Omohundro: There's No Slowing AI

February 28 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 10

If anyone’s cut out to build intelligent machines, it’s Steve Omohundro, President of AI Company Self-Aware systems. He’s worn the hats of scientist, university professor, software architect, and author, giving him a solid intellectual foundation. But, it’s all tempered by a spiritual core. He embraces practices that encourage him to journey inward for guidance, creativity, and transformation, and has participated in numerous workshops where he plays the role of teacher and life coach. If an AI is running the show one day, I for one could only hope that kind of compassion and humanity be built in!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasant opportunity to interview Steve (full audio transcript here). He began our phone chat with an explanation of what artificial intelligence is, and the consequences of a self-improving AI:

Omohundro: It’s a discipline where we try and understand the fundamental nature of human intelligence and build machines which can solve the same kinds of problems that people can. The particular approach to artificial intelligence that my company is taking is to try and build systems that understand their own behavior and watch themselves as they work and solve problems; notice what things are working well and which things aren’t working well, and then change themselves, improve themselves, so that they work better.

Sounds good, right? We’ll only have to build version 1.0, and the program will take it from there.

Omohundro: When a human programmer just writes a program, he understands what he wants it to do, and sometimes there are bugs, but basically the system behaves the way you expect it to. When you have a system that can change itself, basically it writes its own program, then you may understand the first version of it, but unless you’ve done a lot of analysis, it may change itself into something that you no longer understand. And so, these systems are quite a bit more unpredictable than the kinds of software we’ve been used to, so it’s very powerful, but there’s also potential dangers.

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Interview: Steve Omohundro (full length audio transcript)

February 28 2008 / by memebox / In association with Future
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 5

The following is a transcript of an audio interview with Steve Omohundro by Venessa Posavec

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