A New York Times bestseller
Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful – possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.
But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?
This profoundly ambitious and original book breaks down a vast track of difficult intellectual terrain. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom’s work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
“I highly recommend this book”
“Terribly important. Groundbreaking, extraordinary sagacity and clarity, enabling him to combine his wide-ranging knowledge over an impressively broad spectrum of disciplines – engineering, natural sciences, medicine, social sciences and philosophy – into a comprehensible whole. If this book gets the reception that it deserves, it may turn out the most important alarm bell since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring from 1962, or ever.”
—Olle Haggstrom, Professor of Mathematical Statistics
“Nick Bostrom’s excellent book “Superintelligence” is the best thing I’ve seen on this topic. It is well worth a read.”
—Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator and Co-Chairman of OpenAI
“Worth reading. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes”
—Elon Musk, Founder of SpaceX and Tesla
“Nick Bostrom makes a persuasive case that the future impact of AI is perhaps the most important issue the human race has ever faced. Instead of passively drifting, we need to steer a course. Superintelligence charts the submerged rocks of the future with unprecedented detail. It marks the beginning of a new era.”
—Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Berkley
“This superb analysis by one of the world’s clearest thinkers tackles one of humanity’s greatest challenges: if future superhuman artificial intelligence becomes the biggest event in human history, then how can we ensure that it doesn’t become the last?”
—Professor Max Tegmark, MIT
“Valuable. The implications of introducing a second intelligent species onto Earth are far-reaching enough to deserve hard thinking”
“There is no doubting the force of [Bostrom’s] arguments. The problem is a research challenge worthy of the next generation’s best mathematical talent. Human civilisation is at stake.”
—Clive Cookson, Financial Times
“Those disposed to dismiss an ‘AI takeover’ as science fiction may think again after reading this original and well-argued book.”
—Martin Rees, Past President, Royal Society
“Every intelligent person should read it.”
—Nils Nilsson, Artificial Intelligence Pioneer, Stanford University
About Nick Bostrom
Nick Bostrom is a Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University. He is the founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute, a multidisciplinary research center that enables a few exceptional mathematicians, philosophers, and scientists to think carefully about global priorities and big questions for humanity. The FHI is home to teams working on AI safety, biosecurity, macro strategy, AI policy, the ethics of digital minds, and various other technology or foundational questions.
Nick Bostrom is a Swedish-born philosopher and polymath with a background in theoretical physics, computational neuroscience, logic, and artificial intelligence, as well as philosophy. He is the author of some 200 publications, including Anthropic Bias (Routledge, 2002), Global Catastrophic Risks (OUP, 2008), Human Enhancement (OUP, 2009), and Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (OUP, 2014), a New York Times bestseller which helped spark a global conversation about artificial intelligence. Bostrom’s widely influential work, which traverses philosophy, science, ethics, and technology, has illuminated the links between our present actions and long-term global outcomes, casting new light on the human condition.
He is the recipient of a Eugene R. Gannon Award and has been listed on Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list twice. He was included on Prospect’s World Thinkers list, the youngest person in the top 15. His writings have been translated into 30 languages, and there have been more than 100 translations and reprints of his works. He is a repeat TED speaker and has done more than 1,000 interviews with television, radio, and print media. His publications have garnered more than 18,000 academic citations. He has an h-index of 50.