Positive Intelligent Technologies
Intelligent technologies are changing every aspect of our lives. If designed with care and forethought, they have the potential to solve many of today’s problems. But if designed sloppily, they could be dangerous and harmful to humanity.
I’m Steve Omohundro and my students, colleagues, and I have been analyzing and creating intelligent systems for decades. We invented a wide variety of machine learning and machine vision algorithms and built systems that learned to visually control robots, read lips, learn grammars, search for images, recognize and parse visual shapes, and perform many other fundamental tasks. About a decade ago I began to realize that advanced versions of this kind of system could be harmful if they didn’t properly incorporate human values. I developed an economic methodology for analyzing and developing these systems safely. The analysis fits into a broader program aimed at creating a unified understanding of biological and economic intelligence.
I’m excited that there is increasing interest in this work. I recently gave a TEDx talk in Estonia and a keynote talk in Oxford at the first conference on Impacts and Risks of Artificial General Intelligence. I’ve recently done interviews with the Boston Globe and USA Today. James Barrat’s excellent upcoming book is partly based on this work. This website links to talks and papers about these topics. For a quick introduction, watch the 18 minute TEDx video from May 2012:
For more detail, watch this December 2012 talk at Oxford University:
this July 2011 talk at Monash University:
or this October 2007 talk at Stanford University:
For more depth, read the papers:
Or read the key insights at these links:
- Autonomous systems are imminent.
- Autonomous systems will be approximately rational.
- Rational agents have universal drives.
- Today’s infrastructure is vulnerable.
- We can build safe systems using mathematical proof.
- Some simple systems would be very harmful.
- The Safe-AI Scaffolding Strategy is a positive way forward.
Send email to Steve Omohundro: