Kurzweil Addresses Fears About AI

In the following video, futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil responds to some reasonable concerns about artificial general intelligence.  While I am an advocate of caution over fear, I’m not sure that Kurzweil’s comparisons to previous technologies sets solid grounds for dismissing such concerns.  We can reference past technologies and see a positive trend for such technologies being statistically more beneficial than destructive.  For example, nuclear technology can be used for creating weaponry, but it’s far more commonly used for creating energy.  However, all past technologies have one thing in common; they couldn’t out think us.  Kurzweil’s only solution to this is to “merge with the machines.”  Kurzweil also goes on to say that this merging is already taking place which, indeed, appears to be the case.  My concern is that intelligence may not be the only factor in creating harmony within humanity.  If empathy is solely a product of intelligence the I say bring it on!  However, I think more attention needs to be paid to the developmental roots of empathy as we continue down the path of creating artificial sentience.  The goal shouldn’t be in creating artificial general intelligence so much as it should be in creating artificial general empathy.  

Runtime: 5:10

This video can also be found here.  If you like the video, please make sure to stop by and give it a like.

Video Info:

Published on Mar 28, 2017

I interviewed Ray in his Google office in Mountain View, CA, February 15, 2017. Ray gave generously of his time, and his replies to my questions were very focused, full of excellent content.

To view the full interview (about 30 minutes), go to this link: https://youtu.be/lpzXWGrngTw

At the end of 2013, I made a documentary (https://youtu.be/5igUX43gkiU) about Ray, which includes clips from another interview. My goal was to provide a short video introduction to the life & thoughts of Ray, for those who know nothing about him and who want to know more. I hope you will check it out.

On the Rapid Progress of AI

The following video talks about the speed of advancement of artificial intelligence.  The video come from the ColdFusion YouYube channel which is quickly becoming a Dawn of Giants favorite.  If you haven’t visited their channel, you show definitely stop by and browse some of there videos.  The video primarily focuses on neural networks and how they are advancing more by means of self improvement (sounds like a self help program for AI… which, I guess in a sense, it is) rather than updates created by human programmers.  The video gives an overview of neural nets and also presents several fascinating examples.  AI cameos include AlphaGo, WaveNet, StackGan (a generative adversarial network), and more.

Runtime: 12:07

This video can also be found here.  Make sure to stop by and give them a like.

Video Info:

Published on Apr 12, 2017

Robotics and the 4th Industrial Revolution

This video discusses the future of robotics and the 4th industrial revolution.  The video includes a brief history of robotics, an overview of the present state of the art, and speculation on robotics of the future with primary focus on robotics in the workforce.  Artificial intelligence is discussed along with what advancing AI and robotics will mean for both high and low skilled workers respectively.  

Runtime: 21:48

This video can also be found here.

Video Info:

Published on Jan 20, 2018

AI Robots are taking over the world!

Andrew Ross Sorkin Interviews Sophia the Robot

Well, there’s certainly still a lot of distance to cross in the territory of the uncanny valley.  The following video is an interview with Sophia the robot at the Future Investment Initiative conference held in October of 2017 in Saudi Arabia.  Sophia is interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC.  I can’t help but get the impression that Sophia’s (or should I say, Sophia’s programmer’s ) primary goal is to give responses that people want to hear.  I also got the impression that the interview was loosely scripted giving in a very inauthentic feel (for as much as that can be attributed to our present level of robotics).  All said, it’s still an interesting video because it lays open so many possibilities; some beneficial to humanity, some terribly unpleasant.  It’s no longer a matter of if we should develop such technologies because I think it’s a matter of inevitability rather than possibility.  The best we can do is make the discussion commonplace in order to develop the understanding needed to raise our non-biological offspring wisely.

Runtime: 5:04

This video can also be found here.

Video Info:

Published on Oct 25, 2017

CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin interviews Sophia, a humanoid robot, about the future of artificial intelligence at a Future Investment Institute panel in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
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Interview With The Lifelike Hot Robot Named Sophia | CNBC

AI Births New AI

This short video from producer Dagogo Altraide (found on the the ColdFusion YouTube channel) discusses a Google Brain AI (artificial intelligence) which created it’s own AI offspring that “performs better than anything else in it’s feild” according to the video (this particular field is computer vision).  Google uses an approach called automatic machine learning (or AutoML) to recursively generate new architectures and give feedback to the controller neural net.  The “parent” neural net is called AutoML and the “child” neural net is called NASNet.  NASNet is a real time image recognition AI.  NASNet performed with more accuracy and efficiency than any AI of it’s kind created by humans.

Runtime: 5:52

This video can also be found here.

Video Info:

Published on Jan 15, 2018

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In this video we talk about Auto ML by Google brain. Auto ML is one of the first successful automated AI projects.

