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This Much I Know: The advancement of AI for the benefit of humankind

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How should we respond to the economic, social and moral consequences of automation driven by advancements in artificial intelligence? We are, argues Calum Chace (author of ‘Pandora’s Brain’, ‘Surviving AI’ and ‘The Economic Singularity’), on the brink of two singularities and accordingly need to plot a path to a future society that is ‘meaningful, sensible and communicable’.

The first singularity we face is technological: Moore’s law stipulates that computing power doubles every two years at the same cost. If this holds then an artificial general intelligence (GI) will eventually arrive that surpasses the cognitive abilities of an ordinary human and then, shortly afterwards, that of all humans combined. Relatedly we face an economic singularity: such intelligent machines will take all the jobs that humans do – and we won’t be able to invent ones they can’t.

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Calum reflects on how we should react to the advance of AI to ensure the outcome we get is one which is positive for humankind. He argues that we will need need to decouple income from jobs, and will probably need a new economic system – but that the Universal Basic Income advocated by many futurists, tech CEOs and thinkers is insufficient. “We should be aiming for a world in which machines are so efficient and powerful we don’t have to pay for anything,” he says.

Calum is a regular speaker and writer on artificial intelligence and related technologies. Prior to his writing career, Calum had a 30-year career in business, in which he was a marketer, a strategy consultant and a CEO. He maintains his interest in business by running a small property business and serving as chairman and coach for growing companies. In 2000 he co-wrote The Internet Startup Bible, a business best-seller. He studied philosophy at the University of Oxford.

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