Recursive Self-Improvement and AI – Not a New Idea

“Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.”

— I.J. Good, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”, 1965

“Once we have devised programs with a genuine capacity for self-improvement a rapid evolutionary process will begin. As the machine improves both itself and its model of itself, we shall begin to see all the phenomena associated with the terms “consciousness,” “intuition” and “intelligence” itself. It is hard to say how close we are to this threshold, but once it is crossed the world will not be the same.”

— Marvin Minsky, “Artificial Intelligence”, Scientific American, Vol. 215, No. 3 (September 1966), p. 257

“In a sense, artificial intelligence will be the ultimate tool because it will help us build all possible tools. Advanced AI systems could maneuver people out of existence, or they could help us build a new and better world. Aggressors could use them for conquest, or foresighted defenders could use them to stabilize peace. They could even help us control AI itself. The hand that rocks the AI cradle may well rule the world.”

— Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation, 1986

Comments

  1. johan edström

    “Let an ultraintelligent machine [be defined as a machine] [be defined as a machine] that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever.

    I think part of your sentence just recursively self-replicated, sadly without also self-improving ;)

  2. I believe Minsky was Drexler’s thesis advisor

  3. MCP2012

    You’re correct, Brian; Minsky was indeed. I forget who the rest of the doctoral thesis committee were.

  4. Nothing much new in this Vinge started movement. Rather some old ideas, except much more popularization than before.

  5. Jim F.

    > “. . . It is hard to say how close we are to this threshold,
    > but once it is crossed the world will not be the same.”
    >
    > — Marvin Minsky, “Artificial Intelligence”, Scientific American,
    > Vol. 215, No. 3 (September 1966), p. 257

    As quoted in
    Hubert L. Dreyfus’ _What Computers **Still** Can’t Do_
    (Part I “Ten Years of Research in Artificial Intelligence (1957 – 1967)”,
    Chapter 2, “Phase II (1962 – 1967) Semantic Information Processing”,
    pp. 135 – 136).

    ;->

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