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Google’s DeepMind AI

This video explain’s Google’s DeepMind AI.  The goal of the DeepMind project is to develop general purpose algorithms which, along with the development of artificial intelligence, will teach us more about the human brain.  Part of the DeepMind research was a project called AlphGo which beat Go world champion Lee Sedol in 2015.  Due to the intuitive nature of the game, it was not expected that an AI would succeed in beating a Go champion for at least another decade.  DeepMind uses a type of machine learning called deep reinforcement learning.  Machine learning is not to be confused with expert systems.  Expert systems work within predefined (pre-programmed) parameters whereas machine learning relies upon pattern recognition algorithms.


This video can also be found here.

Video Info:

Published on May 1, 2016

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“Inside DeepMind” Nature video:

“AlphaGo and the future of Artificial Intelligence” BBC Newsnight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53YLZ…













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Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

This is an article from TIME by Ray Kurzweil called Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence.  Basically, Kurzweil’s stance is that “technology is a double-edged sword” and that it always has been, but that’s no reason to abandon the research.  Kurzweil also states that, “Virtually every­one’s mental capabilities will be enhanced by it within a decade.”  I hope it makes people smarter and not just more intelligent! 

Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence

Retro toy robot
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Kurzweil is the author of five books on artificial ­intelligence, including the recent New York Times best seller “How to Create a Mind.”

Two great thinkers see danger in AI. Here’s how to make it safe.

Stephen Hawking, the pre-eminent physicist, recently warned that artificial intelligence (AI), once it sur­passes human intelligence, could pose a threat to the existence of human civilization. Elon Musk, the pioneer of digital money, private spaceflight and electric cars, has voiced similar concerns.

If AI becomes an existential threat, it won’t be the first one. Humanity was introduced to existential risk when I was a child sitting under my desk during the civil-­defense drills of the 1950s. Since then we have encountered comparable specters, like the possibility of a bioterrorist creating a new virus for which humankind has no defense. Technology has always been a double-edged sword, since fire kept us warm but also burned down our villages.

The typical dystopian futurist movie has one or two individuals or groups fighting for control of “the AI.” Or we see the AI battling the humans for world domination. But this is not how AI is being integrated into the world today. AI is not in one or two hands; it’s in 1 billion or 2 billion hands. A kid in Africa with a smartphone has more intelligent access to knowledge than the President of the United States had 20 years ago. As AI continues to get smarter, its use will only grow. Virtually every­one’s mental capabilities will be enhanced by it within a decade.

We will still have conflicts among groups of people, each enhanced by AI. That is already the case. But we can take some comfort from a profound, exponential decrease in violence, as documented in Steven Pinker’s 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. According to Pinker, although the statistics vary somewhat from location to location, the rate of death in war is down hundredsfold compared with six centuries ago. Since that time, murders have declined tensfold. People are surprised by this. The impression that violence is on the rise results from another trend: exponentially better information about what is wrong with the world—­another development aided by AI.

There are strategies we can deploy to keep emerging technologies like AI safe. Consider biotechnology, which is perhaps a couple of decades ahead of AI. A meeting called the Asilomar ­Conference on Recombinant DNA was organized in 1975 to ­assess its potential dangers and devise a strategy to keep the field safe. The resulting guidelines, which have been revised by the industry since then, have worked very well: there have been no significant problems, accidental or intentional, for the past 39 years. We are now seeing major ad­vances in medical treatments reaching clinical practice and thus far none of the anticipated problems.

Consideration of ethical guidelines for AI goes back to Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics, which appeared in his short story “Runaround” in 1942, eight years before Alan Turing introduced the field of AI in his 1950 paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” The median view of AI practitioners today is that we are still several decades from achieving human-­level AI. I am more optimistic and put the date at 2029, but either way, we do have time to devise ethical standards.

There are efforts at universities and companies to develop AI safety strategies and guidelines, some of which are already in place. Similar to the Asilomar guidelines, one idea is to clearly define the mission of each AI program and to build in encrypted safeguards to prevent unauthorized uses.

Ultimately, the most important approach we can take to keep AI safe is to work on our human governance and social institutions. We are already a human-­machine civilization. The best way to avoid destructive conflict in the future is to continue the advance of our social ideals, which has already greatly reduced violence.

AI today is advancing the diagnosis of disease, finding cures, developing renewable clean energy, helping to clean up the environment, providing high-­quality education to people all over the world, helping the disabled (including providing Hawking’s voice) and contributing in a myriad of other ways. We have the opportunity in the decades ahead to make major strides in addressing the grand challenges of humanity. AI will be the pivotal technology in achieving this progress. We have a moral imperative to realize this promise while controlling the peril. It won’t be the first time we’ve succeeded in doing this.

Kurzweil is the author of five books on artificial ­intelligence, including the recent New York Times best seller How to Create a Mind.


This article can also be found here.


Hugo de Garis – Singularity Skepticism (Produced by Adam Ford)

This is Hugo de Garis talking about why people tend to react with a great deal of skepticism.  To address the skeptics, de Garis explains Moore’s Law and goes into it’s many implications.  Hugo de Garis makes a statement toward the end about how people will begin to come around when they begin to see their household electronics getting smarter and smarter.

