Tag Archives: Artificial intelligence

Sergey Brin on artificial intelligence

Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin recently participated in an interview at the World Economic Forum where he shared his views on the future of artificial intelligence.

These views include Sergey’s thoughts on the pace of artificial intelligence developments, how to think about its impact on various vertical and horizontal use cases, the work that Google is doing in the field, and its repercussions on human lives and jobs.

You can watch the full interview below.

The human effort behind the technology

What was the most impactful technological advance of 2016?

Some candidates which come to mind are advances inĀ artificial intelligence (an AI beat a human in a complex game like Go), genetic engineering (CRISPR has the potential to allow for human gene editing to prevent disease and enhance humans), and space travel (a reusable rocket landed on a floating barge in the ocean for the first time in human history). Time will show how big an impact each of these technologies has.

However, independent of how impactful each technology turns out to be, the human effort which goes into the development of each is to be applauded.

Here’s a video which shows the emotions experienced by the SpaceX team during the company’s successful earth landing of humanity’s first reusable rocket. The emotion is the direct result of the human effort that went into the technology’s development.

Utopia and dystopia

Founders Fund recently released a podcast series called Anatomy of Next. The series consists of 5 sessions, one on each of nuclear energy, biological engineering, robots, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.

There are two common themes which unite each of these areas. The first is that the adoption of these technologies each represents a big change from our current status quo. The second is that they each carry the potential for big positive and negative outcomes.

However, when the potential for big change comes together with the possibility for big positive and negative outcomes, we tend to focus our attention on the downside risks rather than the upside potential. Big change means moving into the unknown, and our fear of the unknown makes us default to thinking about the negative outcomes.

The podcasts attempt to go beyond this default inclination by highlighting not only the dystopian, but also the utopian possibilities brought about by each of these technologies. For example, nuclear energy could destroy the world, but it also has the power to solve our energy problem. Biological engineering could create a race of superhumans that dominate over non-superhumans, but it could also be used to cure all sorts of diseases. Robots could kill us, or they could take care of our repetitive tasks so that we focus on creative ones. Virtual reality could turn us into isolated individuals who try to escape the real world, or it could provide us with a great source of entertainment while also letting people interact with others thousands of miles away in a way that allows for many more use cases than the phone and video calls that are currently available to us.

Most important, as the podcasts emphasize, it is humans who will decide which outcomes will prevail. As Irish statesmanĀ Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

You can listen to each of the podcasts here.