Elon Musk Can Sleep Easier

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6 Responses

  1. iarwain says:

    Musk is referring to the excellent recent book Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom. I really enjoyed reading the book simply because the arguments are so well constructed. Bostrom deftly preempts every single counter-argument I could think of. I love books like that.

    Bostrom is an Oxford philosophy professor with a truly amazing CV and possibly one of the smartest and most thought-out people on the planet. The lists of people associated with his organization (Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford) and with its sister organizations (Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge, Future of Life Institute at MIT, Machine Intelligence Research Institute near UC Berkeley) include some of the biggest names in technology and science. It would seem extremely arrogant for those who haven’t even read the book to casually dismiss the ideas as naive.

    On the other hand, what Musk and Bostrom are referring to is a true existential risk – the extinction of humanity. As religious Jews who believe in HKBH, Hashgacha, Moshiach, and Techiyas HaMeisim, this is not something we should lose any sleep over. So although Musk as an atheist should perhaps not sleep easier, we as Jews can pretty much ignore the whole debate as nothing more than a (perhaps interesting) intellectual exercise.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    My computer’s only aspiration is to slow me down.

  3. Aryeh says:

    I think you might be interested in this interview with IEEE Fellow Michael I. Jordan, Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/artificial-intelligence/machinelearning-maestro-michael-jordan-on-the-delusions-of-big-data-and-other-huge-engineering-efforts#qaTopicOne

  4. jblogreviewer says:

    An interesting point to note: Turing actually addresses the “theological concerns” in his paper.

    • Yaakov Menken says:

      This is true… in a fashion that demonstrates that while Turing was a genius at mathematics and computing, he understood very little about theology.

  5. joel rich says:

    What this Talmudic passage and commentary tell us, then, is that creating an artificial consciousness isn’t nearly as simple as Turing imagined it to be. The Maharsha essentially tells us that intelligent speech is a manifestation of the soul invested in human beings
    The debate may boil down to this statement. Others reject the notion of a soul:
    The mind–body problem in philosophy examines the relationship between mind and matter, and in particular the relationship between consciousness and the brain.

    The problem was famously addressed by René Descartes in the 17th century, resulting in Cartesian dualism, and by pre-Aristotelian philosophers,[2][3] in Avicennian philosophy,[4] and in earlier Asian traditions. A variety of approaches have been proposed. Most are either dualist or monist. Dualism maintains a rigid distinction between the realms of mind and matter. Monism maintains that there is only one unifying reality, substance or essence in terms of which everything can be explained………
    Several philosophical perspectives have been developed which reject the mind–body dichotomy. The historical materialism of Karl Marx and subsequent writers, itself a form of physicalism, held that consciousness was engendered by the material contingencies of one’s environment


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