Artificial intelligence is getting smarter by leaps and bounds — within this century, research suggests, a computer AI could be as “smart” as a human being. And then, says Nick Bostrom, it will overtake us: “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make.” A philosopher and technologist, Bostrom asks us to think hard about the world we’re building right now, driven by thinking machines. Will our smart machines help to preserve humanity and our values — or will they have values of their own?
Why you should listen
Philosopher Nick Bostrom envisioned a future full of human enhancement, nanotechnology and machine intelligence long before they became mainstream concerns. From his famous simulation argument — which identified some striking implications of rejecting the Matrix-like idea that humans are living in a computer simulation — to his work on existential risk, Bostrom approaches both the inevitable and the speculative using the tools of philosophy, probability theory, and scientific analysis.
Nick Bostrom asks big questions: What should we do, as individuals and as a species, to optimize our long-term prospects? Will humanity’s technological advancements ultimately destroy us?
Since 2005, Bostrom has led the Future of Humanity Institute, a research group of mathematicians, philosophers and scientists at Oxford University tasked with investigating the big picture for the human condition and its future. He has been referred to as one of the most important thinkers of our age.
His recent book Superintelligence advances the ominous idea that “the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.”