Will machines kill mankind? Cambridge academics want to know
Academics highlight threat of super-intelligent technology
Academics at Cambridge University are pondering the risk to humanity from super-intelligent technology which could "threaten our own existence."
Huw Price, Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge, said: "In the case of artificial intelligence, it seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape from the constraints of biology."
Professor Price is planning to launch a research centre next year looking into the danger, teaming up with Cambridge professor of cosmology and astrophysics Martin Rees and Jann Tallinn, one of the founders of Skype.
He wants to bring more attention to a future in which mankind might be at the mercy of "machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don't include us."
The group won't be the first people to ponder such a future, which has featured in science fiction since the dawn of the computer age, perhaps most famously with HAL- the malevolent computer from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Oddyssey- and most recently in I, Robot, starring Will Smith.
Acknowledging that many people believe his concerns are far-fetched, Professor Price said: "It tends to be regarded as a flaky concern, but given that we don't know how serious the risks are, that we don't know the time scale, dismissing the concerns is dangerous."
He said that advanced technology could be a threat when computers start to direct resources towards their own goals, at the expense of human concerns like environmental sustainability.
He compared the risk to the way humans have threatened the survival of other animals by spreading across the planet and using up natural resources that other animals depend upon.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Virus to kill 67,000 in Monrovia by December, claims academic study
Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
Ebola: NYC doctor Craig Spencer tests positive for disease after returning from west Africa
Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
What do the text messages between you and your partner reveal about your relationship?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.N...
£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Support Analyst ...
£45000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Datacentre Consultant (Datacentre,...