The cult-like battles between E-Acc and the AI Doomers

published on 2023/12/13

Today, the engineers of artificial intelligence (AI) are experiencing their own religious schism. One sect worships progress, canonising Hayek himself. The other is gripped by terror of godlike forces. Their battle has driven practical questions to the margins of debate.

Both cults are accidental by-products of science fiction. In 1993 Vernor Vinge drew on computer science and his fellow science-fiction writers to argue that ordinary human history was drawing to a close. We would surely create superhuman intelligence sometime within the next three decades, leading to a “Singularity”, in which AI would start feeding on itself. The future might be delightful or awful, depending on whether machines enhanced human intelligence or displaced it.

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