A recent Edge.org conversation — “The Myth of AI” — is framed in part as a discussion of points raised in Bostrom’s Superintelligence, and as a response to much-repeated comments by Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking that seem to have been heavily informed by Superintelligence.
Unfortunately, some of the participants fall prey to common misconceptions about the standard case for AI as an existential risk, and they probably haven’t had time to read Superintelligence yet.
Of course, some of the participants may be responding to arguments they’ve heard from others, even if they’re not part of the arguments typically made by FHI and MIRI. Still, for simplicity I’ll reply from the perspective of the typical arguments made by FHI and MIRI.
1. We don’t think AI progress is “exponential,” nor that human-level AI is likely ~20 years away.
Lee Smolin writes:
I am puzzled by the arguments put forward by those who say we should worry about a coming AI, singularity, because all they seem to offer is a prediction based on Moore’s law.
That’s not the argument made by FHI, MIRI, or Superintelligence.
Some IT hardware and software domains have shown exponential progress, and some have not. Likewise, some AI subdomains have shown rapid progress of late, and some have not. And unlike computer chess, most AI subdomains don’t lend themselves to easy measures of progress, so for most AI subdomains we don’t even have meaningful subdomain-wide performance data through which one might draw an exponential curve (or some other curve).
Thus, our confidence intervals for the arrival of human-equivalent AI tend to be very wide, and the arguments we make for our AI timelines are fox-ish (in Tetlock’s sense). Read more »