What to Think About Machines That Think

What to Think About Machines That Think

Edge Annual Question Series
John Brockman [10.6.15]

Stephen Hawking recently made headlines by noting, "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." Others, conversely, have trumpeted a new age of "superintelligence" in which smart devices will exponentially extend human capacities. No longer just a matter of science-fiction fantasy (2001Blade RunnerThe TerminatorHer, etc.), it is time to seriously consider the reality of intelligent technology, many forms of which are already being integrated into our daily lives. In that spirit, John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("the world's smartest website" —The Guardian), asked the world's most influential scientists, philosophers, and artists one of today's most consequential questions: What do you think about machines that think?

Steven Pinker considers the internal metal life of robots * Frank Tipler explains how artificial intelligence (AI) will save humanity and colonize space * Martin Rees explores why humans are merely an evolutionary stage on the path to a machine-dominated world * Nicholas Carr examines the challenges of maintaining control over machines * Daniel C. Dennett identifies the true danger of the coming technological "singularity" * Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek asserts that all intelligence is machine intelligence * musician Brian Eno suggests that human society remains our most powerful supercomputer * George Dyson argues that genuine creative thinking will always be analog, not digital * Alison Gopnik asks whether machines will ever be as smart as a three-year-old * Richard Thaler thinks human stupidity will always impede artificial intelligence * Wired founder Kevin Kelly calls AIs an "alien intelligence" * plus contributions from Nobel laureate John C. Mather, Matt Ridley, Freeman Dyson, Douglas Rushkoff, Helen Fisher, Sam Harris, George Church, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Esther Dyson, Nick Bostrom, and others.


Contributions from:

Pamela McCorduckGeorge Church, James J. O'Donnell, Carlo Rovelli, Nick Bostrom, Daniel C. Dennett, Donald Hoffman, Roger Schank, Mark Pagel, Frank Wilczek, Robert Provine, Susan Blackmore, Haim Harari, Andy Clark, William Poundstone, Peter Norvig, Rodney Brooks, Jonathan Gottschall, Arnold Trehub, Giulio Boccaletti, Michael Shermer, Chris DiBona, Aubrey De Grey, Juan Enriquez, Satyajit Das, Quentin Hardy, Clifford Pickover, Nicholas Humphrey, Ross Anderson, Paul Saffo, Eric J. Topol, M.D., Dylan Evans, Roger Highfield, Gordon Kane, Melanie Swan, Richard Nisbett, Lee Smolin, Scott Atran, Stanislas Dehaene, Stephen Kosslyn, Emanuel Derman, Richard Thaler, Alison Gopnik, Ernst Pöppel, Luca De Biase, Maraget Levi, Terrence Sejnowski, Thomas Metzinger, D.A. Wallach, Leo Chalupa, Bruce Sterling, Kevin Kelly, Martin Seligman, Keith Devlin, S. Abbas Raza, Neil Gershenfeld, Daniel Everett, Douglas Coupland, Joshua Bongard, Ziyad Marar, Thomas Bass, Frank Tipler, Mario Livio, Marti Hearst, Randolph Nesse, Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Samuel Arbesman, Gerald Smallberg, John Mather, Ursula Martin, Kurt Gray, Gerd Gigerenzer, Kevin Slavin, Nicholas Carr, Timo Hannay, Kai Krause, Alun Anderson, Seth Lloyd, Mary Catherine Bateson, Steve Fuller, Virginia Heffernan, Barbara Strauch, Sean Carroll, Sheizaf Rafaeli, Edward Slingerland, Nicholas Christakis, Joichi Ito, David Christian, George Dyson, Paul Davies, Douglas Rushkoff, Tim O'Reilly, Irene Pepperberg, Helen Fisher, Stuart A. Kauffman, Stuart Russell, Tomaso Poggio, Robert Sapolsky, Maria Popova, Martin Rees, Lawrence M. Krauss, Jessica Tracy & Kristin Laurin, Roy Baumeister, Paul Dolan, Kate Jefferey, June Gruber & Raul Saucedo, Bruce Schneier, Rebecca MacKinnon, Antony Garrett Lisi, Thomas Dietterich, John Markoff, Matthew Lieberman, Dimitar Sasselov, Michael Vassar, Gregory Paul, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Andrian Kreye, Andrés Roemer, N.J. Enfield, Rolf Dobelli, Nina Jablonski, Marcelo Gleiser, Gary Klein, Tor Nørretranders, David Gelernter, Cesar Hidalgo, Gary Marcus, Sam Harris, Molly Crockett, Abigail Marsh, Alexander Wissner-Gross, Koo Jeong-A, Sarah Demers, Richard Foreman, Julia Clarke, Georg Diez, Jaan Tallinn, Michael McCullough, Hans Halvorson, Kevin Hand, Christine Finn, Tom Griffiths, Dirk Helbing, Brian Knutson, John Tooby, Maximilian Schich, Athena Vouloumanos, Brian Christian, Timothy Taylor, Bruce Parker, Benjamin Bergen, Laurence Smith, Ian Bogost, W. Tecumseh Fitch, Michael Norton, Scott Draves, Gregory Benford, Chris Anderson, Matthew Ritchie, Raphael Bousso, Christopher Chabris, James Croak, Beatrice Golomb, Moshe Hoffman, John Naughton, Matt Ridley, Eduardo Salcedo-Albaran, Eldar Shafir, Maria Spiropulu, Noga Arikha, Rory Sutherland, Tania Lombrozo, Bart Kosko, Joscha Bach, Esther Dyson, Anthony Aguirre, Steve Omohundro, Murray Shanahan, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Steven Pinker, Max Tegmark, Jon Kleinberg & Senhil Mullainathan, Freeman Dyson, Brian Eno, W. Daniel Hillis, Demis Hassabis & Shane Legg & Mustafa Suleyman, Katinka Matson