Artificial intelligence: Thinking machines

It is the world’s greatest opportunity, and its greatest threat. John Thornhill talks to philosopher Nick Bostrom about AI and whether we can control it ©Kate Peters Professor Nick Bostrom with code from DeepMind’s DQN program that could teach itself to play computer games at or above human level Scientists reckon there have been at least five mass extinction events in the history of our planet, when a catastrophically high number of species were wiped out in a relatively short period of time. We are possibly now living through a sixth — caused by human activity. But could humans themselves be next? This is the sort of question that preoccupies the staff at the Future of Humanity Institute in Oxford. The centre is an offshoot of the Oxford Martin School,…

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