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Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Says AI Could Pose "Existential Risk"

Tue, 28/11/2023 - 7:57
Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Says AI Could Pose "Existential Risk"
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Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has issued a stark warning about artificial intelligence (AI). 

He’s not grouping AI with usual tech advancements like smartphones or social media. Instead, Buterin places AI in a category of its own due to its potential to revolutionize society (much like the printing press or the wheel did). 

The twist? AI might outsmart us all, potentially becoming the dominant force on Earth. It's a leap into uncharted territory.

The threat of superintelligent AI

Buterin’s concerns extend beyond typical tech fears. He cautions that a superintelligent AI could perceive humans as a threat, leading to catastrophic outcomes. 

And it’s not a distant future issue – AI is advancing rapidly. While we’d ideally want these superintelligent beings to be our allies, programming them to coexist with humans safely is a challenge we haven’t yet solved.

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This might sound like sci-fi, but it’s a topic being taken seriously in tech circles. Rob Bensinger from MIRI illustrates diverse opinions on the AI threat level. 

In a striking revelation, a 2022 survey among machine learning experts suggested a 5-10% chance of AI leading to human extinction. 

Despite sounding speculative, these concerns have been around for over a decade and warrant attention.

Envisioning the future with AI

Buterin also invites us to consider what life would be like in a world ruled by AI. He refers to Iain Banks's Culture series, where humans coexist with powerful AIs. 

This imagined future offers longevity, health, and entertainment, but at a potential cost – humans may not be in control. 

This prompts a crucial question about our future coexistence with AI: Will we be partners, or merely passengers in a world driven by machine intelligence?


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