Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life. The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.
But we have one advantage: We get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?
This profoundly ambitious and original book breaks down a vast track of difficult intellectual terrain. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Re: A very important and well-researched book.
Everyone who works in computer science (and fans of smart, contemporary science-fiction) should really read this book. Not because it IS science fiction but because it is very thoroughly-researched and well-written, and because it explains the realistic underpinnings for the first “Matrix,” for “Blade Runner,” iRobot, the first “Terminator,” and 100 other films where machines become sentient and rise up. This book very elegantly presents the scary-realistic underpinnings of your favorite dystopian future.
He's already struck out with me on some parts
Just a few chapters in but I’m finding concerns for the philisophical side of this. The author did a nice job of summarizing where AI has been and I like his sort of bounding on the set of possibilities for where it could lead. Strangely I'm hearing him explore old arguments for bad stuff as alternatives to letting machines rush themselves toward AI and get out of control. Someone should’ve told him genetic manipulation, eugenics, e.g. Brave New World, Childhoods End, and simlar sci-fi themes have made his biological side, catch up theories to silicon nonstarters for many like myself. Humans coming to grips with accelerating machine intelligence is just one of those dangers, like asteroids, disease and volcanoes, we’ll simply have to deal with and I expect it will take determination, bravery and perhaps even an axe attached to an AI machine, but picking up fascist themes of manipulation of humans to head off machine intelligence or somehow compete is not a new, worthwhile or viable approach to me. Good to throw these issues out but I'd rather merge with Silicon ala the Singularity than let human nature loose on tinkering with biological intelligence.
British reader makes audiobook difficult to enjoy
I have nothing at all against British people, but if the goal is to make the audiobook as understandable as possible, I don’t know why the publisher thought it would be a good idea to make Americans listen to a foreign accent for 14 hours. Very distracting. If publishers insist on using British readers for audiobooks intended for the US market, it should be clearly labeled so that I can choose whether to spend $21.95 on it.
This isn’t a review of the content of the book, which is great. It’s a criticism of the publisher’s decision to choose a British-accented reader.