Filmed at Shoreditch Town Hall on 11th June 2015
Featuring: Nick Bostrom, Daniel Glaser, Murray Shanahan, Riva-Melissa Tez, Adam Rutherford (chair).
Some of the smartest minds have sounded the alarm recently about artificial intelligence. Physicist Stephen Hawking has said that it could spell the end of the human race. Tech pioneer Elon Musk has warned that with AI ‘we are summoning the demon’. Given that the world is already full of the smart precursors of artificial intelligence – Siri, Google Translate, driverless cars etc, why the warning bells? Because many experts believe that it is only a matter of decades before we create a form of AI that is more than just a useful tool and becomes an autonomous, self-aware entity which could take off on its own, self-replicating and redesigning itself and ultimately wiping out the human race.
Not everyone is so pessimistic, however. Many experts believe that superintelligent machines, far from being a threat, will be our allies. There will be major breakthroughs in science and health, where specialists working alongside computers do better than either a human or a machine on their own. Others, most notably Google futurist Ray Kurzweil, are looking forward to a time when superintelligence will greatly enhance human capacities by means of computer implants that improve the brain and the body. Ultimately we could merge with our superhuman creations, defying ageing and death.