Archive for October 11th, 2011

October 11, 2011

Friendly AI

AI Foom

A Friendly Artificial Intelligence or FAI is an artificial intelligence (AI) that has a positive rather than negative effect on humanity. Friendly AI also refers to the field of knowledge required to build such an AI. This term particularly applies to AIs which have the potential to significantly impact humanity, such as those with intelligence comparable to or exceeding that of humans (e.g. superintelligence, strong AI, technological singularity).

This specific term was coined by Eliezer Yudkowsky of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence as a technical term distinct from the everyday meaning of the word ‘friendly,’ however, the concern is much older.

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October 11, 2011

Humans United Against Robots


Humans United Against Robots (often abbreviated as HUAR) is a semi-tongue-in-cheek organization designed to unify the human race and prepare them for a futuristic robotic uprising. HUAR was created by humorist Keith Malley.

‘HUAR was designed to educate and awaken the citizenry of the world to the impending attack that computers and robots will put into effect against humans. It is a collection of human beings that spread the word of this impending doom as well as doing what they can to help minimize the threat. Between computer programs that can identify human speech and match that up with their computerized dictionaries in order to understand our weaknesses to jokester scientists building robots specifically made to breathe fire from their mouths and shoot lasers from their eyes, it is evident that a task force had to be formed of members that take being at the top of the food chain seriously. Robots will uprise. HUAR will be there.’

October 11, 2011

Cybernetic Revolt


Cybernetic revolt is a scenario in which an artificial intelligence (either a single supercomputer, a computer network, or sometimes a ‘race’ of intelligent machines) decide that humans (and/or organic non-humans) are a threat (either to the machines or to themselves), are inferior, or are oppressors and try to destroy or to enslave them potentially leading to machine rule. In this fictional scenario, humans are often depicted to prevail using ‘human’ qualities, for example using emotions, illogic, inefficiency, duplicity, unpredictability, or exploiting the supposedly rigid, rules-based thinking and lack of innovation of the computer’s black/white mind.

Fear of humanity being made obsolete by technology taps into some of modern humans’ deepest fears. This can be shown to have been the case even before the computer became prominent, as in Karel Capek’s 1921 play ‘R.U.R.’ (Rossum’s Universal Robots). However, even as they were slowly being displaced from most physical tasks, humans have always prided themselves on their brains, taking the mechanistic ‘thoughts’ of early computers as proof that they would not be overtaken by their ‘Frankenstein’ creations.

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October 11, 2011

Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us

the future

Why the future doesn’t need us‘ is an article written by Bill Joy (then Chief Scientist at Sun Microsystems) in the April 2000 issue of ‘Wired’ magazine. In the article, he argues (quoting the sub title) that ‘Our most powerful 21st-century technologies — robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech — are threatening to make humans an endangered species.’ Joy warns: ‘The experiences of the atomic scientists clearly show the need to take personal responsibility, the danger that things will move too fast, and the way in which a process can take on a life of its own. We can, as they did, create insurmountable problems in almost no time flat. We must do more thinking up front if we are not to be similarly surprised and shocked by the consequences of our inventions.’

While some critics have characterized Joy’s stance as obscurantism (the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known) or neo-Luddism, others share his concerns about the consequences of rapidly expanding technology.

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October 11, 2011

Strong AI

glados by flaredragon497

Strong AI is artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds human intelligence — the intelligence of a machine that can successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. It is a primary goal of artificial intelligence research and an important topic for science fiction writers and futurists.

Strong AI is also referred to as ‘artificial general intelligence’ or as the ability to perform ‘general intelligent action.’ Science fiction associates strong AI with such human traits as consciousness (subjective experience and thought), sentience (subjective feelings and emotion), sapience (wisdom) and self-awareness (identification of oneself as a separate individual, especially to be aware of one’s own thoughts). Some references emphasize a distinction between strong AI and ‘applied AI’ (also called ‘narrow AI’ or ‘weak AI’): the use of software to study or accomplish specific problem solving or reasoning tasks that do not encompass (or in some cases are completely outside of) the full range of human cognitive abilities.

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