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Posts tagged ‘ethics’

How Best to Prepare for Superintelligent AI?

Artificial Superintelligence

What happens when Artificial Intelligences gets loose in the world? 

Every parent wonders how their kids will turn out when they grow up and become independent in the world, and speaking from personal experience, it’s such a relief to see one’s children mature into wise, compassionate, genuinely good people.

Similar concerns are now on many peoples’ minds as we rush forward into the Quantum Age, getting closer and closer to creating a kind of intelligence far beyond anything we’ve yet seen on Earth before. Many are awaiting something known as the technological singularity, at which point artificial intelligence will have reached, “a predicted point in the development of a civilization at which technological progress accelerates beyond the ability of present-day humans to fully comprehend or predict.” Just what might happen when we reach such a point of technological breakthrough? What will such intelligence be capable of, and who will be in charge of ensuring its safe use?

Since I’ve been fascinated in this subject for years, I attended Douglas Hofstadter’s Symposium, “Will Spiritual Robots Replace Humanity by 2100?” at Stanford University in April 2000. Douglas Hofstadter and his eight guests (Bill Joy, Ralph Merkle, Hans Moravec, Ray Kurzweil, John Holland, Kevin Kelly, Frank Drake, and John Koza) talked for five hours about their vision of humanity’s future… as each panelist looked through a telescope with the lenses of his own particular area of expertise into the future. Many speakers cited Moore’s Law of the ever-increasing pace of technological changes to make the point that technology is changing faster than ever before, and that rate of change is expected to increase at an exponential rate–so it is difficult to predict where we will be in one hundred years from now. Douglas explained that he only invited guests who agreed that there is a possibility for robots to be spiritual. Douglas wanted to focus on the question of “Who will be we in 2093?”, since a visualization of who we will be is at the core of how we can understand how we might be utilizing new technologies. I wondered just how possible it was that robots might be thinking and acting on their own behalf by 2100–and I wondered that if this was so, might they be replacing us–with or without our consent and cooperation?

Over the past fifteen years, there has been increasing interest–and concern–about artificial superintelligence. Roman Yampolskiy summarizes the Singularity Paradox (SP) as “superintelligent machines are feared to be too dumb to possess common sense.” Put in even more simple terms, there is a growing concern about dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) amongst some of the world’s best-educated and most well-respected scientific leaders, such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates. The hazards of AI containment are discussed in some detail in Artificial Superintelligence, yet in language easily understandable to the layman.

In his new book, Artificial Superintelligence, Yampolskiy argues for addressing AI potential dangers with a safety engineering approach, rather than with loosely defined ethics, since human values are inconsistent and dynamic. Yampolskiy points out that “fully autonomous machnines cannot ever be assumed to be safe,” and going so far as to add, “… and so should not be constructed.”

Yampolskiy acknowledges the concern of AI escaping confines, and takes the reader on a tour of AI taxonomies with a general overview of the field of Intelligence, showing a Venn type diagram (p 30) in which ‘human minds’ and ‘human designed AI’ occupy adjacent real estate on this nonlinear terrain of ‘minds in general’ in multidimensional super space. ‘Self-improving minds’ are envisioned which improve upon ‘human designed AI,’ and at this very juncture arises the potential for ‘universal intelligence,’ and the Singularity Paradox (SP) problem.

AI-danger-signYampolskiy proposes initiation of an AI hazard symbol, which could prove useful for constraining AI to designated containment areas, in J.A.I.L. or ‘Just for A.I. Location.’ Part of Yampolskiy’s proposed solution to the AI Confinement Problem includes asking ‘safe questions’ (p 137). Yampolskiy includes other solutions proposed by Drexler (confine transhuman machines), Bostrom (utilize AI only for answering questions in Oracle mode), Chalmers (confine AI to ‘leakproof’ virtual worlds), and argues for creation of committees designated to oversea AI security.

Emphasizing the scale and scope of what needs to be accomplished in order to help ensure safety of AI are points such as Yudkowskiy having “performed AI-box ‘experiments’ in which he demonstrated that even human-level intelligence is sufficient to escape from an AI-box,” and even Chalmers “correctly observes that a truly leakproof system in which NO information is allowed to leak out from the simulated world into our environment is impossible, or at least pointless.”

Since one of the fundamental tenets in information security is that it is impossible to ever prove any system is 100% secure, it’s easy to see why there is such strong and growing concern regarding the safety to mankind of AI. And if there is no way to safely confine AI, then like any parents, humanity will certainly find itself hoping that we’ll have done such an excellent job raising AI to maturity, that it will comport itself kindly toward its elders. Yampolskiy points out, “In general, ethics for superintelligent machines is one of the most fruitful areas of research in the field of singularity research, with numerous publications appearing every year.”

One look at footage of a Philip Dick AI robot saying,

“I’ll keep you warm and safe in my people zoo,”

as shown in the 2011 Nova Science documentary What’s the Next Big Thing can be enough to jolt us out of complacency. For those hoping that teaching AI to simply follow the rules will be enough, Yampolskiy replies that law-abiding AI is not enough. AI could still keep humans safe ‘for their own good,’ increasingly limiting human free choice in a sped-up kind of way, that superintelligent AI will be able to do.

