1959–1989," I wonder if this anxiety applied to the team tasked with creating this exhibit. In this case, I think not. Here, closeness to the frame is a virtue, not a vice.
"If you've created a conscious machine," says Caleb to Nathan toward the beginning of Ex Machina, when Caleb discovers Nathan is on the verge of creating an artificial intelligence indistinguishable from human intelligence, "it's not the history of man. Ex Machina, written and directed by Alex Garland, is an intriguing film about the wonders and dangers of artificial intelligence (AI). Garland's tale is stylishly told, beautifully photographed, and aided by a clever script that subverts standard cinematic clichés. It is also suffused with religious themes and theological motifs--unsurprisingly, because ever since Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the prospect of human beings creating human-like beings of their own has almost invariably raised the issue of "playing God." In Ex Machina, Caleb is a computer coder brought to Nathan's secret research facility to apply the Turing Test to Nathan's AI--that is, to test whether a human interacting with the robot would be able to tell that the AI is non-human.
Bryan Johnson is the founder and chief executive officer of the neuroprosthesis developer Kernel and the founder of OS Fund and Braintree. Through the past few decades of summer blockbuster movies and Silicon Valley products, artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly familiar and sexy, and imbued with a perversely dystopian allure. What's talked about less, and has also been dwarfed in attention and resources, is human intelligence (HI). In its varied forms -- from the mysterious brains of octopuses and the swarm-minds of ants to Go-playing deep learning machines and driverless-car autopilots -- intelligence is the most powerful and precious resource in existence. Our own minds are the most familiar examples of a phenomenon characterized by a great deal of diversity.