What lies in that space?

In person, I try to not talk about technology. This is simply because I’ve spent such a significant portion of my awake-time already doing so, that I’d like to talk about something else now… for the rest of my life, in fact. But technology comes up a lot. These Days® artificial intelligence comes up a lot too. Mostly (in both those cases and others) I try to sit back and simply enjoy learning more about the people I’m with at that moment.

We dramatically overestimate the threat of an accidental AI takeover, because we tend to conflate intelligence with the drive to achieve dominance. This confusion is understandable: During our evolutionary history as (often violent) primates, intelligence was key to social dominance and enabled our reproductive success. And indeed, intelligence is a powerful adaptation, like horns, sharp claws or the ability to fly, which can facilitate survival in many ways. But intelligence per se does not generate the drive for domination, any more than horns do.

~ Anthony Zador, Yann LeCun from, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/dont-fear-the-terminator/


This is an insight—I’m going to call it a “wedge”—that I’d not thought of. There is a conceptual leap between “is intelligent” and “will strive for dominance.” For everyone I’ve heard speak about AI, the leap seems tiny, as if the one necessarily implies the other. But this wedge fits perfectly into that narrow space. In fact, it makes it really clear that there is a space between those two things. Interesting times.