There are many ways to try to prevent catastrophic AI developments by actively getting involved as a researcher, political activist or entrepreneur. In fact, I am trying to do my part as a Executive Director of the Open Media Cluster.
But maybe the best thing we can do to help reduce chances of the catastrophic risks of artificial super-intelligence explosion (and other existential risks) become a “Unabomber with flowers“.
By that I mean, we could hide out in the woods, as the Unabomber did, to live in modern off-grid eco-villages somewhere. But, instead of sending bombs to those most irresponsibly advancing general Artificial Intelligence, we’d send them flowers, letters and fresh produce, and invitations for a free travel in the woods.
Here’s what the wrote in the Unabomber wrote in his manifesto “Industrial Society and Its Future”, published by the New York Times in 1995:
173. If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can’t make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decision for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better result than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won’t be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.
My wife Vera and my dear friend Beniamino Minnella surely think so.