The November issue of Wired – guest edited by President Obama, no less – contains the responses of thought leaders to six challenges issued by Obama. One of those was “Ensure that artificial intelligence helps us rather than hurts us,” and the response came from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg:

Whoever cares about saving lives should be optimistic about the difference that AI can make. If we slow down progress in defer­ence to unfounded concerns, we stand in the way of real gains.

As I say in Crisis of Control, I’m not for limiting development of artificial intelligence. That would be a first-order thinking response to its existential threat. It would be futile. But it would also be counterproductive. AI is essential to the survival of the human race. It also happens to be the possible end of the human race. To an aficionado of story, it seems like we’re in someone’s idea of a suspense thriller. You couldn’t write something more gripping if you tried. Unfortunately, the stakes are humanity.

Posted by Peter Scott

Peter Scott’s résumé reads like a Monty Python punchline: half business coach, half information technology specialist, half teacher, three-quarters daddy. After receiving a master’s degree in Computer Science from Cambridge University, he has worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an employee and contractor for over thirty years, helping advance our exploration of the Solar System. Over the years, he branched out into writing technical books and training. Yet at the same time, he developed a parallel career in “soft” fields of human development, getting certifications in NeuroLinguistic Programming from founder John Grinder and in coaching from the International Coaching Federation. In 2007 he co-created a convention honoring the centennial of the birth of author Robert Heinlein, attended by over 700 science fiction fans and aerospace experts, a unique fusion of the visionary with the concrete. Bridging these disparate worlds positions him to envisage a delicate solution to the existential crises facing humanity. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two daughters, writing the Human Cusp blog on dealing with exponential change.

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