In a new book released today, Professor Nick Bostrom considers the future of humanity should a 'superintelligence' - where machine brains surpass general human intelligence - materialise.
Published by Oxford University Press, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, argues that, as the fate of many animal species now depends more on humans than on the animals themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.
But, he says, we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could humanity achieve a controlled detonation? Professor Bostrom's book is a journey through a wide range of topics and considerations, from whole brain emulation and technology couplings to Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; and from artificial intelligence to biological cognitive enhancement and collective intelligence.
"In this book, I try to understand the challenge presented by the prospect of superintelligence, and how we might best respond," says Professor Bostrom. "This is quite possibly the most important and most daunting challenge humanity has ever faced, and – whether we succeed or fail – it is probably the last challenge we will ever face."