Monday, March 25, 2019

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, StrategiesSuperintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm very pleased to have read this book. It states, concisely, the general field of AI research's BIG ISSUES. The paths to making AIs are only a part of the book and not a particularly important one at this point.

More interestingly, it states that we need to be more focused on the dangers of superintelligence. Fair enough! If I was an ant separated from my colony coming into contact with an adult human being, or a sadistic (if curious) child, I might start running for the hills before that magnifying glass focuses the sunlight.

And so we move on to strategies, and this is where the book does its most admirable job. All the current thoughts in the field are represented, pretty much, but only in broad outlines. A lot of this has been fully explored in SF literature, too, and not just from the Asimov Laws of Robotics.

We've had isolation techniques, oracle techniques, and even straight tool-use techniques crop up in robot and AI literature. Give robots a single-task job and they'll find a way to turn it into a monkey's paw scenario.

And this just begs the question, doesn't it?

When we get right down to it, this book may be very concise and give us a great overview, but I do believe I'll remain an uberfan of Eliezer Yudkowsky over Nick Bostrom. After having just read Rationality: From AI to Zombies, almost all of these topics are not only brought up, but they're explored in grander fashion and detail.

What do you want? A concise summary? Or a gloriously delicious multi-prong attack on the whole subject that admits its own faults the way that HUMANITY should admit its own faults?

Give me Eli's humor, his brilliance, and his deeply devoted stand on working out a real solution to the "Nice" AI problem. :)

I'm not saying Superintelligence isn't good, because it most certainly is, but it is still the map, not the land. :)
(Or to be slightly fairer, neither is the land, but one has a little better definition on the topography.)

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