Monday, August 3, 2015

My review of Intelligence Unbound by Blackford and Broderick

Out now at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews: my review of Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds, edited by Russell Blackford and Damien Roderick.

This work collects contributions to the growing literature in what might be dubbed "singularity studies," where the singularity in question is the technological singularity, a hypothetical future moment when the rate of change of human technology reaches a speed that surpasses human capacities to predict and prepare for further changes. On the presumption that technological increase follows an exponential curve, the singularity is the knee of the bend, the point beyond which the graph abandons the nearly horizontal for the nearly vertical. Despite the danger that merely human cognition won't keep up with post-singularity events, perhaps cognition that is either artificially enhanced or wholly artificially constituted will be able to thrive in post-singularity times. But if such cognitive systems appear on the scene, we must wonder what implications this will have for humans of the sort currently predominant. Can wholly non-human super-intelligent minds be tamed or otherwise coaxed into friendliness toward their human creators? This is the core question of super artificial-intelligence (super AI). Can the essence of what presently counts as a human be preserved in a wholly artificial substrate? This is the core question of mind uploading. These core questions, as well as equally important and intriguing related questions orbiting the cores, are engagingly tackled in a variety of styles by the tome's contributors.