Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) is a proposed research centre at the University of Cambridge, intended to study possible catastrophic threats posed by present or future technology. The co-founders of the project to establish the center are Huw Price (a philosophy professor at Cambridge), Martin Rees (cosmology and astrophysics professor and former President of the Royal Society) and Jaan Tallinn (a computer programmer and co-founder of Skype).

Among the risks to be studied by the proposed center are those that might arise from developments in artificial intelligence, a risk likened in some press coverage to that of a robot uprising à la ‘The Terminator.’ Speaking about this case, Professor Price said, ‘It seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape from the constraints of biology.’ He added that when this happens ‘we’re no longer the smartest things around,’ and will risk being at the mercy of ‘machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don’t include us.’

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