Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence.
Publisher: Oxford :, Oxford University Press,, 2014
Edition: First edition
Description: xvi, 328 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9780199678112
Branch Call Number: 006.301 Bos
Additional Contributors: Bostrom, Nick 1973-


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 12, 2017

This is a fascinating analysis of a philosophically imaginative topic... and one which isn't utterly ludicrous (that is, imagined in order to help tease apart concepts (the good sort of philosophical imagination) and create counter-examples and counter-arguments (hmm... maybe they're fake barns...)). Lots of notes, many of which I would have preferred to be bottom-of-page notes because they are explanatory or make some other somewhat relevant comment, but is not a mere reference to others' work. The use of charts and discussion boxes helps too. I dare say, every far-seeing decision maker ought to read this and think about it.

Nov 20, 2016

Not an easy read but the potential existential crisis the book describes could well ensue in the next 50 years. Whether possible or not, in the sociopolitical environment we have created, the competition to create such an intelligence (if at all possible) will be great. One only has to look at the field of quantum computing, where despite the technical problems great effort is being expended.

nesspa43 Dec 02, 2014

Russ Roberts of the EconTalk podcast interviews Nick Bostrom, the author.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top