In this seminar, Yorick Wilks, Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition will discuss and critique the concept of ‘super-intelligence’ (SI), based in part on Prof. Nick Bostrom’s recent book on this topic. Super-Intelligence (2016) is a wide-ranging essay that has raised important questions about the future of intelligent machines and the possible malign developments they may undergo. But, and perhaps surprisingly, Prof. Wilks will argue that it is not primarily about technical developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) nor a philosophical analysis of the concept of SI, suggesting instead that it is largely an extended and stimulating essay on economics, decision theory and other forms of social science, all held together by a supposed hypothesis of “super-intelligence” that arguably draws more heavily on science fiction than AI. AI may well in some future produce undesirable social effects—- the Internet itself could already be such a development—but Wilks will argue that there is as yet no reason to think they could be on the massive and end-of-civilization scale that this book predicts confidently predicts. The talk discusses Bostrom’s arguments and those of others who have taken up philosophical and political positions on SI.
About the speakers
Yorick Wilks is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sheffield. He received his MA and PhD (1968) from Pembroke College, Cambridge. He has also taught or researched at Stanford, Edinburgh, Geneva, Essex and New Mexico State Universities. His interests are artificial intelligence and the computer processing of language, knowledge and belief, especially as applied to the future of the Internet: the Semantic Web and the possibility of Companion-like interfaces.