Does Artificial General Intelligence Explain Fermi’s Paradox? A “Human Compatible” Book Review

“He who controls the algorithms controls the universe.”

Like many tech entrepreneurs, I am a definite optimist. Despite the many challenges we face, I believe that, as a species, we have the resilience and ingenuity to build a better future, overcoming obstacles from climate change to an aging population.

In a similar vein, it has become clear that artificial intelligence will be one of the defining technologies of the twenty-first century. The question is when rather than if machines will be smarter than humans. There’s general consensus that we’re talking decades, not centuries. This is something that many people alive today will probably see.

In spite of this, I have given the question of AI safety and a potential apocalypse the same relative importance in my mind as seat belts likely had in the 1800s. One that seems like a good idea to explore, but an order of magnitude less important than figuring out how to consistently drive at speeds greater than 10mph.

The book that changed all of that was Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control by Stuart J. Russell. Human Compatible, courtesy of Quit Genius’ book club, has become one of my favorites of the year. 

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