Runtime: 12:31

This video can also be found here and here.

Video Info:

Published on Jul 31, 2012

Hugo de Garis speaks about why people are skeptical about the possibility of machine intelligence, and also reasons for believing machine intelligence is possible, and quite probably will be an issue that we will need to face in the coming decades.

If the brain guys can copy how the brain functions closely enough…we will arrive at a machine based on neuroscience ideas and that machine will be intelligent and conscious



Ben Goertzel – Beginnings [on Artificial Intelligence – Thanks to Adam A. Ford for this video.]

In this video, Ben Goertzel talks a little about how he got into AGI research and about the research, itself.  I first heard of Ben Goertzel about four years ago, right when I was first studying computer science and considering a career in AI programming.  At the time, I was trying to imagine how you would build an emotionally intelligent machine.  I really enjoyed hearing some of his ideas at the time and still do.  Also at the time, I was listening to a lot of Tony Robbins so you could imagine, I came up with some pretty interesting theories on artificial intelligence and empathetic machines.  Maybe if I get enough requests I’ll write a special post on some of those ideas.  You just let me know if you’re interested.

Runtime: 10:33

This video can also be found at here and here.

Video Info:

Published on Jul 27, 2012

Ben Goertzel talks about his early stages in thinking about AI, and two books : The Hidden Pattern, and Building Better Minds.

The interview was done in Melbourne Australia while Ben was down to speak at the Singularity Summit Australia 2011.


Interviewed, Filmed & Edited by Adam A. Ford


Peter Voss Interview on Artificial General Intelligence

This is an interview with Peter Voss of Optimal talking about artificial general intelligence.  One of the things Voss talks about is the skepticism which is a common reaction when talking about creating strong AI and why (as Tony Robbins always says) the past does not equal the future.  He also talks about why he thinks that Ray Kurzweil’s predictions that AGI won’t be achieved for another 20 is wrong – (and I gotta say, he makes a good point).  If you are interested in artificial intelligence or ethics in technology then you’ll want to watch this one…  

And don’t worry, the line drawing effect at the beginning of the video only lasts a minute.

Runtime: 39:55

This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W_vtlSjNk0

Video Info:

Published on Jan 8, 2013

Peter Voss is the founder and CEO of Adaptive A.I. Inc, an R&D company developing a high-level general intelligence (AGI) engine. He is also founder and CTO of Smart Action Company LLC, which builds and supplies AGI-based virtual contact-center agents — intelligent, automated phone operators.

Peter started his career as an entrepreneur, inventor, engineer and scientist at age 16. After several years of experience in electronics engineering, at age 25 he started a company to provide advanced custom hardware and software solutions. Seven years later the company employed several hundred people and was successfully listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

After selling his interest in the company in 1993, he worked on a broad range of disciplines — cognitive science, philosophy and theory of knowledge, psychology, intelligence and learning theory, and computer science — which served as the foundation for achieving new breakthroughs in artificial general intelligence. In 2001 he started Adaptive AI Inc., and last year founded Smart Action Company as its commercialization division.

Peter considers himself a free-minds-and-markets Extropian, and often writes and presents on philosophical topics including rational ethics, freewill and artificial minds. He is also deeply involved with futurism and life-extension.


My main occupation is research in high-level, general (domain independent, autonomous) Artificial Intelligence — “Adaptive A.I. Inc.”

I believe that integrating insights from the following areas of cognitive science are crucial for rapid progress in this field:

Philosophy/ epistemology – understanding the true nature of knowledge
Cognitive psychology (incl. developmental & psychometric) for analysis of cognition – and especially – general conceptual intelligence.
Computer science – self-modifying systems, combining new connectionist pattern manipulation techniques with ‘traditional’ AI engineering.
Anyone who shares my passion – and/ or concerns – for this field is welcome to contact me for brainstorming and possible collaboration.

My other big passion is for exploring what I call Optimal Living: Maximizing both the quantity & quality of life. I see personal responsibility and optimizing knowledge acquisition as key. Specific interests include:

Rationality, as a means for knowledge. I’m largely sympathetic to the philosophy of Objectivism, and have done quite a bit of work on developing a rational approach to (personal & social) ethics.
Health (quality): physical, financial, cognitive, and emotional (passions, meaningful relationships, appreciation of art, etc.). Psychology: IQ & EQ.
Longevity (quantity): general research, CRON (calorie restriction), cryonics
Environment: economic, social, political systems conducive to Optimal Living.
These interests logically lead to an interest in Futurism , in technology for improving life – overcoming limits to personal growth & improvement. The transhumanist philosophy of Extropianism best embodies this quest. Specific technologies that seem to hold most promise include AI, Nanotechnology, & various health & longevity approaches mentioned above.

I always enjoy meeting new people to explore ideas, and to have my views critiqued. To this end I am involved in a number of discussion groups and salons (e.g. ‘Kifune’ futurist dinner/discussion group). Along the way I’m trying to develop and learn the complex art of constructive dialog.

Interview done at SENS party LA 20th Dec 2012.