Humanity’s capacity to believe fiction is our super-power

This may seem a bit off-topic, but bear with me. Yuval Harari's book "Sapiens" is brilliant.  I wish I'd written it.  It's stuffed full of great insights, large and small, and the writing style is crisp, clear and often witty.  You can sample his thinking in this TED talk: [embed]http://www.ted.com/talks/yuval_noah_harari_what_explains_the_rise_of_humans?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2015-07-25&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_content=top_left_image#t-875718[/embed] One of Harari's most important insights is that the reason why humans rule the world, and why the fate of every other species depends on us, is our ability to believe things that aren't true.  Our ability to believe that money is valuable, and that nations and gods exist is what enables us...

Endorsements for "Surviving AI"

"Surviving AI", a non-fiction review of the promise and peril of artificial intelligence, will be published later this summer.  Designer Rachel Lawston has produced a terrific cover (biased? me?), and I'm very grateful to all the illustrious (and busy) people below who gave their time to review it:  A sober and easy-to-read review of the risks and opportunities that humanity will face from AI. Jaan Tallinn, co-founder Skype; co-founder CSER and FLI Understanding AI – its promise and its dangers – is emerging as one of the great challenges of coming decades and this is an invaluable guide to anyone...

Artificial intelligence and ethics

I recently debated some of the ethical considerations raised by the rapid development of artificial intelligence with Ben Medlock of Swiftkey.  Sally Davies of the FT was the ringmaster, and the event was hosted by Playfair Capital.  The video is now available: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvEpATeR5gA&index=1&list=PLDwFvHbYRUw2mcns9GXuGjJhkFD4JEyaQ[/embed]

Professor Margaret Boden’s talk at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risks

Professor Boden has been in the AI business long enough to have worked with John McCarthy and some of the other founders of the science of artificial intelligence. During her animated and compelling talk to a highly engaged audience at CSER in Cambridge last month, the sparkle in her eye betrayed the fun she still gets from it. The main thrust of her talk was that those who believe that an artificial general intelligence (AGI) may be created within the next century are going to be disappointed. She was at pains to emphasise that the project is feasible in principle, but she...