Worried about super-intelligent machines? They’re already here

This morning’s Observer column:

But for anyone who thinks that living in a world dominated by super-intelligent machines is a “not in my lifetime” prospect, here’s a salutary thought: we already live in such a world! The AIs in question are called corporations. They are definitely super-intelligent, in that the collective IQ of the humans they employ dwarfs that of ordinary people and, indeed, often of governments. They have immense wealth and resources. Their lifespans greatly exceed that of mere humans. And they exist to achieve one overriding objective: to increase and thereby maximise shareholder value. In order to achieve that they will relentlessly do whatever it takes, regardless of ethical considerations, collateral damage to society, democracy or the planet.

One such super-intelligent machine is called Facebook. And here to illustrate that last point is an unambiguous statement of its overriding objective written by one of its most senior executives, Andrew Bosworth, on 18 June 2016…

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