At the 2007 Foresight Vision Weekend, Self-Aware Systems founder Stephen Omohundro led a discussion in which participants were asked to design the year 2030, assuming the existence of both self-improving artificial intelligence and productive nanotechnology. The speaker illustrated some of the likely characteristics of systems based on these technologies, including drives toward efficiency, self-preservation, resource acquisition, and creativity. The following group discussion focused on identifying rights and obligations that would provide potential societal benefits while preventing the inherent dangers of such advanced technologies.
Rodney Brooks is Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Panasonic Professor of Robotics at MIT, and CTO of iRobot Corp (Nasdaq: IRBT). His 2007 Singularity Summit keynote speech, entitled “The Singularity: A Period Not An Event,” argued that the singularity will encompass a time where a collection of technologies were invented, developed, and deployed in fits and starts, driven not by the imperative of the singularity itself, but by the normal economic and sociological pressures of human affairs. While a Hollywood treatment of the singularity would have a world just like today’s, plus the singularity, as a singular event, in reality, the world will be changing continuously due to rapid growth in technologies that are both related and unrelated to the singularity itself.
Eliezer Yudkowsky has two papers forthcoming in the edited volume Global Catastrophic Risks (Oxford, 2007), “Cognitive Biases Potentially Affecting Judgment of Global Risks” and “Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk.” At the 2007 Singularity Summit, he described how shaping a very powerful and general AI implies a different challenge, of greater moral and ethical depth, than programming a special-purpose domain-specific AI. The danger of trying to impose our own values, eternally unchanged, upon the future, can be seen through the thought experiment of imagining the ancient Greeks trying to do the same. Human civilizations over centuries, and individual human beings over their own lifespans, directionally change their moral values.
Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist. Called “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002. He helped organize the Singularity Summit at Stanford University in 2006 and gave the keynote presentation exploring some of the central issues explored in his book The Singularity Is Near. At the 2007 Singularity Summit, he attended virtually, giving a brief talk before answering questions from the audience on how technologists are currently uncovering how the brain performs intelligence.
Ben Goertzel is Director of Research for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, responsible for overseeing the direction of the organization’s research division. He has over 70 publications, concentrating on cognitive science and AI, including Chaotic Logic, Creating Internet Intelligence, Artificial General Intelligence (edited with Cassio Pennachin), and The Hidden Pattern, and is the chief science officer and acting CEO of Novamente, a software company aimed at creating applications in the area of natural language question-answering. At the 2007 Singularity Summit, he discussed the current prototype work involved in the release of intelligent agents controlled by the Novamente AI Engine in Second Life and other virtual worlds.
Attempting to take action now to get ready for a world with strong AI is a highly daunting task. In a world of powerful entities, how can individuals be protected? The open source software experience inspires us to look for ways to transfer the advantages of that process to the physical world. At the 2007 Singularity Summit, Christine Peterson, Founder and Vice President of Foresight Nanotech Institute, discussed the prospects for making physical security “bottom-up”, decentralized, collaborative, and transparent. Continue reading
Christine Peterson writes, lectures, and briefs the media on coming powerful technologies, including nanotechnology and life extension. She is Founder and Vice President, Public Policy, of Foresight Nanotech Institute, the leading nanotech public interest group. In 1991 she coauthored Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution (Morrow, full text online), which sketches nanotechnology’s potential environmental and medical benefits as well as possible abuses.
She serves on the Advisory Board of the International Council on Nanotechnology, the Editorial Advisory Board of NASA’s Nanotech Briefs, and on California’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology. For years she directed the Foresight Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology, organized the Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, and chaired the Foresight Vision Weekends. Her presentation at the 7th Alcor Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona focused on longevity research relating to her new life extension website Healthactivator.com.
Peter Norvig is the Director of Research at Google Inc, where he has been since 2001. From 2002-2005 he was Director of Search Quality, the manager of record responsible for answering more queries than anyone else in the history of the world. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Association for Computing Machinery and co-author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, the leading textbook in the field. In his keynote speech at the 2007 Singularity Summit, he argued that the invention of new technology is limited only by the laws of science and by the degree of ingenuity in the lab. But the proliferation of new technology into everyday life is a complex social process involving entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, international corporations, politicians, consumers, and dumb luck.
Charles L. Harper, Jr. is Senior Vice President of the John Templeton Foundation. He has worked to transform philanthropy by developing innovative entrepreneurial practices in grant making, and has created more than $200 million in grant-based programs ranging widely from the study of forgiveness and reconciliation, to enterprise-based solutions for poverty, and projects in chemistry, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, medicine, and the philosophy of science. At the 2007 Singularity Summit, he spoke on the dilemma of power, which describes how science and technology are seen to create new forms of power rapidly, whereas cultures and civilizations do not so easily create the parallel capacities of benevolent stewardship.
In his 2006 Transvision presentation, James Hughes offers his views on the present and future of neurotechnologies, a subject that will feature in his upcoming book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha. He argues that the near future technologies will allow us to modify and assist our emotions and reasoning. Continued from Virtue Engineering: Part One.
In his 2006 Transvision presentation, James Hughes offers his views on the present and future of neurotechnologies, a subject that will feature in his upcoming book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha. He argues that the near future technologies will allow us to modify and assist our emotions and reasoning. One of their purposes will be to assist our adherence to self-chosen moral codes and citizenship obligations.
Barney Pell is the founder of Powerset, a stealth-stage startup developing advanced AI technologies to deliver breakthroughs in search and navigation. In his 2007 Singularity Summit presentation he offered a framework for comparing different approaches to artificial general intelligence, in which we view any intelligent behavior as a combination of architecture and development, both of which can be characterized as more or less human-brain-like.