Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Explosion of Intelligence

Here's a video of a speech delivered at The Singularity Summit by Eliezer Yudkowsky, a research fellow at The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. (Click here for more on the singularity.)

The speech is on The Human Importance of the Intelligence Explosion, and addresses the impact of the rapidly accelerating progress of AI as it approaches and eventually exceeds the capacity of human intelligence.

Mr. Yudkowsky has been working on the development of "friendly AI," a worthy subject of study, it seems to me. He discusses AI that has access to its own source code, enabling it to generate successively improved versions of itself.

He first discusses the concept of intelligence and what people understand it to be. Rather than seeing the spectrum of intelligence as going from low IQ to high IQ among humans, he suggests that we see it instead as a much broader range, from the lowest lifeforms to humans, in which the range of human intelligence is actually quite small.

He goes on to posit that intelligence is the most powerful force in the universe, shaping and manipulating its environment to suit its needs. It is also one of the last remaining mysteries in science.

A bit from the speech...

"In everyday life, we underrate the importance of intelligence because our social environment consists of only other humans, who as a species are far more intelligent than mice or lizards. The rise of human general intelligence enormously transformed the world. Yet we may have only begun to see the effects of intelligence. In 1965, the Bayesian statistician I. J. Good published a paper titled "Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine", in which he suggested that a sufficiently intelligent AI could redesign itself to make itself smarter, and then, being smarter, re-reinvent itself and become smarter still - a positive feedback cycle. Good labeled this the "intelligence explosion". An intelligence explosion could reshape the universe more than all human actions up to this point. It is the responsibility of this generation to shape the intelligence explosion."

Watch the video to hear more!

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