"Inhuman intelligence?" (NurPhoto)

The Aliens Have Landed, and We Created Them

April 9, 2023


It is not every day that I read a prediction of doom as arresting as Eliezer Yudkowsky’s in Time magazine last week. “The most likely result of building a superhumanly smart AI, under anything remotely like the current circumstances,” he wrote, “is that literally everyone on Earth will die. Not as in ‘maybe possibly some remote chance,’ but as in ‘that is the obvious thing that would happen.’ … If somebody builds a too-powerful AI, under present conditions, I expect that every single member of the human species and all biological life on Earth dies shortly thereafter.”

Do I have your attention now?

• • •

How might AI off us? Not by producing Schwarzenegger-like killer androids, but merely by using its power to mimic us in order to drive us individually insane and collectively into civil war.

Niall Ferguson is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. The Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the founder of Greenmantle, an advisory firm, he is author, most recently, of “Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe.”

Originally published in Bloomberg.

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