The Universe of MindsFor readers intrigued in what safe variety of AI might be possible, the section of Artificial Superintelligence early in the book will be of great interest. Yampolskiy describes five taxonomies of minds (pp 31-34). Returning to re-read this section after having completed the rest of the book can be quite beneficial, as at this point readers can more fully understand how AI that is Quantum and Flexibly Embodied according to Goetzel taxonomy (p 31) with Ethics Self-Monitoring (p 122) might help ensure development of safe AI. If such AI systems include error-checking, with firmware (unerasable) dedication to preserving others and constantly checking to seek and resonate with highest-order intelligence with quantum levels of sensing through time-reversible logic gates (in accordance with quantum deductive logic), one can begin to breathe a sigh of relief that there might just be a way to ensure safe AI will prevail.

While the deepest pockets of government funding are unlikely to ever make plans to develop such a system that would not be controlled by anything less than the greatest intelligence seekable by AI (such as God), it is conceivable that humanitarian philanthropists will step forward to fund such a project in time that all of us will be eternally grateful that its highest-order-seeking AI will prevail.

QuantumJumps300x150adCynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. Cynthia has a degree in Physics from UC Berkeley, and discusses consciousness and quantum physics on numerous shows including the History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, the BBC and One World with Deepak Chopra. You can subscribe to Cynthia’s free monthly ezine at:

Karate, Survival and Intuition

“The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.” – Gichin Funikoshi

Have you ever wondered how well you’d be able to survive a natural disaster… or human-assisted disasters such as war, unemployment or social strife? I read truly amazing biographical books this month about two wise men who survived and even thrived in extremely harsh situations, and who taught others to do the same. These biographies moved me deeply, as I contemplated the phenomenal skills we can learn that can assist us in successfully handling almost any environment or challenge.

Tom Brown’s book, Grandfather,” describes life experiences of the author’s indigenous mentor, Stalking Wolf, who taught him tracking and survival skills for most every environment, climate, and weather conditions. At a time when most indigenous peoples in the United States of America were losing access to their native lands, traditions, language, and ways of life, some highly intuitive individuals, such as Tom Brown’s “grandfather” lived independently in nature. Tom Brown describes how Stalking Wolf lived in accordance with native traditional ways that respect all plants, animals, Earth, water and air, and he sought those interested in learning how to live in harmony with natural surroundings as caretakers for the Earth. Stalking Wolf’s lengthy meditations in nature imbued him with deep intrinsic knowledge of how to flourish in the driest deserts, the coldest mountain tops, and the wettest forests. I love the way Tom Brown describes how Stalking Wolf first appeared in his life, shocking young Tom by quickly finding the very best fossil specimen without even seeming to search… and his explanation that when one learns to listen to the rocks, such things are easy. “Grandfather” is a riveting book for anyone intrigued by intuition, survival skills, and spirituality that delves into the keys to staying alive in life-or-death situations being based primarily on one’s ability to tune in to the realm of energy and knowledge ever-present, yet seldom seen. My favorite thing about “Grandfather” is the subtle yet profound changes I feel inside me after having read this book, as each story rests gently inside me, teaching me profound lessons in patience, listening, humility, generosity, discipline, respect, compassion, and empathy. I felt at several points that I was hearing Stalking Wolf’s story directly, and then entering it to feel the biting winter cold of a mountain blizzard, or the unforgivingly scalding desert heat. I was transfixed by each life-or-death challenge as it arose, and delighted each time Stalking Wolf listened closely to find exactly what he needed at each point. I feel tremendously grateful to Stalking Wolf and Tom Brown for sharing these stories, and find myself wishing that all children could hear them, and feel amazed, inspired, and uplifted by those who knew and know how to live in the world of nature and feel a sense of truly being home.


Gichin Funikoshi’s, Karate-Do: My Way of Life provides insights from “the father of karate,” who was weak and sickly from birth, yet thrived by taking karate lessons at a time when karate was illegal and banned by the government in Japan. Funakoshi studied, practiced, and taught karate into his 90’s, inspiring students around the world through his personal example of retaining mental, physical and emotional health despite living through tremendously challenging times and circumstances. Funakoshi lived through times of poverty, and was separated from his wife for many years during the second World War.  What makes Funakoshi’s memoir so exceptional is the way Funakoshi’s gentlemanly demeanor comes through between the written words. Each of Funakoshi’s short stories weaves together with the rest in harmonious fashion, sharing insights from a wide variety of different aspects of his life that are unified by his underlying fundamental character, focus, and intent. Each short story serves a purpose of both moving forward with the story of Funakoshi’s life, and illustrating key principles he lived by and taught to the students he trained. It’s clear that by practicing karate with this frame of mind, one gains mindfulness in all aspects of life, and Funakoshi clearly recognizes the value of teaching through examples and real life experience. I recommend “Karate-Do” highly to students of all forms of martial and combative empty hands arts, as well as readers fascinated by Japanese history, and people interested in improving the overall quality of their lives.

What I love so much about both “Grandfather” and “Karate-Do: My Way of Life” is how two such outwardly dissimilar men survived amazing hardships, with both men crediting their success in large part to inner character qualities of living ethically, and remaining humble. This is marvelous news for each and every one of us facing seemingly insurmountable challenges — we truly can prevail, and do so by taking a path that inspires, uplifts, motivates, and helps others.

I share some thoughts and feelings about karate, survival, and intuition in this video:

There is much we can learn from our elders when they are willing to share their wisdom through stories about some of the more extraordinary things they have experienced. When we listen closely, we can gain a sense of how important they feel qualities of inner character to be. Some attributes of inner character that make a big difference in our ability to survive and thrive through all sorts of challenges include such things as: focus, dedication, compassion, mindfulness, ethical action, and humility… and these are things that each and every one of us can choose to develop.

Wishing you success in finding out just how good your life can get, with lots of love,
Cynthia Sue Larson
email Cynthia at

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