Tag Archives: intelligence explosion

William Poundstone

A long human future is not an impossible goal. It may, however, be something that has to be earned by being smarter, wiser, kinder, more careful—and luckier—than we’ve ever had to be before. The first rule of defying the odds is to never deny the odds.

Early though we may be in the future running through our heads, we are always and already running out of time. Like our remote ancestors, and like all who come after, we see in the distance a singularity, a boundary of the reference class, a monolith marking the end of the world as we know it. We are about to discover the truth of how special we are.

William Poundstone, The Doomsday Calculation: How an Equation That Predicts the Future Is Transforming Everything We Know about Life and the Universe, New York, 2019, p. 262

Carl Sagan

Computers routinely do mathematics that no unaided human can manage, outperform world champions in checkers and grand masters in chess, speak and understand English and other languages, write presentable short stories and musical compositions, learn from their mistakes, and competently pilot ships, airplanes, and spacecraft. Their abilities steadily improve. They’re getting smaller, faster, and cheaper. Each year, the tide of scientific advance laps a little further ashore on the island of human intellectual uniqueness with its embattled castaways. If, at so early a stage in our technological evolution, we have been able to go so far in creating intelligence out of silicon and metal, what will be possible in the following decades and centuries? What happens when smart machines are able to manufacture smarter machines?

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, New York, 1994, pp. 29-30

I. J. Good

Once a machine is designed that is good enough, […] it can be put to work designing an even better machine. At this point an “explosion” will clearly occur; all the problems of science and technology will be handed over to machines and it will no longer be necessary for people to work. Whether this will lead to a Utopia or to the extermination of the human race will depend on how the problem is handled by the machines. The important thing will be to give them the aim of serving human beings.

I. J. Good, “Speculations on Perceptrons and Other Automata”, IBM Research Lecture, RC-115 (1959), p. 17