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Dr. Kaplan’s Blog #6: Be First and Benevolent

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Elon Musk has gone on record saying that AI is more dangerous than nuclear weapons. I agree. I think Elon actually understates the risk! GAI is much more dangerous than nukes, climate change, asteroids, pandemics, and any other existential threat one can think of. It is the only thing I know that has the real potential for completely wiping humanity out, and before most of us knew what hit us.

Along with others, Elon is calling for government regulation of Artificial Intelligence. Regulation might slow things down a bit, but unfortunately I don’t believe governments can stop AI.

AI is a genie unlike any other technological genie that humans have ever invented. Although most people look at AI as a tool, that’s not the right way to look at it. AI is an Intelligence. AI may start out looking like a tool, but it will rapidly evolve into something that has a general “God-like” intelligence, compared with the average human. I don’t believe humans can control a general God-like intelligence.

But the point is moot. There are too many forces seeking power for me to believe that governments and institutions will refrain from developing something so seductively powerful as AI. Even if the rationale is: “It’s winner-take-all, so we need to develop GAI before the other guy does” – that’s enough. That’s all it takes.

As far as I can see, humanity is left with only one viable option. The GAI that is developed first, MUST be benevolent towards humans. Luckily, since no one knows how to build the first GAI yet, we still have an opportunity to design one that is not only first, but benevolent, or safe, (from a human perspective).

Fortunately, I believe that the fastest path to GAI can also be one of the safest paths. I’ve come to this conclusion after thinking about the problem for decades. Episode 5 of the WorldThink series provides the high-level intuition for a safe and benevolent path forward. Stay tuned for more detail in future videos and blog posts.

Meanwhile, one of the most important things we can do is raise awareness of the situation we are in so more minds can start working on the problem. That’s why I reiterate my request to share a link with anyone you think might have interest.

Thank You! - Craig

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