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.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Ukip's official health spokesperson: 'Honestly, I have no experience in health whatsoever'
Deliberately urinating before sex can increase risk of urinary tract infections
Broadmoor financial scandal: The £4m of NHS funds wasted at high-security hospital
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Test Analyst/Systems Administ...
£40000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Global Real Estate Software P...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for a talented...
£17000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continuing growth, recru...