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Upcoming lecture

"Super-intelligence, Artilects and the Singularity? Could AI Mean the End of Humankind?"

Prof. David Bell
(Computer Science, Queens University Belfast)

Cafe Grace
12-14 Elmwood Avenue, Belfast
7.30 pm on Tuesday 24 March 2015

Abstract. Many people don't know much about the details of AI, except what they have seen on Star Trek and the like, and for all practical purposes most people are not all that interested. However, if this is potentially an imminent danger it would be prudent to know something about it, or simply to consider, and even if possible try to influence the directions AI should focus upon.
Some 'prophets' say that if a machine's intelligence exceeds that of humans, we cannot possibly predict whether humans will be tolerated as pets by it, assisted by it in amazing ways or wiped out by it. Some even seem to say, effectively, that Christians and others who believe in eternal life should be working actively towards 'Apocalyptic AI' as the means whereby our race can persist for ever. Technology, they say, also holds the promise of basic things like salvation, and well-being. This raises issues for traditional Christian views.
Despite disappointments in the past, AI has steadily made impressive progress. It now contributes very significantly to modern life, and there is realistic promise of more benefits to come. It is often hidden way in products and used in various important activities and professions. However, many respected technologists and scientists see AI as presenting a more serious problem for mankind than even those of global warming, Islamic State, etc.
This talk presents an informal, personal look at the relevant scientific and technical state of the art and at hurdles to be overcome, and assesses briefly some of the theological problems that could be raised.

More information about other lectures can be found here.