Entries by Tucker Davey

How AI Handles Uncertainty: An Interview With Brian Ziebart

When training image detectors, AI researchers can’t replicate the real world. They teach systems what to expect by feeding them training data, such as photographs, computer-generated images, real video and simulated video, but these practice environments can never capture the messiness of the physical world. In machine learning (ML), image detectors learn to spot objects […]

Optimizing AI Safety Research: An Interview With Owen Cotton-Barratt

Artificial intelligence poses a myriad of risks to humanity. From privacy concerns, to algorithmic bias and “black box” decision making, to broader questions of value alignment, recursive self-improvement, and existential risk from superintelligence — there’s no shortage of AI safety issues.   AI safety research aims to address all of these concerns. But with limited […]

As CO2 Levels Rise, Scientists Question Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios of Climate Change

Scientists know that the planet is warming, that humans are causing it, and that we’re running out of time to avoid catastrophic climate change. But at the same time, their estimates for future global warming can seem frustratingly vague — best-case scenarios allow decades to solve the energy crisis, while worst-case scenarios seem utterly hopeless, […]

Rewinding the Doomsday Clock

On Thursday, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists inched their iconic Doomsday Clock forward another thirty seconds. It is now two minutes to midnight. Citing the growing threats of climate change, increasing tensions between nuclear-armed countries, and a general loss of trust in government institutions, the Bulletin warned that we are “making the world security situation […]

Transcript: Balancing the Risks of Future Technologies

[beginning of recorded material] Ariel: I’m Ariel Conn with the Future of Life Institute. Whenever people ask me what FLI does, I explain that we try to mitigate existential risks. That is, we’re basically trying to make sure that society doesn’t accidentally kill itself with technology. Almost to a person, the response is, “Oh, I’m […]

15,000 Scientists Sign “Second Notice” Warning About Climate Change

In 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences penned the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” Pointing to growing problems like ocean dead zones, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth, the scientists argued that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the […]

Transcript: AI Ethics, a Trolley Problem, and a Twitter Ghost Story with Joshua Greene and Iyad Rahwan

[beginning of recorded material] Ariel: I’m Ariel Conn with the Future of Life Institute. As most of our listeners will know, we are especially concerned with ensuring AI is developed safely and beneficially. But as technically challenging as that may be, it also raises some thorny questions regarding ethics and morality, which are just as […]

55 Years After Preventing Nuclear Attack, Arkhipov Honored With Inaugural Future of Life Award

Click here to see this page in other languages: Russian London, UK – On October 27, 1962, a soft-spoken naval officer named Vasili Arkhipov single-handedly prevented nuclear war during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Arkhipov’s submarine captain, thinking their sub was under attack by American forces, wanted to launch a nuclear weapon at […]

Explainable AI: a discussion with Dan Weld

Machine learning systems are confusing – just ask any AI researcher. Their deep neural networks operate incredibly quickly, considering thousands of possibilities in seconds before making decisions. The human brain simply can’t keep up. When people learn to play Go, instructors can challenge their decisions and hear their explanations. Through this interaction, teachers determine the […]

How to Design AIs That Understand What Humans Want: An Interview with Long Ouyang

As artificial intelligence becomes more advanced, programmers will expect to talk to computers like they talk to humans. Instead of typing out long, complex code, we’ll communicate with AI systems using natural language. With a current model called “program synthesis,” humans can get computers to write code for them by giving them examples and demonstrations […]

Towards a Code of Ethics in Artificial Intelligence with Paula Boddington

AI promises a smarter world – a world where finance algorithms analyze data better than humans, self-driving cars save millions of lives from accidents, and medical robots eradicate disease. But machines aren’t perfect. Whether an automated trading agent buys the wrong stock, a self-driving car hits a pedestrian, or a medical robot misses a cancerous […]

Using History to Chart the Future of AI: An Interview with Katja Grace

The million-dollar question in AI circles is: When? When will artificial intelligence become so smart and capable that it surpasses human beings at every task? AI is already visible in the world through job automation, algorithmic financial trading, self-driving cars and household assistants like Alexa, but these developments are trivial compared to the idea of […]

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work: An Interview With Moshe Vardi

“The future of work is now,” says Moshe Vardi. “The impact of technology on labor has become clearer and clearer by the day.” Machines have already automated millions of routine, working-class jobs in manufacturing. And now, AI is learning to automate non-routine jobs in transportation and logistics, legal writing, financial services, administrative support, and healthcare. […]

Transcript: Law and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

[beginning of recorded material] Ariel: I’m Ariel Conn with the Future of Life Institute. Today I’m joined by Matt Scherer and Ryan Jenkins to discuss some of the legal and ethical issues facing AI, especially regarding things like autonomous weapons and self-driving cars. Matt is an attorney and legal scholar based in Portland, Oregon, who’ […]

How Self-Driving Cars Use Probability

Even though human drivers don’t consciously think in terms of probabilities, we observe our environment and make decisions based on the likelihood of certain things happening. A driver doesn’t calculate the probability that the sports car behind her will pass her, but through observing the car’s behavior and considering similar situations in the past, she […]