How to stop runaway AI

How can humans retain power over more intelligent AI beings?
Dr. Stuart J. Russell is a Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley and has been studying the development of artificial intelligence for decades.

While he doesn’t think this latest crop of generative AI tools necessarily presents a significant threat to humanity, he does think it has helped to open the public’s eyes to the potential risks of more intelligent AI that could be coming in the future.

“They’re giving people now, in a very real sense, what would it be like if we had artificial general intelligence on tap available 24/7 to solve any problem that we might have. And they’re also seeing in a very visceral way that could present real risks,” Russell explained in a recent interview with Freethink.

As Russell argues in his book Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control, we need to be appropriately concerned about the future threat of human-level, artificial general intelligence (AGI) which could pose an existential threat to humanity unless we can ensure that these systems remain aligned with human values and goals.

He contends that the standard approach to designing AI systems — in which machines are programmed to maximize some objective function — is fundamentally flawed because these machines don’t actually understand the world around them in any comprehensive way, a flaw that, in his mind, could lead to unintended and catastrophic failures if it can’t sufficiently anticipate the consequences of its own actions. Instead, he proposes a new approach to AI design in which machines are explicitly programmed to defer to humans in matters of value and to operate within a framework of uncertain and incomplete knowledge. By ensuring that AI systems are “human-compatible” in this way, Russell argues that we can harness the enormous potential of AI while minimizing the risk of catastrophic outcomes.

AI-developed drug for deadly lung disease reaches phase 2 trials
AI-driven drug development has led to the launch of phase 2 trials of a drug to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
New AI-based theory explains your weird dreams
A new paper suggests that dreaming helps us generalize our experiences so that we can adapt to new circumstances.
NASA’s ChatGPT-like AI will let spaceships talk to astronauts
NASA is developing a ChatGPT-style interface for spacecraft, giving astronauts the ability to talk to the machines using natural language.
We are spectacularly bad at predicting the future
Forecasters say AI will either enslave or liberate us, but the history of prediction suggests we have little way of knowing who will be correct.
GPT AI will help teach the most popular course in the world
A Harvard professor is developing a GPT-based chatbot to help teach CS50, the most popular online course in the world.
Subscribe to Freethink for more great stories