Ethereum Co-founder on Artificial Intelligence: We Are The Star

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Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin had published a lengthy blog post on artificial intelligence and its potential dangers. The modest mathematician offered his own perspective on the recent debates around techno-optimism and AI risks. 

On Nov. 27, Vitalik Buterin posted a lengthy evaluation of the rise of artificial intelligence titled “My techno-optimism.”

Buterin on Artificial Intelligence

The essay explores the concept of “techno-optimism” and advocates for being enthusiastically in favor of technological progress. However, it also carefully considers which technologies should be accelerated or decelerated in Buterin’s eyes. 

Vitalik argues that technology has brought massive improvements to quality of life, health, convenience, information access, and more over the past century. Nevertheless, some technologies such as AI represent uniquely concerning risks. These include existential threats from advanced AI potentially deciding to eliminate humanity (we’ve all seen the Terminator movies). 

MIRI researcher Rob Bensinger’s attempt at illustrating different people’s estimates of the probability that AI will either kill everyone or do something almost as bad. Source: Vitalik.eth

Vitalik suggested an alternative perspective called “defensive acceleration” or “d/acc”. This process involves intentionally accelerating technologies expected to make the world safer and more resilient. It also restricts or slows down technologies likely to centralize power or pose uncontrolled risks.

He offered several examples of “defense-favoring” technologies worth accelerating. These include resilient infrastructure and technologies for responding to pandemics. Also included were encryption and blockchain to preserve privacy and decentralization, and tools for enabling democratic governance. 

“Defense-favoring worlds help classical-liberal governance utopias thrive. So let’s do what we can to make the world more defense-favoring.”

Read more: How Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) Transform Crypto? 

He cautioned about a rise in digital authoritarianism and totalitarian surveillance technology (which already exists). This would be used against dissent or those who defy the government and be controlled by a handful of tech giants

Buterin added that most people would rather see highly advanced AI delayed by a decade rather than be monopolized by a single group or company. 

Humans The Brightest Star 

For advanced artificial intelligence specifically, Buterin suggested focusing more on AI/human collaboration. Cognitive enhancement over autonomous systems would also be favored in attempting to navigate the risks of a superintelligence takeover.

Vitalik concluded that humans are “the brightest star.”

“There is a lot of good that can come from ongoing human progress, into the stars and beyond,” he said before adding:

“But there are big forks in the road and we need to choose carefully. Accelerate, but accelerate carefully and well.”

On Nov. 26, 18 major world powers signed a non-binding agreement to advance AI safety and security

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